Report: “Pombo’s Special Interest Money: Enough to Make You Sick?”

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Washington, DC -- Today the national watchdog group Campaign Money Watch released a report demonstrating how Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), who has collected $1.4 million in campaign contributions from agribusiness for his races for Congress, wants to gut California’s strong food safety rules at the same time the public is reeling from an e. coli crisis that has sickened more than 100 people nationwide.


Rep. Pombo is the cosponsor of legislation, H.R. 4167, which passed the House earlier this year without a hearing, which would preempt the right of states to enact stronger food safety regulations than those that are required by the federal government. An industry-led coalition called the National Uniformity for Food Coalition, whose members include top Pombo donors, is pushing for the bill. Among the California laws that would be affected are Proposition 65, which requires the state to annually publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects, as well as recent legislation that sets limits on lead in candy.


“With more people being reported every day across the country suffering from e. coli infection that’s been traced to bagged spinach, you’d think that Rep. Pombo would be doing everything he could to ensure that California has the strongest food safety laws possible,” said David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch. “Instead he’s catering to his agricultural campaign donors, who have a vested interest in seeing the state’s food safety laws weakened.”


Rep. Pombo has taken $1.4 million from agribusiness interests over his career in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including $483,991 from the crop production and basic processing industry; $202,778 from the agriculture services and products industry, and $143,950 from the food processing and sales industry.


Campaign Money Watch is a project of Public Campaign Action Fund, a national watchdog organization that holds politicians accountable for the favors they give to wealthy campaign donors, and fights to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform. Campaign Money Watch led voter education efforts in Tom DeLay’s home district as well as Ralph Reed’s unsuccessful run for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia.




Click below to download the full report