June 18, 2003

Monsanto in Alabama: Conflicts of Interest

Potential Conflicts of Interest on the Anniston Issue in the Bush Administration

Larry Thompson, Deputy Attorney General
Former General Counsel to Monsanto.
Response of “no records” to EWG FOIA regarding meetings with Monsanto lobbyists before Consent Decree signed, took approximately ten months to receive FOIA response.

James Connaughten, CEQ Chair
Former Chief Lobbyist of GE during the Hudson River PCB Clean Up Negotiations. Response to EWG FOIA did not include communications between Connaughten and Monsanto lobbyists regarding Anniston. Included briefing paper EPA gave Senator Shelby.

Jimmy Palmer, Region IV Administrator
Former attorney for a lead foundry that polluted Anniston; had to recuse himself from considering the Consent Decree.

Linda Fisher, Deputy Administrator (EPA)
Former Chief Lobbyist for Monsanto.
After comment period, provided partial response to initial FOIA (6/18/2002); after two phone calls and three emails, finally received recusal documents regarding Fisher. Recusal was in February 2002, not clear whether the recusal occurred before or after Consent Decree negotiations began at EPA HQ. FOIA appeal denied in part and granted in part on 1/2/03, relating to documents with meetings between Monsanto officials and EPA Administrator staff.

John Ashcroft, Attorney General
As U.S. Senator from Missouri, received more money from St. Louis-based Monsanto than any other political candidate in 2000, approx. $50,000 in campaign contributions for his failed Senate Race: Solutia gave him $18,500 (12th largest contributor); Monsanto gave him $24,000. Response of "no records" to EWG FOIA regarding meetings with Monsanto lobbyists before Consent Decree signed, response received approximately ten months after request.