07 November 2013

The Silver Lining in the Dark Money Defeat of Washington's GMO Labelling Bill

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Yesterday, the Washington bill that would have required the labelling of GMO foods was defeated. Despite having support from 66% of the Washington population in September, by October, that numbered had plummeted to only 46%. We need only look at the $22 million in dark, out-of-state money spent by opponents of the bill, versus the $8.4 million raised by proponents, to realize the pollution of our democracy by big money spending in politics.

Big money came flowing in from out of state GMO purveyors such as Monsanto ($5.4 million), PepsiCo ($2.4 million), Dupont ($3.9 million), Nestle ($1.5 million), Coca-Cola ($1.5 million). Only $600 of the $22 million opposition war chest came from inside that state.

To top it all off, the Grocery Manufacturer's Association is being sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson alleging the GMA violated the state's campaign disclosure laws, collecting over $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors. Apparently, it's not only big money buying an election, but also dark money. Dark, foreign money purchasing the votes of an unsuspecting Washington populace, defeating a measure with formerly widespread support.

So not only have these corporations polluted the land, air, and food supply. They now pollute the airwaves and undermine the foundations of our democracy. An overwhelming 92% of Americans believe that GMOs should be labelled, yet we continue to see the propaganda-based disinformation campaign strangling of GMO labelling laws by big money spending sprees just before elections.

This is the definition of corruption. They've handed us the proof that big money spending in our democracy is contrary to the values we hold dear in our society. What good is a vote if the voters are misinformed?

We don't stand a chance of affecting positive change as long as mega corporations can pollute the minds of voters, directly and indirectly purchasing votes, influencing legislators, writing legislation that benefits themselves, passing it through back-alley dark money deals and campaign contributions, and avoiding prosecution through sweetheart settlements with revolving-door regulators.

Money has corrupted our democracy. The GMA, Monsanto, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Nestle et al. in defeating the Washington GMO labelling bill have unwittingly handed us the proof. This is just the tip of the iceberg if we don't fix it NOW. Election after election, bill after ALEC-sponsored bill, campaign after campaign will bear the taint of undue influence. Dark money floods our land and we all suffer.

Take action to support a constitutional amendment that fixes campaign finance and big money spending in elections. Join forces with Move to Amend, Rootstrikers, Just Label It, or your state and local government to fix our democracy. If you don't, who will?

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