In my Tuesday post about California’s Prop. 37 ballot initiative that would require the labeling of genetically modified food, I wrote about a “gusher” of agribusiness cash entering the state to defeat the proposition, which will be voted on in the November election. In the first comment below the post, frequent commenter Rachael Ludwick writes that “groups in favor of this proposition have so far outspent Big Ag.”
And she’s right-but the gap is closing quickly. Here’s what I mean.
The California Secretary of State’s office compiles and discloses donations to the “yes” and “no” campaigns for each of the state’s ballot propositions. In 2012 through June 30, the “No” side of the fight, led by agribusiness firms and food processors opposed to labeling, had raised about $1,002,000; while the “Yes” side, led by the alternative-health web site Mercola.com and an organic-consumer group’s 501c(4), raised $2,050,408.67.
So it’s really a gusher of organic cash that’s swamping the California labeling fight, right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. The first thing to look at is the “total expenditures” and “ending cash” lines of the above-linked reports for each side. By June 30, the pro-labeling campaign had burned through $1,860,644.22 of its hoard, leaving it with $295,149.52 in cash going forward. The anti-labeling side had spent just $674,713.81, leaving it with a cash wad worth $327,286.19 heading into July.
So even though the “yes” forces raised twice as much cash as the “no” brigades by June 30, the latter entered July with the bigger bank account.