Dear FDN! Supporters,
BREAKING: This morning President Obama went to Capitol Hill in a last ditch effort to woo hesitant members of the Democrat party into voting for giving him Fast Track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).
The vote is taking place in less than an hour and we need your help to stop it.
Late yesterday afternoon Politico reported that a handful of Democrats had crossed over to support moving the White House trade agenda by a narrow vote of 217 to 212.
Since last night, we've heard that several members we listed below are switching to NO votes - so Please Keep Calling - your calls are working!
This is going to be a very close vote and every call made today could make the difference!
Despite this progress, our fight against the TPP isn’t yet complete -- this trade agreement has Monsanto’s fingerprints all over it.
Ethan, add your name today to demand Congress REJECT Monsanto’s secret trade deal. This corporation-sanctioned agreement is PACKED with dangerous provisions that would allow Monsanto to CONTROL our food supply -- but it’s so secretive we don’t even know just how destructive it might be.
8 Democrats Are Now Listed as Likely Targets to Vote Yes on Fast Track - Please Call them Today!
- John Carney - Delaware: (202) 225-4165
- Joaquín Castro Texas: (202) 225-3236
- Jim Costa - California: (202) 225-3341
- Susan Davis - California: (202) 225-2040
- Steny Hoyer - Maryland: (202) 225-4131
- Seth Moulton - Massachusetts: (202) 225-8020
- Beto O'Rourke - Texas: (202) 225-4831
- Ed Perlmutter - Colorado: (202) 225-2645
Also make sure to call Nancy Pelosi - California: (202) 225-4965 to thank her for stopping the Fast Track and encouraging her to convice more Democrats to oppose it!
What YOU Need to Know About Who's Negotiating Monsanto’s Secret Trade Deal
As Food Democracy Now! reported last month, while no version of the Fast Track of the trade agreement has been released to the public, language in the recently passed Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which authorizes the Fast Track declares that GMO labeling is an “unjustified trade restriction”. This is an outrage!
While its been widely reported in the press that the Fast Track is a corporate lobbyist’s wet dream, I wanted to make sure that you know who’s really behind these secret international trade agreements.
The lead negotiator for the United States is Michael Froman, who served as a Managing Director at Citigroup from 1999 to 2009. According to the Intercept, “Froman received more than $7.4 million from Citi in the year prior to joining the [Obama] administration.” That’s right, a Wall Street fat cat is in charge of negotiating the most secret trade deal in American history.
Who do you think this secret trade deal is going to benefit? You? The environment? Jobs for everyday Americans? Think again.
And this is where the facts about the Fast Track on these secret trade deals gets really dark.
Monsanto’s Minions Are Writing the Text to TPP Fast Track, Secret Trade Deal
Islam Siddiqui – Wrote the Original Text for TPP, TTIP – Former Monsanto, Biotech Lobbyist.
Even worse than Froman, a biotech and pesticide industry lobbyist that once represented Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and the biotech giants was appointed by President Obama in 2010 as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. government and wrote the original draft covering food and agriculture for Monsanto and the biotech industry.
That’s right, Islam Siddiqui, former lobbyist for CropLife, a biotech and pesticide front group, was President Obama’s original trade representative for food and agribusiness.
Siddiqui’s once likened Europe’s policy of invoking the precautionary principle on new GMO crops to “denying food to starving people” and also claimed “mandatory labeling [of GMOs] could mislead consumers about the safety of these products.” Another Monsanto talking point!
More Monsanto Pro-GMO Trolls at the U.S. Trade Representatives Office
Incredibly, after the actions of hundreds of thousands of activists, Siddiqui was eventually forced to resign in December 2013 because of the outrage that his past caused, which was threatening the future of the agreement.
But, Monsanto and the biotech industry has quietly filled the U.S. Trade Representatives with their former lobbyists. A recent report from the Intercept’s Lee Fang details these dubious connections.
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen — Former Biotech Lobbyist, Now serves as Assistant U.S. trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs!
According to the Intercept report:
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, the assistant U.S. trade representative for agricultural affairs, recently lobbied for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade group for biotech companies.Lauritsen’s financial disclosure form shows she made $320,193 working to influence “state, federal and international governments” on biotech patent and intellectual property issues. She worked for BIO as an executive vice president through April of 2011, before joining the Trade Representative office.
Translation: the Biotechnology Industry Organization is the leading front agribusiness biotechnology front group in Washington DC, funded by Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical and Syngenta.
Yes, she got paid $320,193 to “influence” the government on behalf of Monsanto and biotech andnow she’s writing the language for the trade agreement that you and your members of Congress are not allowed to read!
Christopher Wilson — Former Lobbyist that represented Big Tobacco and Monsanto and the biotech industry
If Froman, Sidduiqi and Sharon Bomer Lauritsen weren’t bad enough, consider Christopher Wilson, who recently rotated into the U.S. Trade Represenative’s Office in February of last years straight from the international lobbying firm C&M International, that manages a veritable Who’s Who of Corporate Polluters, whose toxic products they protect worldwide. Incredibly, Wilson’s former firm represented the Biotechnology Industry Organization and also lobbied the island nation of Malaysia on behalf of Big Tobacco to reject common sense tobacco regulations to protect its citizens from lung cancer. Seriously!
According to The Intercept:
Christopher Wilson, the deputy chief of mission to the World Trade Organization, recently worked for C&M International, a trade consulting group, where he represented Chevron, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, British American Tobacco, General Electric, Apple and other corporate interests. Wilson’s financial disclosure shows he made $250,000 a year, in addition to an $80,000 bonus in 2013, before he joined the Obama administration. Wilson left C&M International in February of 2014 and later joined the Trade Representative’s office. C&M International reportedly lobbied Malaysia, urging it to oppose tobacco regulations in Australia.
That’s right, the current U.S. Trade Representative’s Deputy Chief of Mission to the World Trade Organization’s lobbied worldwide to support Big Tobacco and Cancer Exports.
Incredibly, the individual responsible for lobbying for Big Tobacco on behalf of Wilson’s former firm also served as a former U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization, but under the Bush administration.
You may have hear about this outrageous act of lobbying on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’spainfully funny segment on Tobacco’s lobbying efforts, which has received some 5 million views already.
Unbelievably, fellow lobbyists at Wilson’s firm used the same Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision to undermine reasonable plain packaging of cigarettes against Australia that will be used by Monsanto and other countries around the world to erode and destroy basic governmental protections that were passed by our elected officials.
Click on the Image to Share with Your Friends: Let them Know Who's Writing Monsanto's Secret Trade Agreement for the Obama Administration!
This is an outrage. And these trade agreements are so corrupt that they threaten to permanently unravel the very fabric of our democracy for all time.
Already we’ve already sent more than 160,907 messages from Food Democracy Now! members to Congress urging them to reject the Fast Track, but we can’t let up.
If you eat and care about GMO labeling and stopping Monsanto, please make sure you forward this email to all your friends and family and make sure they call their Senators today!
Remember, democracy is like a muscle, either you use it or you lose it!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Founder / Executive Director
Food Democracy Now!
1. “GOP, Obama on Cusp of Fast-Track Trade Victory”, The Hill, June 10, 2015
2. “TPA: Senate Passes Obama Trade Agenda Authorization”, May 22, 2015, International Business Times.
3. “Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists”, First Look, April 16, 2015
4. Sharon Bomer Lauritsen Assistant, U.S. Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
5. Christopher Wilson, Deputy Chief of Mission to the World Trade Organization, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
6. “Nicola Roxon Solid on Cigarette Packaging”, The Australian National Affairs, May 27, 2011
7. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tobacco (HBO)”, HBO http: