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For Immediate Release: July 28th, 2004
Contact:  Pratap Chatterjee +1-202-580-8393 pratap@corpwatch.org

Soft Money Meltdown: Corporate Influence on the Election

Oakland, CA, July 28, 2004

CorpWatch.org published a new report today entitled Up in Smoke: Tobacco Industry Saves on Soft Money, Spends On Lobbyists. The article takes a close look at campaign spending and influence peddling by the tobacco industry following new restrictions imposed by the McCain-Feingold Act ban unlimited "soft money" contributions to the political parties.

In this timely report, Chris Berdik examines:
--Tobacco corporations reactions to the new restrictions;
--Tobacco donations to California Assembly members and their votes on anti-smoking legislation,
--National trends in giving and receiving from tobacco lobbyists and
--Tobacco's next steps in keeping the Democratic and Republican parties hooked.

Khalil Bendib's original cartoon of a "Tobacco Addict", posted with the report, features a "Republicrat" smoking hard and soft money cigarettes.

The tobacco investigation is one in a series of reports detailing corporate influence on the U.S. elections system. The new series, available at www.corpwatch.org launched with an extensive review of the impact of the McCain-Feingold Act on a national level. Financing the Election: Soft Money Out, Bundling In; Corporate Backers Spend More, Get More by Bill Mesler looks at the way corporations are evading the modest new campaign donation restrictions by using techniques such as "bundling", nonprofit advocacy groups and lobbying muscle.

CorpWatch election coverage also features video reports from the Democratic convention in Boston: From AOL Time Warner's fabulous party at Tiers (Party On in Boston: How Corporations Spend Thousands to Wine and Dine Legislators.)
to the Raytheon corporation's bankrolling of Democratic party convention expenses.

The live reports air daily on the Pacifica Network national news show Democracy Now! And are archived online at http://corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11473

Additional stories on democratic fundraisers, war profiteers, media companies, banking and finance, the "independent" debate committee and the ongoing Diebold voting machine scandal will be appearing as the campaign progresses. Live reports from the Republican Convention in New York City will appear in August.


CorpWatch counters corporate-led globalization through education, network-building and activism. We work to foster democratic control over corporations by building a diverse movement for human rights and dignity, labor rights and environmental justice.