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Democrats Collect Money From Tobacco Giants

Tim Craig

Two different tobacco companies donated a combined $30,000 to House and Senate Democratic committees in recent days as both chambers prepare to consider Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's proposal to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

Reynolds American, parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, donated $10,000 to The Commonwealth Victory Fund last week, according to the State Board of Elections. The fund is a joint fundraising committee for House and Senate Democrats. R.J. Reynolds, the second biggest largest tobacco company in the United States, manufactures Camel, Kool, Winston and Salem cigarettes.

On Jan. 2, Altria Corporate Services also made two separate $10,000 donations to the Senate Democratic Caucus. Altria is a parent company of Philip Morris International, a Richmond-based tobacco company that produces Marlboro cigarettes.

Under state law, legislators and state political action committees cannot raise money during the 60-day legislative session that began last Wednesday. But there is often a flurry of fundraisers in the days leading up to the session.

Dominion, the state's largest energy supplier, gave The Senate Democratic $10,000 last week . Dominion gave another $20,000 to the joint caucus.

LeClair Ryan and McGuire Woods, both Richmond law firms, donated $15,000 each to the joint caucus, as did Anderson Financial Services. The Virginia State Police Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Associated Distributors, a beverage company in Chesapeake Virginia, also each made $10,000 contributions to the joint caucus, according to the State Board of Elections.

By Tim Craig  |  January 17, 2008; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2008 , Tim Craig  
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