WASHINGTON Members of the congressional supercommittee crafting farm policies for the next five years have received $3.7 million in campaign contributions from agribusiness interests since 2001, a nonprofit group reported Tuesday.
The report by the MapLight organization, which examines the influence of money on politics, shows that milk and dairy producers gave $311,091 in that time period, trailing crop production, forest products, tobacco, sugar producers and livestock.
Dairy Farmers of America, the nations biggest bargaining cooperative for dairy farmers, gave $59,500 through its political action committee. Dean Foods, the nations biggest dairy processor, gave $70,550 through its PAC, the report shows.
There are no New York lawmakers on the supercommittee, raising questions about how well the states farm policy priorities will be represented. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Reps. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and Christopher P. Gibson, R-Kinderhook, are on the House Agriculture Committee. Both panels have made recommendations to the supercommittee but may well hand over their usual jurisdiction on the five-year farm bill.
Should the supercommittee fail to reach a deficit reduction deal, however, the farm bill may again fall to the agriculture committees.
Contributions to members of the agriculture committees are far greater than those to the supercommittee members, reflecting the much greater number of lawmakers on the agriculture panels and their typical influence on farm policy.
Agribusiness groups gave $26.7 million through their PACs to the agriculture committee members from Jan. 1, 2001 to June 30, 2011, MapLight reported. Milk and dairy producers gave $2.8 million in that period.
The top agribusiness contributor to supercommittee members was the Altria Group, formerly the Philip Morris tobacco company, which gave $250,845 through its PAC.