In a recent article, I talked about how the United States is an oligarchy (run by a small group of people). In actuality, it’s a plutocracy, because the few that are running it are the super rich plutocrats. Monsanto’s relationship with the government is probably the biggest example or proof of this. They have a very effective revolving door policy with the FDA, USDA and other agencies that “oversee” them. They spend millions of dollars a year “lobbying” politicians– which amounts to legal bribery. They have many ex employees that are also appointed to other governmental positions and even have ex lawyers as high seated judges. In fact, there are so many that I will just focus on the biggest examples.
Michael R. Taylor
Mr. Taylor started his career walking back and fourth through Monsanto’s revolving door, with governmental regulatory agencies as a lawyer and Executive Assistant to the FDA Commissioner from 1976 to 1981. From there, he headed to King and Spelding LLC, where he became a partner and head of the Food and Law Practice- the division of the firm that was tasked with helping Monsanto to get their products such as Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) (a Genetically Engineered version of a hormone made in the pituitary gland of cows) approved to inject into cows for Monsanto.
While working at Monsanto, Taylor accomplished a couple of things that have greatly benefited Monsanto, while hurting the rest of us. The first thing was, he formulated the memo for arguing the constitutionality of a state being able to label milk containing rBGH, as such. In other words, this guy figured out how Monsanto could sue State and National governments!
The second thing he did for Monsanto was write The De Minimis Interpretation of the Delaney Clause: Legal and Policy Rationale that the peer-reviewed journal International Journal of Toxicology published. To understand why this was very important, you need to understand that companies like Monsanto were having some pretty big issues getting their products like rBGH approved by the FDA. You see, at this time there was a pesky little law called Food Additives Amendment of 1958. Inside the law was a clause called the Delaney Clause. This clause is troublesome for Monsanto and other companies, because it states that nothing (including pesticide residue, food coloring and food additives) is allowed to be intentionally added to our food supply that are known to cause cancer in humans and/or animals; and Monsanto was trying to do just that with rBGH (as I showed in part 1) and their pesticides.
De Minimis is short for the Latin legal phrase “de minimis non curat lex definition“, which means the law does not concern itself with trifles. In this context De Minimis ,Taylor is arguing that a “small” or “minimal” amount of a known carcinogenic should not be worried about and should be allowed in the food supply. For rational people who want to maintain optimal health, they tend to avoid toxic carcinogens- even in small portions; but according to De Minimis, this avoidance is not needed. However, as more independent studies are looking into cancer, they are finding that it is caused by the environment. It showed there were far fewer cases of cancer before we became industrialized. Another thing that is never taken into consideration, but needs to be, is when Monsanto or other companies try to argue De Minimis, the synergistic toxicity of multiple toxins combined is never studied, which De Minimis Principle would add in our bodies.
Courts have ruled that the the De Minimis interpretation of the Delaney Clause is inaccurate and the Delaney Clause does not contain exemption for trivial risks of cancer. Yet, this has not stopped the FDA from using De Minimis to get products approved.
Taylor left through the revolving door again in 1991 to become the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy. A position that Jeffery M. Smith points out in his book, Seeds of Deception, did not exist prior to his hiring and was created for Taylor specifically. Smith also points out ‘During Mr. Taylor’s tenure as Deputy Commissioner, references to the unintended negative effects of bioengineering were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy statement (over the protests of agency scientists), and a final statement was issued claiming (a) that [GM] foods are no riskier than others and (b) that the agency has no information to the contrary.” Former FDA veteran, Richard Burroughs exposed some of these effects by stating “They didn’t follow good science and they didn’t follow regulations for adequate well controlled studies,” he said. “They just went out and skewed the data.”
In a Huffington Post article, Jeffery Smith states Monsanto “claimed that only a handful of cows developed udder infections, but documents later revealed the actual number to be 9,500. Furthermore, infected cows were often dropped from company studies altogether. Also, in tests designed to show that rbGH injections did not interfere with fertility, FDA documents that were leaked showed researchers added cows to the study that were pregnant prior to injection.” It goes on to explain how a normal carcinogenic study lasts for 2 years in order show long-term cancer causing effects on the mice or rats tested. However, Monsanto conducted several 28-90 day studies and called it “proof” that it’s safe. Unfortunately these extremely unethical practices are not an isolate incidence for Monsanto. Other examples will be shown in later installments of this series.
So how is it possible that this could happen?
The first thing is Monsanto flooded the FDA with all these flawed studies to make it appear there was a lot of evidence. Smith points out that “FDA official John Scheid later admitted to the Associated Press that the agency had never actually examined the raw data from Monsanto’s rat feeding study.” A statement that makes me wonder how people ever trusted them.
