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In the past year, only one U.S. House proposal took on the tobacco industry–and it lost. Last July, the House defeated a proposed $23 million cut in subsidies to tobacco farmers. Opponents claimed Washington gives crucial help to the farmers.

Of course, tobacco also provides crucial help to Washington politicians. Greg Boller, a political marketing professor at the University of Memphis, and his students, analyzed donations from the five top tobacco PACs (R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson, U.S. Tobacco, the Tobacco Institute) during the 31 months before the vote. The PACs gave an average of $6,138 to opponents of the measure, but only $1,645 to supporters.

They identified a “trigger point”–where the money seemed to sway legislators against the tobacco measure–of $3,430. Following their formula, donations needed to exceed $14,000 for the odds of winning a legislator’s favor to reach 90 percent.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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