Dole-ing Out Favors
A lobbying success story, from the maker of atrazine
The manufacturer of atrazine, an herbicide connected by studies to frog deformities and increased risk of prostate cancer in humans, spent $260,000 lobbying the U.S. EPA and other government bodies on behalf of the chemical. Not only that, but Syngenta Crop Protection enlisted the formidable lobbying talents of Viagra emissary and ex-senator Bob Dole, who met at least once with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin to discuss the issue. After reports began emerging about atrazine’s ill effects — biologist Tyrone Hayes testified to Congress that low levels of atrazine “chemically castrate and feminize” male frogs, fish, and other wildlife, and other tests indicate that men who work around the chemical are at risk of prostate cancer — Syngenta hired PR firm Alston & Bird to lobby the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress on its behalf. Before Dole’s meeting, Alston & Bird prepared a memo saying that the EPA should reregister atrazine by Oct. 31, 2003; after Dole’s meeting, the agency did just that.