If you’ve ever wondered why corporations seem to hold so much sway over our government, look no further than who’s making all the decisions in Washington – and more importantly, where many of these people worked before being handed comfy, high-level positions at top government agencies.
You might be surprised at the number of senior advisors, chiefs of staff, judges, commissioners and others employed at agencies like the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who all have one thing in common: they used to hold executive-level positions at multinational corporations like Monsanto.
The infographic below depicts a revolving-door relationship between Monsanto and the federal government that dates back many decades. You’ll probably recognize many of the names on the list, but chances are you had no idea these folks used to work for Monsanto or advocate for its interests before taking key positions of power on the taxpayer dime.
Both conservative and liberal politicians share history of affiliation with Monsanto
Donald Rumsfeld is one of the more prominent names that probably jumps out at you, as this former Secretary of Defense under both Gerald Ford and George W. Bush is remembered as one of the key Bush administration warmongers who helped propel forward the “War on Terror” following 9/11. Rumsfeld also just so happens to have been a former CEO for G.D. Searle, a pharmaceutical company that has since merged with Monsanto.
Another prominent, and probably surprising, name on the list is Clarence Thomas, a U.S. Supreme Court justice who many conservatives respect for his supposedly far-right stances on most issues. Thomas is a former lawyer for Monsanto who cast the deciding vote to hand the contested 2000 election over to George W. Bush.
Michael Taylor, who recently resigned from his position as deputy commissioner of the FDA, is another former attorney for Monsanto who fought on behalf of the company’s interests for seven years. Taylor also served as head of Monsanto’s Washington, D.C., office, an obvious conflict of interest considering the FDA’s job is to regulate the activities of corporations like Monsanto.
The very first Chief Administrator for the EPA, William D. Ruckelshaus, is another Monsanto hack who served on the company’s Board of Directors. Ruckelshaus, who was appointed back in 1970, later went on to become the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and even held the position of Deputy U.S. Attorney General.
The EPA, as you probably already know, has a reputation for being lax in regulating chemicals manufactured by large corporations, and now you know why – from the beginning, the agency was steered by Monsanto operatives to push a very different agenda than environmental protection.
Other key names include:
• Michael Kantor, a Monsanto lawyer and board member who served as campaign chair for the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992, U.S. Trade Representative from 1993–1996, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1996–1997.
• Margaret Miller, a top Monsanto scientist who oversaw getting the genetically-engineered growth hormone rBGH commercially approved despite a lack of evidence assuring its safety, and who in 1991 was appointed Deputy Director for the FDA.
• Islam Saddiqui, former vice president of CropLife America – a Monsanto affiliate – who was later appointed as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
• Anne Veneman, a former board member for the Monsanto biotech subsidiary Calgene, who in 2001 was appointed as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
• Rufus Yerxa, former Chief Counsel at Monsanto, who in 1993 was nominated as U.S. Deputy to the World Trade Organization.
• Richard J. Mahoney, former Monsanto CEO for 14 years, who served as Director of the U.S., Soviet, Japanese and Korean Trade Councils, as well as member of the U.S. Government Trade Policy Committee.
Sources for this article include: