Food Safety News
by Dan Flynn

Monsanto was not on mailing list used by U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter to ask food businesses about their policies on antibiotics in food, presumably because the St. Louis company does not have anything to do with antibiotic use in meat and poultry.

But out of sheer curiosity, Food Safety News decided to pull Monsanto’s lobbying disclosure forms.

From an upper floor of a building just a couple blocks northeast of the White House, Monsanto runs a well-greased lobbying shop. At a cost of $1.21 million last quarter, the effort is not lacking in people power for its work in the nation’s capitol. In addition to seven registered staff lobbyists, Monsanto, on contract, is ready to deploy:

– Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the nation’s top lobbying firm. It has a contact valued at $50,000 per quarter with Monsanto for the services of registered lobbyist Brian Pomper, a foreign trade expert.

– The Washington Tax Group LLC, with registered lobbyists Gregory Nickerson and Jan Fowler, is ready to help with the “simplified research and development tax credit” and issues related to international corporate tax reform.

– Crawford Quilty & Mauro Law Firm (based in Des Moines) brings registered lobbyists Jerry Crawford and Nick Mauro in to help with ag consolidation and competition, and to tend to issues involving Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa.

– American Continental Group, with registered lobbyists Manus Cooney, Trista Roehl,and Karen Stone, who help with the heavy lifting on the Hill over the America Invents Act implementation and Biotech crop competition.

– The Russell Group’s Randall Russell and Tyson Redpath are also up for a fight on biotech acceptance, and issues related to agriculture competition and appropriations.

All totaled, the contract help cost Monsanto $285,000 a quarter. Like many corporations, Monsanto is not afraid to spend money to fill in for any inadequacies that may exist within its bullpen of staff lobbyists.

Monsanto’s Washington D.C. office is headed by Mcihael Dykes, vice president of government affairs. He’s got a six-pack of registered staff lobbyists on call including Katherine Emerson, Jeremy Stump, Scott Kuschmider, James Travis, Michael Parrish and Michael Holland.

The Monsanto lobby does not want for things to do. It’s always working on the legal and regulatory environment that will keep its Roundup Ready products viable in the market.

Its lobbying crew was also working on anti-terrorism restrictions on chemical facilities, the American Invents Act, and regulatory reform. Its interests also run from biofuels to mineral licensing and royalty issues to tax and trade policies.

Monsanto, a global agricultural products company, generates endless controversy for its genetically engineered seeds. It was in the news again Monday when a federal judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit against Monsanto brought by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. The court said the organic interests has engaged in a “transparent effect to create a controversy where non exists.”

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