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Budget supercommittee adviser for agriculture wins big from sugar industry funds

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is steeped in the politics, and money, of Big Sugar. Not only was Lucas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, chosen to advise the budget-slashing supercommittee on agriculture-related cuts, he is also the largest recipient among congressional members of funds from sugar cane and sugar beet companies.

During the 2011-2012 election cycle, Lucas has received $34,500 from sugar companies including American Crystal Sugar, U.S. Sugar and Flo-Sun Inc., all companies which benefit greatly from pro-subsidy policies that may fall under the budget knife.

Though farming-subsidy cuts are not included in the first stage of deficit reduction, if the supercommittee doesn’t agree on where to cut and goes into sequestration, then subsidies will also fall under the budget knife.

In the past, Congress has imposed a fee on sugar growers during rough budget battles, but as The Florida Independent reported earlier this week, “sugar has a lot to lose from regulations and a lot to gain from agricultural legislation. So the top companies spread campaign donations … and are often rewarded with support.”

The American Sugar Alliance congratulated Lucas for his appointment to the House Agriculture Committee in in 2010 saying they were “eager to work closely with Chairman Lucas … to maintain the existing no-cost sugar policy in the next Farm Bill.” In the 2010 campaign cycle, he was one of their top ten donors, receiving $39,500.

Lucas has been a strong supporter of farm subsidies and a fervent opponent of emissions caps, both positions firmly in line with that of sugar companies.

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