Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Article Highlights Tea Party Connections to the Tobacco Industry

An article published online ahead of print in the journal Tobacco Control reveals the historical connections between the tobacco industry and the Tea Party. The article stresses the importance of communicating to policy makers, the media, and the public the connection between the tobacco industry and the Tea Party.

The Rest of the Story

It is important to point out that it is not just the Tea Party, and the Republican party, that have strong connections with Big Tobacco.

The rest of the story is that the Democratic party also has strong ties to Big Tobacco and its politicians are therefore heavily influenced by, and beholden to tobacco interests.

The following is a list of Democratic members of Congress who have accepted more than $10,000 in total contributions from the tobacco industry during the period 2005-2012.

Total Congressional Campaign Contributions, 2005-2012
Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Contributions by Tobacco Interests to Federal Campaigns

Mike McIntyre (D-NC): $87,500
James Clyburn (D-SC): $56,500
Steny Hoyer (D-MD): $55,500
Benjamin Nelson (D-NE): $49,500
J. Heath Shuler (D-NC): $48,000
Charles Rangel (D-NY): $44,500
John Dingell (D-MI): $43,000
GK Butterfield (D-NC): $36,500
Michael Ross (D-AR): $33,000
Joseph Crowley (D-NY): $31,500
Edolphus Towns (D-NY): $31,500
Mark Warner (D-VA): $29,784
James Matheson (D-UT): $27,500
Mike Thompson (D-CA): $27,500
Bennie Thompson (D-MS): $26,500
Harry Reid (R-NV): $26,000
Sanford Bishop (D-GA): $24,500
Max Baucus (D-MT): $23,000
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA): $22,000
Collin Peterson (D-MN): $21,500
Ben Chandler (D-KY): $21,500
David Scott (D-GA): $21,500
Joe Manchin (D-WV): $20,000
Dan Boren (D-OK): $19,500
Michael McCaul (D-TX): $19,500
Melvin Watt (D-NC): $18,500
Henry Cuellar (D-TX): $18,500
Gregory Meeks (D-NY): $18,000
Richard Neal (D-MA): $17,500
Jim Cooper (D-TN): $17,000
Joe Baca (D-CA): $14,000
Mike Michaud (D-ME): $13,500
John Larson (D-CT): $12,500
Kay Hagan (D-NC): $12,071
Kenny Marchant (D-TX): $12,000
William L. Clay, Jr. (D-MO): $11,500
Charles Grassley (D-IA): $11,000
Xavier Becerra (D-CA): $11,000
Larry Kissell (D-NC): $10,500
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA): $10,500
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO): $10,000
Robert P. Casey (D-PA): $10,000

Thus, a total of 22 different Democratic members of Congress accepted $10,000 or more of tobacco industry money during the past eight years. This amounts to $1.1 million in tobacco industry funding of Democratic Congressional members/candidates.

It is just not as simple as communicating to policy makers, the media, and the public that the Tea Party is heavily influenced by Big Tobacco, or that the Republicans take a huge amount of money from tobacco companies. The Democratic party has been bought off every bit as much as the other political parties. To deflect attention away from the connection between Democrats and Big Tobacco does not do justice to what is really going on.

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