Some recent articles in the alternative Health world have chastised Governor Bill Richardson for supposedly accepting $10,000 in contributions from Ajinomoto, the world's largest Aspartame and Monosodium Glutamate manufacturer, several years ago.
This is not at all correct. They have been given some misinformation or perhaps misinterpreted some. Richardson did accept a $10,000 contribution to his 2006 gubernatorial campaign from Altria Corporate Services, the parent name for Kraft/Philip Morris, not Ajinomoto.
Dr. Betty Martini, Founder of Mission Possible International (bless her heart and brave soul), called on him several times, as did I, to redonate the $10,000 to New Mexico victims of aspartame poisoning. These requests were ignored; his campaign staff even joked about how Betty would send a new email every three minutes (not true at all)! Certainly, those were their actions and not those of Governor Richardson.
In fact, Altria and Ajinomoto hired several close friends of his as lobbyists to influence legislation and to try to kill the Nutrition Council bill; before this he had cautiously encouraged the state conducting hearings in the Environmental Improvement Board on Aspartame, and after those lobbyists "went to work," his support became unclear and the EIB caved in, canceled the hearings, after Ajinomoto threatened them with a lawsuit! i don't see this as Richardson's fault at all; I believe strongly that he would make the best possible United States Secretary of State.
We would certainly like to find some more legislative friends and allies who might help bring about bills to ban aspartame in 10 states, laying the groundwork, long before 2009! Then even Mr. Corporate Power himself, FDA Director Andrew Von Eschenbach, would comprehend how he should have rescinded FDA approval for Aspartame 2 years ago when he was first explicitly asked to do so by 21 New Mexico Legislators who signed a letter to that effect.
After November, he will be out the door, and we must now lean on Obama and that guy from Arizona to at least recognize how important Consumer Protection overhaul really is!!!! Maybe even Senator Mc Cain might come around to comprehend the deep need for a consumer protection oriented FDA Commissioner if enough people wrote to him at his Senate office and at his campaign headquarters. Mc Cain would be very likely to keep Von Eschenbach on as FDA Commissioner; Senator Mc Cain should clarify this on the campaign trail; if he would do so, this might become a really good reason to vote for his opponent!
The next FDA Commissioner may become the #1, most important Presidential Appointment in November 2008.
I welcome direct personal replies from readers.
Stephen Fox Managing Editor, Santa Fe News SunFounder, New Millennium Fine Art