Lobbying and big spending on GMO and pesticide issues escalate in Hawaii

Driveway, Kauai, Hawaii, USA

The battle over genetically modified crops is turning into one of the most expensive political debates in Hawaii’s history.

Hawaii News Now analyzed campaign contributions and lobbying expenses by both pro- and anti-GMO organizations. We found that large seed companies and their employees spent more than half a million dollars on either one or both of those efforts during the past eight years.

Anti-GMO groups spent nearly $270,000, mostly during the 2016 election season.

Those numbers don’t include the nearly $9 million that was spent by both sides on the 2014 ballot initiative that sought to place a moratorium on GMO’s grown in Maui County.


Public records show that Monsanto Hawaii was the state’s largest GMO donor, giving more than $187,000. Syngenta was next, at $53,000, followed by Dupont Pioneer, which gave $47,000.

Related article:  Herbicide-resistant crops can exacerbate 'superweeds' but new GM versions can help control problem

Hawaii News Now found no evidence that any of the campaign spending was illegal.

“We participate in the political process, as public policy decisions can impact our farms and employees,” said Dan Clegg, Monsanto’s Hawaii Business Operations Lead. “Monsanto is committed to being constructive and transparent in the political process.”


Anti-GMO forces are well funded as well. Political action committees Sustainable Action Fund for the Environment and the Hawaii Center for Food Safety spent more than $200,000 over the past two years.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Political spending soars on both sides of GMO issue

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