Monsanto is committed to participating constructively and transparently in the political process, as such participation is essential to the Company's long-term success. Our approach on corporate political contributions is driven by the significant impact that public policy decisions can have on our business and on the interests of our stakeholders. Some of the policy-related matters we add our voice to include trade, environmental, tax and patent laws and regulations directly affecting Monsanto, as well as its employees, customers, and stakeholders. Monsanto supports voluntary labeling of foods derived from genetically modified seeds, and has participated in efforts to maintain voluntary labeling and prevent the imposition of a patchwork of state laws that could be interpreted as a warning or imply that these ingredients are harmful or somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts. Please see more about why Monsanto supports voluntary food labeling at http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/food-labeling.aspx.
We are also proud of the long history regarding the quality and safety of our products and we have opposed bills, ballot initiatives, and ordinances that have sought to ban them, despite their highly regarded safety profiles. As a company committed to bringing new, valuable products, services and technologies to farmers while creating value for shareowners, as well as furthering our sustainability mission, it is essential that Monsanto be involved in the political process to provide information for policy makers about our industry's issues. We believe that well-informed decision makers are the basis for good government.
In the following sections you will find information about the decision-making and corporate governance processes regarding political contributions made by Monsanto (the Monsanto Good Government Fund) and its political action committee (the Monsanto Citizenship Fund) and our lobbying interactions.
Monsanto Good Government Fund
Monsanto's participation in the U.S. political process includes contributions to political candidates in a manner that is compliant with all applicable federal and state laws and reporting requirements. U.S. federal law prohibits corporations from making direct or indirect contributions to candidates or political parties at the federal level. Monsanto's political contributions at the U.S. state level are limited to those states where such contributions are permitted. All political contributions are made without regard to the private political preferences of our company’s executives and include consideration of Monsanto's interests in legislative or policy-related activity, company facilities and employees in the state, and local political factors. Our Good Government Fund Advisory Panel (GGFAP) supports political issues and candidates consistent with Monsanto's policy objectives, promotes the election of responsible, qualified candidates to public office, regardless of party affiliation, and supports candidates for office, political parties, or other political committees in cases where the views of those candidates or entities are in general agreement with those of Monsanto.
Effective governance processes are in place to oversee political contributions made by the company. We have established effective governance processes including oversight by the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee of our Board, regarding political contributions made by our company. Our Board created the GGFAP to oversee and guide our political contributions in those states where contributions are permitted. Monsanto contributions are approved in accordance with the GGFAP's Operating Policies and Procedures reviewed by an external political compliance vendor, and reported to the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee of our Board.
Monsanto has not utilized Monsanto Good Government Funds or corporate treasury funds for “independent expenditures” (as defined under applicable law) related to any federal or state election. If Monsanto did change its general guidelines to allow such expenditures, we would disclose them on our website, as we do for every other type of contribution, in accordance with our intent to have as transparent a process as possible. We disclose the rare instance in which a 501(c)(4) contribution has been made under state political contribution ethics laws.
Monsanto's contributions for the prior five calendar years can be viewed by clicking on the links below.
State and Local Contributions Information
Additional information can be found in public reports filed by candidates with state agencies by clicking on the individual state links listed here.
Monsanto Citizenship Fund
Monsanto's political action committee, the Monsanto Citizenship Fund (MCF), is legally authorized to participate in the political process at the federal and state levels. The MCF's participation in the political process includes contributions to political candidates in a manner that is compliant with all applicable U.S. federal and state laws and reporting requirements. All MCF contributions are completely funded through voluntary contributions made by eligible Monsanto employees. The MCF supports candidates consistent with Monsanto’s policy objectives, without regard to personal political preferences of company executives. The MCF promotes the election of responsible, qualified candidates to public office, regardless of party affiliation. It may also support political parties or other political committees in cases where the views of those entities are in general agreement with those of the company. Monsanto has not utilized MCF funds for “independent expenditures,”( as defined by applicable law) related to any federal or state election. If Monsanto were to change its general guidelines to allow such expenditures, we would disclose them on our website.
Effective governance processes are in place to oversee political contributions made by the MCF. The MCF's board of directors consists of 14 employees from various functions within the Company. All disbursements for political contributions to candidates or political committees at the federal, state and local levels require approval of the board and are reviewed by an external political compliance vendor. All political contributions made by the MCF since January 2010 can be found below:
2013 - 2014 Cycle Report (.pdf 87KB)
2011 - 2012 Cycle Report (.pdf 87 KB)
2010 Contributions (.pdf 73 KB)
*Please note that this is a new disclosure. In the future, these reports will be released in six month increments to match the format of the MGGF’s reports.
Additional information can be found on public disclosure websites. The MCF's federal contributions are fully disclosed in public reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Congress. These reports can be found on their websites www.FEC.gov and www.disclosures.house.gov. Additional MCF state contribution disclosure information can also be found in public reports filed by candidates with state agencies by clicking on the individual state links listed here.
Trade and Industry Group Expenditures
Monsanto is a member of several trade and industry groups that represent agricultural interests, the biosciences industry and the business community. These associations may engage in political activities on behalf of their member companies’ issues, with consideration primarily towards our valued customer groups and stakeholders. Monsanto may not always agree with all of the positions of these broader trade associations, but we acknowledge their value as consensus builders on issues. In addition, Monsanto recognizes that as members, we are committed to expressing our views as appropriate through our colleagues who serve on the boards and committees of these groups. Below are links to the 2014 and 2015 memberships in trade associations and industry groups, classified for purposes of U.S. federal tax rules, as section 501(c)(6) organizations, where the company has a corporate membership exceeding $50,000 annually.
Monsanto requests information from these trade associations and industry groups in the United States regarding the portion of our dues or contributions that are used for lobbying expenses and political expenditures. All membership dues that are used for lobbying at the federal level are included in Monsanto’s amount spent on lobbying in the quarterly lobbying reports that are filed in compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA).
Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) Compliance
In compliance with the LDA, Monsanto files quarterly lobbying reports (LD 2s) to the U.S. Congress which publicly disclose all federal lobbying activities. In accordance with the LDA guidelines, Monsanto includes in its LD2 filings all expenses related to lobbying, including: (1) portions of employee salaries that were spent on lobbying activities or preparing to lobby; (2) fees paid to contract lobbyists; (3) portions of trade association dues that are deemed nondeductible and are related to lobbying activities; (4) overhead costs; and (5) travel. Monsanto also publicly discloses in these reports all issues that the company is currently lobbying and which political entities it is lobbying. In addition, to comply with the HLOGA, Monsanto and all employee registered lobbyists file semi annual reports disclosing any federal political contributions aggregating two hundred dollars or more and certifying that they have complied with all political gift rules. The past year’s reports can be found below. Past LD 2 reports can be found by visiting the U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk.