Big Tobacco’s Staunch Friend in Washington: U.S. Chamber of Commerce – The New York Times

The Chamber of Commerce, which is supposed to represent broad business interests and acknowledges that it uses the membership of small local businesses in local Chambers of Commerce as “cover,” has devoted enormous resources to thwarting other countries’ efforts to inform consumers about the dangers of smoking. They have even insisted that warning labels on cigarettes impinge on the “intellectual property” rights of tobacco companies.

Since [Donahue] took over, the chamber has spent more than $1.1 billion on lobbying, and last year, it had 168 lobbyists working on its behalf, many on its own staff, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mr. Donohue’s chamber would lean more heavily on large corporations, promising in a letter that the chamber’s small-business members “provide the foot soldiers, and often the political cover, for issues big companies want pursued.” Splinter groups proliferated, like the Institute for Legal Reform, which took money from American automakers to attack tire safety regulations proposed after the Firestone scandal.

via Big Tobacco’s Staunch Friend in Washington: U.S. Chamber of Commerce – The New York Times.

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