For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Millions Against Monsanto page and our Politics and Democracy page.
And the winner is . . . Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). King, also known as the Emperor of all Morons, earned the most votes for the Organic Consumers Association Monsanto’s Minion Awards. King topped the list of seven U.S. Representatives and Senators nominated for the award on the basis of their support for Monsanto and the biotech industry.
This week, the OCA will join our ally, Occupy-Monsanto.com, in delivering the awards to the top vote-getters.
And the timing couldn’t be more urgent.
The government may be shut down, but Capitol Hill is still packed with lobbyists for Congress's corporate paymasters. The situation IS so bad that one Member of Congress proposed banning corporate lobbyists from House and Senate buildings during the government shutdown.
When corporations want a big bill to pass, they spend big bills to attach riders and amendments, written to benefit their bottom lines, to those bills, and to negotiate back-room deals to make sure those riders and amendments survive. And when legislators are under pressure to make a deal, the lobbyists circle like vultures looking for signs of weakness among the negotiators.
Now that the Farm Bill could be included in the budget package, everything's on the table and anything could happen. The Monsanto Protection Act could rise from the dead. The King Amendment to take away states' rights to regulate food and farming could become law.
Monsanto spends $6 million a year on lobbyists who know how to take advantage of moments like this. A legislative crisis like this is what gave us the Monsanto Protection Act in the first place.
Each of Monsanto's minions in Congress have been working behind the scenes with the Biotech Bully’s lobbyists to come up with ways to keep genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from being labeled or safety tested, and to block our attempts to regulate GMOs at the state and local level.
If they sneak their plans into a bill that ends the shut-down, raises the debt limit and passes a Farm Bill, what are we going to do? Ask President Obama to veto it? It will be too late. The time to act is now.
As you read this, we're undercover as Monsanto lobbyists, navigating the halls of Congress to deliver awards to each of "our" minions. (Watch the news tonight or look for the videos in next week's Bytes of the street theater and creative, non-violent civil disobedience that's happening at the Capitol right now.)
In the meantime, see how your favorite Monsanto Minion ranked in last week’s survey.
#1 (32.4%) Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
For sponsoring a Farm Bill amendment (the King Amendment) to take away states' rights to regulate food and farming.
#2 (26.6%) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
For asking the FDA to finalize a 2001 guidance on voluntary labels that could outlaw legitimate non-GMO claims and take away states' right to pass laws for mandatory GMO labels.
#3 (16.9%) Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
For working with the company on the Monsanto Protection Act, may it rest in peace.
#4 (11.6%) Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
For joining Monsanto's side to coauthor the letter to the FDA with Warren.
#5 (6.6%) Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
For representing Monsanto in Congress as a shareholder, as well as a recipient of campaign contributions.
#6 (4.4%) Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
For blocking an amendment to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act, may it rest in peace.
#7 (1.5%) Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)
For attempting to extend the Monsanto Protection Act, may it rest in peace, past its Sept. 30 expiration date.
Thanks for voting! Want to make your vote really count? Call your Senators and Representative at (202) 224-3121 to tell them you want mandatory labels on GMOs and that you oppose the King Amendment, the Warren-Udall letter, and any other federal action that would take away states' rights to label GMOs!
Alexis Baden-Mayer is political director for the Organic Consumers Association.