Big Tobacco

Dissenting Senators in Tobacco's Pocket?

Seventeen senators voted against today’s seismic bill empowering the FDA to further regulate the tobacco industry, and several of them were Big Tobacco’s biggest beneficiaries, reports McClatchy, to the tune of multiple millions over several campaign cycles. The worst offender? Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Over the course of nearly 25 years in the senate, the senator from Kentucky—a tobacco-rich state&mdashreceived $419,025 from the tobacco industry, more than any other member of Congress. North Carolina Republican Richard Burr led the bill’s opposition. Burr is Congress’ second most tobacco-dependent, with $359,100 in tobacco industry-related donations, including $196,850 from R.J. Reynold’s, America’s second largest tobacco manufacturer. Meanwhile, Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, the Senate Agriculture Committee’s ranking Republican, netted $228,700 in tobacco money. Not every tobacco-supported senators voted for the bill, however. Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb (both Democrats) voted in favor of the bill despite significant tobacco donations.