The second and most likely the most important reason is, Taylor’s move to the FDA and becoming in charge of policy. With this move, both the FDA and Taylor have now stated that he stayed out of the approval process; however he did write the policy outlawing corporations from distinguishing between the 2 milks. It is incredibly naïve to think that one of Monsanto’s top lawyers became the head of policy for the FDA, then rBGH is effectively fast tracked through, without knowing Taylor had something to do with it.
Shortly after the approval, Taylor was outted to the pubic as an ex Monsanto employee (along with 2 others that were integral in getting rBGH approved) and quickly left for the USDA. From there, he went back to work for Monsanto as the Vice President of Public Policy from 1999-2000. Over the next few years, he left the revolving door, but the door came calling again in 2009. This time back to the FDA to assume his highest position yet… He became the number two guy in the FDA by once again taking a job that was just invented– Deputy Commissioner for Foods. His new job description is as follows: develop and implement a prevention based strategy for food safety, plan implementation of new food safety legislation, and ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition.
What better way for Monsanto to ensure that their products get approved and stay off the food labels than to have the FDA make up this exact position and install their former VP in that spot!
Is it any wonder why the FDA deleted over one Million signatures on the “Just Label It” campaign saying that multiple signees on a single form only count as one vote! So according to the FDA there were not over 1 million signees but instead a little over 300 because that was the number of form-sheets full of signatures they received.
You simply can not make this stuff up!!
Taylor is the poster child of the revolving door because of the amount of times he walked through it, but Clarence Thomas is my pick for second place because of his position and longevity. Thomas was a lawyer for Monsanto in the 70’s and has been a supreme court justice since 1991. Since that time, Monsanto has been in front of the court 2 times and both times Thomas did not recuse himself.
To be fair, Thomas’ relationship with Monsanto is not the only extremely unethical relationship he has since becoming a justice.
- He received a $15,000 gift from a think tank called The American Enterprise Institute that is pro-deregulation of GMO crops.
- While Dallas real estate tycoon and GOP financier, Harlan Crow, had multiple cases in the federal courts, Thomas accepted “lucrative gifts, including a massive check to the justice’s wife to start her lobbying organization and a multimillion-dollar deal in which Crow created a museum at a cannery where Thomas’ mother worked.”
- Thomas also had a conflict of interest with ObamaCare but did not recuse himself there either.
So it would appear he is an equal opportunist regarding unethical behavior.
Having a Supreme Court Justice that has this many conflicts of interest with big business, who is never asked to recuse himself from the conflict’s hearing is just criminal. It is also clear evidence that Monsanto is above the law, at least inside the United States. It also makes it not surprising that things like the Monsanto Protection Act can find its way into economic bills and no one in the judicial branch does anything about it.
There are too many others that have revolved from Monsanto to Governmental agencies to go over each one, but for those interested in a complete list, look here. This list is as of 2012.
Arthur Hull Hayes was the FDA director that fast-tracked Aspartame through the approval process then (almost immediately after) resigned and went to work for G. D. Searle & Co– the Monsanto subsidiary that invented Aspartame.
Michael A. Friedman took a page from ole Arthur Hayes’ playbook and went from being the head of the FDA to working for G. D. Searle & Co. He appears to have gotten a sweeter deal than his predecessor and became the senior
vice-president for clinical affairs.
Michael (Mickey) Kantor is a Former secretary of commerce and Trade Representative of the United States who is now a Board member of Monsanto.
Marcia Hale was an assistant to Bill Clinton and Director of Governmental Affairs, currently Monsanto’s Director of International Government Affairs.
William D. Ruckelshaus was a first chief administrator of the EPA, who then became the Director of the FBI, then became Deputy U.S. Attorney General. He is now on the Board of Directors of Monsanto.
William Conlon and Sam Skinner were both part of Monsanto’s legal team and both work in the in the Dept. of Justice.
Richard Mahoney was the CEO of Monsanto for 14 year following his stint as Director of U.S. Soviet, Japanese and Korean Trade Councils and a Member of the U.S. Government Trade Policy Committee.
Since I started with the man who fast tracked Aspartame from the FDA, I figured I would finish with his counterpart from G. D. Searle & Co.– Donald Rumsfield. That’s right, ole Rummy– the secretary of defense that assured us there were indeed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, was the CEO of G. D. Searle & Co when Aspartame was approved.
Monsanto’s very long history of putting their people in key governmental positions is the very thing the founding fathers started the war of independence over– Taxation without Representation. We are again paying taxes to a government that is ruling us by installing people into unelected positions that drastically affects our day to day existence. If we don’t stand up and say enough is enough and stop this, Monsanto will eventually take control of our food supply and destroy the world with their very dangerous products.
Monsanto would like you to believe that their products are not dangerous and that studies and the peer-reviewed journal process will show that they are amongst the most tested products in the world and proven safe. However, in Part 3 I will show you this is a farce and they have infiltrated the peer-reviewed system, just like they have our government.