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Cargill's Millions in Campaign Gifts and Lobbying Brings in Billions of Federal Loot

MN-Proud: Cargill is getting a monster return on its political spending.

MN-Proud: Cargill is getting a monster return on its political spending.

Minnetonka-based Cargill, Inc., America's largest privately held corporation, has pocketed more than $1 billion in federal business as a result of its political pull.

The Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, D.C. money-in-politics watchdog group, found that Cargill invested almost $10 million in campaign contributions and lobbying between 2007 and 2012, making it one of the Top 200 sugar daddies on Capitol Hill. Its generosity, quite naturally, didn't go unnoticed.

See also: Cargill will now label beef containing "pink slime"

At the same time it was shelling out gifts and sucking up to Congress, it managed to bring home $1.1 billion in contracts. Bonus round: Cargill took in another $5.4 billion in the form of government loans, loan guarantees, grants, and money tossed around in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Over the last 15 years, the company's largest beneficiaries were President George W. Bush, who took $120,000 from Cargill, and former Minnesota Congressman Mark Kennedy, who got $91,000.

While it's no shocker that nine of Cargill's top ten recipients were Republicans, one Democrat managed to break the ranks: Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in eighth at $43,000.

Cargill spokeswoman Mary Maurelli declined comment on the company's buying spree.

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