White House Refuses to Release Email From Monsanto-Linked Lobbyist
The White House is withholding documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by an environmental group that suspects the Obama administration of working with Monsanto-linked lobbyists to defend the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops in wildlife refuges across the country.
The information currently being withheld includes a portion of a January 2011 email that a top White House policy analyst received from a lobbyist with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which represents GE seed companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta.
According to legal filings, the White House withheld the portion of the email because it accidentally contained information on BIO's lobbying strategy that, if released, would cause competitive harm to the group and the companies it represents.
"We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy," stated Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) staff counsel Kathryn Douglass, who is arguing the email should be a public record. "The White House's legal posture is as credible as claiming Coca Cola's secret formula was 'inadvertently' left in a duffel bag at the bus station."