We’ve been tracking the source of late money going into a number of key races in the state and in the process, lifting the veil of these misleadingly named IE committees. The tobacco industry has been a major contributor to several of the Orwellian titled groups and targeted many progressive, anti-smoking candidates through the years. So why should we be surprised that tobacco continues its deceitful practices–this time in the form of a hit piece against Board of Equalization candidate, Judy Chu, who is running against Jerome Horton for the 4th district seat in Los Angeles County.
Of course, tobacco has a big stake in the outcome—can they continue their favored treatment with Mr. Horton on the key state taxing board or be subject to greater scrutiny by the persistently critical Ms. Chu who has stood up to this industry for years? She won’t take their money and has voted against them time after time. Mr. Horton, on the other hand, has taken lots of their money for his campaigns and carried their water politically as well.
The truth is that Judy Chu has been tobacco’s worst nightmare, not their best friend. So what is tobacco doing in this race-sending out pieces claiming Ms. Chu is actually on their side?
Seems the tobacco folks know the truth about their own products: the public doesn’t like them and neither do the people who will be voting in the June 6th primary. How better than to turn the tide against Chu’s candidacy by trying to associate her as their ally? So they’ve tried to “swift boat” her and sent out a piece that claims she’s taken their money and voted in their favor while serving in the State Assembly. They also include a statement purportedly from the American Lung Association to that effect. It’s a lie, but since when has the tobacco industry worried about such things? Most of us remember quite vividly the famous photograph of the seven tobacco CEOs standing up in Congress taking the oath to tell the truth and then being exposed as having lied through their teeth.
Progressives have been wary of these IE committees since the latest campaign finance laws created the loophole allowing them. Nonetheless, these tactics and the amounts of unseemly money being dumped into the political process continue to sully an already troubled system. Is it any wonder the public is so turned off by this election that only a 38% turnout is projected?
Democracy cannot afford this kind of black eye, nor can we afford to sit on the sidelines in disgust .
We must VOTE and in the case of the tobacco industry trying to defeat Ms. Chu with such reprehensible tactics, speak out against these dishonest efforts. Voting to defeat those who benefit from such scurrilous attacks may be the only way to stop this kind of behavior. Everyone understands failure, so let’s show these unscrupulous folks the door!
Time to sink the “Swift Boat” mentality that ignores truth for sheer political gain. It’s time to take back the political process and dialogue. Make sure you vote on June 6th and send a strong message to the tobacco industry and its big business allies that we aren’t buying their lies and deceit any longer.