Chemical Industry Backs Supporters of Pesticide Permit Changes with Campaign Money


A pesticide warning sign. Photo credit: Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images.

May 30, 2017 - The House of Representatives voted to eliminate a permit requirement for pesticides last week, as sponsors of the measure received 12 times more in campaign contributions from the agricultural chemical industry than the bill’s opponents.

A MapLight analysis of campaign contributions found the 48 sponsors of the bill received an average of $6,863 from individuals and political action committees connected to fertilizers and pesticides during the 2016 election cycle. Representatives who voted against the bill received an average of $574 during the same period.

The bill received overwhelming support from Republicans, who were joined by 25 Democrats supporting the measure. Democrats voting in favor of the bill received almost 10 times more money from the agricultural chemical industry (an average of $5,630) than their Democratic colleagues who voted against the bill (an average of $577).

Top contributors to the agricultural chemical industry include employees of The Fertilizer Institute, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., CF Industries Holdings Inc. and Monsanto Co.

Brian FitzPatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican who represents suburban Bucks County, was the lone Republican to vote against the bill.  He received no money from the agricultural chemicals industry last election cycle.  

The bill, which would eliminate a permit required under the Clean Water Act to control pesticide-related pollution near lakes and rivers, still needs to be approved by the Senate before it becomes law. A coalition of organizations representing agribusiness, farmers, and the pesticide and fertilizer industry have urged lawmakers to vote for the bill to “remove this unneeded regulatory duplication.”  Organizations that include the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council, argue it will harm water safety and the environment.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of Congress from PACs and employees of the agricultural chemicals industry (fertilizers and pesticides) from Nov. 29, 2014 to Nov. 28, 2016. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org.

About MapLight:
MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics. More information about MapLight can be found here.

Media Contact:
Alec Saslow
t: (720) 319-4948
e: alec@maplight.org