Final tally: Big Sugar spent $3.6 million on state politics in 2023

The final numbers are in — and they’re big.

In 2023, Big Sugar political spending in Florida totaled over $3.6 million, with the vast majority — $2.9 million — coming from industry giant U.S. Sugar. Florida Crystals chipped in just over $745,000, while the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative spent $23,000.

The numbers are likely to be far higher in 2024 — an election year.

As we’ve reported previously, almost all this money went to PACs, political action committees. Nearly half, $1.8 million, went to the Florida Chamber of Commerce PAC, one of the biggest committees in the state. The PAC has long gotten big funding from Big Sugar — and in turn donates plenty to sugar-friendly politicians.

The Republican Party of Florida got more than $218,000 from U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals, while the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee got $200,000, all from U.S. Sugar. The Democratic Legislative Campaign and the Democratic Party, respectively, got $25,000 and $15,000, all from U.S. Sugar.

And Big Sugar remembered its “friends,” with U.S. Sugar in particular supporting elected officials who have their own PACs. Senate Majority Leader Ben Albritton, next in line for the Senate Presidency, saw U.S. Sugar donate $50,000 to his “Friends of Ben Albritton” committee, and another $50,000 to “Advancing Florida Agriculture,” a committee he chairs.

U.S. Sugar also gave $100,000 to Friends of Wilton Simpson; Simpson is the state’s Agriculture Commissioner and a likely candidate for governor in 2026.

To see the data, click here.