View Full Forums : The Going Rate for Senators These Days

06-12-2009, 05:00 PM who opposed tobacco bill received top dollar from industry

WASHINGTON — Among the 17 senators who voted against allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco are some of the top recipients of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry, which has donated millions of dollars to lawmakers in the past several campaign cycles.

Over the course of his nearly quarter-century Senate career, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who hails from the tobacco-rich state of Kentucky, has received $419,025 from the tobacco industry, more than any other member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that analyzes the influence of money on politics and policy.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who led the opposition to the bill, is the second highest recipient and netted $359,100 from tobacco-related political action committees and individual contributions. His state is the nation's largest tobacco grower and is home to R.J. Reynolds, the nation's second largest tobacco manufacturing company, which contributed $196,850 to Burr's campaigns.

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, is the third highest recipient with $228,700. Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, who's up for re-election next year and is considered the most vulnerable Senate Republican, ranks eighth with $194,166.

All oppose giving additional tobacco regulatory powers to the FDA, an agency they argue doesn't have adequate resources for the task. They say cigarette companies' campaign contributions didn't color their positions on the legislation.

Contributions to federal candidates, committees and parties from the industry have fallen dramatically since the late 1990s, when companies gave almost $10 million each year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2006, the tobacco industry donated $3.5 million, with Altria Group and Reynolds American contributing the most. Donations from the industry overwhelmingly favor Republicans, who lost control of Congress in 2006 after more than a decade of dominance.The price for each senator is in boldface. Apparently, conservative senators are pretty cheap these days, when they're a rapidly vanishing minority.

The tobacco companies shouldn't complain; at least they can offset their losses by lower expenses (fewer bribes to senators).

06-15-2009, 04:16 AM
It depends on which tobacco company. Philip Morris, aka, Marlboro, amongst other popular brands, isn't effected as much do to some legacy policy in the bill moving regulations to the FDA. I haven't read it all yet, but, unless I am corrected later, I believe the smaller companies, generics and stuff are the ones that will be hurt by it, by trying to break into the market.