Corporations Funding Anti-GE
Labeling Effort in Oregon

October 4, 2002 #195
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness
From a Public Interest Perspective

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Global food manufacturers, chemical and biotechnology companies
have poured in $4.6 million to defeat an Oregon ballot measure requiring
the labeling of genetically modified foods.

Finance reports submitted Monday show the Measure 27 campaign could
set a new record for initiative spending in Oregon, with nearly all the money
coming from outside the state to oppose the measure.

Measure 27 would be the nation's first law requiring such labels, and the
list of opponents reads like a who's who of the American grocery aisle:
Nestle, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble, Pepsico, Kellogg and Hershey, to
name a few. The biggest contributions, though, came from a group of six
chemical and biotechnology companies who collectively gave $3.7 million to
Croplife International, based in Brussels, Belgium. Monsanto topped the
list, contributing nearly $1.5 million.

"You're trying to reach more than one million Oregon voters about a measure
that on its face may seem to have appeal," said Pat McCormick, spokesman
for the opposition campaign. And broadcast ad rates are spiking for ballot
measure campaigns, sometimes costing two or three times regular rates,
McCormick said.

Katelyn Lord, the co-sponsor of the initiative, said grass-roots backers
won't even try to match the corporate money on the other side. "They know
they have a great deal of convincing to do," she said. "We have some recent
polls that show Oregon voters are in favor of labeling by about 60%."

But McCormick's clients hired California-based Winner & Mandabach Campaigns
to oversee the opposition effort. That's the group that helped overcome even
higher initial support for an expansion of the Oregon bottle bill, a 1996
initiative that was solidly defeated after starting with sky-high poll

The genetically modified food proposal is one of seven initiatives on the
November 5 ballot. Big-money campaigns also are brewing for measures to
provide universal health care and bar payment of petitioners by the
signature . . . .

EDITOR'S NOTE: Figures provided by Jeff Peckman, Oregon Measure 27 to Label
GE Foods reveals the money sources for opponents of Measure 27 in Oregon.

The total contributions submitted by the opposition's C & E's totalled
$4,591,164. Out of this, only $5,500 came from Oregon! This comes to
one-tenth of one percent of all the money contributed as out-of-state
corporations are funding the opponents campaign.. The Oregon Food PAC gave
$5000 and the Oregon Food Issues Council gave $500. There were no
contributions from individuals --- almost all corporations, with a few
organizations thrown in.

Their campaign is being run by Winner & Mandabach, a PR firm out of Southern
California, who contract with Conkling, Fiskum, McCormick to handle the
local legwork. Californians are running their campaign. One expenditure
showed that Oregonians for Food & Shelter (OFS) had been paid $110,000 by
the campaign. OFS represents the biotech, timber, and agrochemical
industries. The board of directors of OFS includes officers from Monsanto,
Dupont, Syngenta and Dow Agrosciences.

Although he didn't have to, Pat McCormick (opponent's spokesperson) listed
the corporate donations that made up the Crop Life International donation:

Monsanto $1,480,000
DuPont 634,286
Syngenta 528,571
Dow Agro Sciences 396,429
BASF 158,571
Bayer Crop Science:
Bayer 105,714
Aventis 396,429

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