The American Crystal Sugar Company PAC reported it gave $165,000 to 39 federal candidates and committees during April as farm bills were being considered by the 113th Congress. Half of contributions to candidates were checks for $5,000. This week, farm bills were approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.
But the PAC contributions may be aimed at a broader strategy for floor action in each chamber. U.S. sugar companies fear an effort by food companies and confectioners to amend the farm bills on the floor to eliminate the sugar support program. The current program regulates the amount of foreign sugar imported to the U.S. from non-NAFTA countries. It also gives support to sugar prices if they go too low.
The American Crystal Sugar Company PAC solicits funds from farmers in a major fundraising drive in March and April of each year. They have raised over $1 million March and April of 2013, 2012, and 2011. Almost all their itemized contributions in April came from farmers in Minnesota ($549,839) and North Dakota ($431,120). The PAC now has $1,712,406 cash on hand as of April 30.
During the first quarter of 2013, the American Crystal Sugar Company reported spending $1,004,117 on federal lobbying.