By Derrick DePledge
Babes Against Biotech has put state lawmakers on notice: accept a single dollar from GMO companies or vote against GMO labeling, and the Babes will work against your re-election.
In a Nov. 26 letter to lawmakers, Nomi Carmona, the Babes' president, reminded lawmakers that they were first warned back in March. Babes Against Biotech has now expanded the warning to cover voting against any genetically modified organism or pesticide regulation bill or for any county preemption or pro-biotechnology bill. "We will add you to the list of Unelectables," Carmona warns.
Carmona also asks lawmakers who have accepted "GMO money" during this election cycle to return the donations. She took particular note of the lawmakers who have received "GMO money" after the initial warning in March.
One of the problems with the Babes' approach, insiders say, is that they count donations from lobbyists who not only represent biotech companies, but have dozens of other clients. Lobbyists such as John Radcliffe, George "Red" Morris and Bob Toyofuku represent a range of diverse interests, for example, so there is no way to describe their donations to lawmakers strictly as "GMO money."
The Babes' approach leads to bizarre arguments. The Babes' claim, for instance, that they are surprised to see state Rep. Scott Nishimoto on their House list of offenders. Nishimoto is vice chairman of the House Finance Committee, which passed an admittedly flawed GMO labeling bill unamended last session. Nishimoto also voted for the bill on the House floor.
Nishimoto's offense: He accepted a $250 donation from Morris in June.
In fact, of the 12 House lawmakers on the Babes' list for accepting "GMO money" since March, all but one -- state Rep. Bob McDermott -- voted for the GMO labeling bill, which stalled in the state Senate.