Monday, January 12, 2009

Only a few Agribusiness Dollars to Vilsack

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will soon undergo the confirmation process for nomination as USDA Secretary. The Des Moines Register examined his past fundraising efforts to see how many were directly tied to Agriculture and Agri-Business. This is what they found:

Secretary of Agriculture nominee Tom Vilsack raised only a small portion of his campaign cash from farmers, grocers and others with direct ties to the agriculture industry, despite serving eight years as governor in one of the country's most emblematic farming states, documents and fundraising data show.From his first run for governor in 1998 to his short-lived presidential bid in 2006, Vilsack raised almost $15.8 million through contributions to his campaign and political action committees. Only about 2.3 percent, or $364,000, came directly from interests connected to agriculture.

Political observers said the small share of industry donations Vilsack received could earn him credibility and a perception of independence as he prepares for his confirmation hearing Wednesday. Others note the agricultural industry has long exerted its political influence through connections, not money.

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