Monsanto Provides Seed Money to Congress

An agricultural biotechnology company's political contributions to Congress may not be enough to keep alive the current provision of the Agriculture Department's budget that permits farmers to continue to use genetically modified seed while under court review.

The Monsanto Co., which produces genetically modified seed, would like to extend the keep the rider. The House and Senate versions of a continuing resolution may vary on whether the current budget rider would continue into the next fiscal year.

The Monsanto Company Citizenship Fund has given out $236,500 in 2013, with 69 percent going to Republicans. In August, the PAC reported it gave $7,000 to Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., a member of the House Agriculture Committee; $2,500 to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; $2,000 to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; $2,000 to Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee; among others.

In the full 2011-2012 cycle the PAC reported it gave out $468,500 to federal candidates and committees, with 70 percent going to Republicans. The PAC gave its most money to the campaign committees of members of the Senate Agriculture Committee ($65,500), and the House Agriculture Committee ($64,500).

Monsanto reported spending $1,400,000 on lobbying in the second quarter of 2013 and $1,590,000 in the first quarter of 2013. In the second quarter of 2013 it paid three lobbying firms, Arent Fox LLP (less than $5,000), American Continental Group Inc. ($50,000), and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP ($50,000). During 2012 it spent $6,030,000 on lobbying