Anatomy of a Big Tobacco Sellout

U.S. Rep. Diane Black sold out to Big Tobacco. She says one thing, but does another to help crush small business.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Tell Congress to STOP HR4134 & the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill! http://bit.ly/NewTax

As I tinkered around the house this weekend, I got to thinking about how difficult it is for people to change their behavior. After all, that’s what this blog and our efforts are about. We seek to change the behavior of members of Congress who will otherwise support a Big Tobacco bailout and crush small businesses through anti-competititve taxes and regulation. People have all kinds of reasons for not changing their behavior. Sometimes, they misinterpret change as a sign of weakness. Certainly, members of Congress don’t want to be seen as weak, wrong, confused or desperate. I bet, if given the chance to change their behavior on the Big Tobacco bailout without having to admit they were wrong, we’d see half to three-quarters of the sponsors of H.R.4134 drop that bill faster than a cold beer turns warm in the middle of August.

Good morning! It’s Monday, June 11, 2012 and we are taking a look today at one member of Congress’s sellout to the Big Tobacco companies. I know that sounds a little harsh, but there’s no other way to describe it. Read on and see if you agree.

U.S. Representative Diane Black: Born January 16, 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland. Thirty-four years later she moved out of Maryland and moved in to Tennessee where she continued her career as nurse-turned-bureaucrat and served in the state legislature for a few years before eyeing an open seat in the U.S. Congress. Ms. Black was elected in 2010, moved back to the Baltimore area, and started service in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 2011.

Ms. Black was born in Baltimore, Maryland and lived in the shadow of the nation’s capital city for 34 years. Elected to Congress, she’s now happily living back in Washington, DC.

What can we tell about Ms. Black and how she serves her Tennessee constituents? Well, all we really have is her WORDS and her ACTIONS. So, let’s look at her website.

EXHIBIT A: On her official, congressional website Ms. Black has written the words:

“America’s success does not stem from Washington programs, but from free enterprise and our entrepreneurial spirit. The real way to grow the economy is to get government out of the way, and let the real job creators, American small businesses, create jobs. The federal government needs to support entrepreneurs by eliminating burdensome regulations and discriminatory taxes that are holding businesses back.” – U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

Well, that’s interesting. Pretty much a red, white and blue flag of poetic praise for small business, right? Curious, though, that there’s no mention of the Big Tobacco bailout H.R.4134 she introduced on behalf of the largest cigarette-making companies. That whole “let’s crush the small businesses where you can roll your own smokes” seems counter to the above paragraph. Maybe it’s an oversight?
EXHIBIT B: More words from Ms. Black’s website talks about her views on Federal legislation:
“One of the most important aspects of Congress is developing, making, and monitoring laws. New laws are created every week. As a Member of Congress, I am actively involved in sponsoring and drafting legislation about issues that are important to you.” – U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

Another interesting statement. We can overlook the ignorant inaccuracy of “new laws are created every week” (they’re not), but we can’t overlook that part about “drafting legislation about issues that are important to you.” Since when did it become important to the people of Robertson and Sumner counties that the U.S. government crush small businesses in order to give Big Tobacco companies more profit?

EXHIBIT C: This comes directly from her bill, her legislation H.R.4134 which will reclassify small tobacco shops from “retailer” to “manufacturer” in order to subject them to impossibly onerous taxes and regulations.

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED (H.R.4134) “Amends the Internal Revenue Code to include within the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products,” for excise tax purposes, any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use a machine capable of producing tobacco products.”

What?!! HOW is amending U.S. Tax Code supposed to HELP small businesses?!

Even this water buffalo knows to hang his head low over HR4134, the Big Tobacco bailout sponsored by Rep. Diane Black.

Coming full circle to what we said about “changing behavior” being hard for some people. Ms. Black was born in Baltimore, Maryland and lived in an area populated by more government bureaucrats per square mile than any other place in the nation for 34 YEARS. She knows government like the back of her hand. She has bureaucracy running through her veins. And even though she TALKS about getting “government out of the way” of the REAL job creators, small business, she’s first in line with ACTION introducing MORE TAXES AND MORE REGULATIONS on SMALL BUSINESS. That’s what her bill, H.R.4134 is. And the ONLY BENEFACTOR from this legislation is the Big Tobacco companies. I know this because the Congressional Budget Office said so. If Ms. Black successfully shuts down small tobacco shops where you can blend and roll your own smokes, Big Tobacco thinks it will pick up all those sales. Never mind Big Tobacco already has 99% market share. They want more.

Another clear indicator of Ms. Black’s sellout to Big Tobacco: Money. Big Tobacco has A LOT OF MONEY invested in members of Congress.

EXHIBIT D: Altria (maker of Marlboro cigarettes) gave Ms. Black a few thousand dollars for her campaign. R.J.Reynolds (another cigarette maker) gave her a few thousand campaign dollars, too. IN FACT, both Altria and Reynolds gave THOUSANDS of dollars in cash to Ms. Black’s campaign within mere DAYS of her introducing H.R. 4134. Coincidence?

A further indicator of Ms. Black’s sellout to Big Tobacco: More money.

EXHIBIT E: Big Tobacco spent MILLIONS OF DOLLARS lobbying for H.R.4134 this year. Remember, Ms. Black’s bill wasn’t even introduced until March 5, 2012. But between March 5 and March 31, 2012 the public records show Big Tobacco spent more than $3 million dollars lobbying for H.R.4134! That’s UNHEARD OF on Capitol Hill, unless there is some sort of coordinated effort by the Big Tobacco companies and Ms. Black’s office. It just doesn’t happen that way (on the up-and-up, anyway). We’ve alerted Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) about this anomaly and asked them to look into it.

Last indication of Ms. Black’s sellout: H.R.4134 is a BIG effort by Ms. Black. It’s SO BIG, she has already gathered 74 cosponsors for her bill. AND ALL OF THEM have taken Big Tobacco money in one form or another. Most have taken the money directly from Big Tobacco, but some have taken it through a third-party political action committee. That basically means the money was “washed” of tobacco before it was contributed. Sneaky, right?

EXHIBIT F: Silence. Even though this is a BIG effort by Rep. Diane Black, there is not ONE WORD about it on her website. Check it out for yourself. Go to her website by clicking here, and in the “search” box, enter “4134” or “tobacco” or “roll your own.” Nothing related to her bill comes up! As I’ve said before, members of Congress issue a press release when a unicorn breaks wind, so WHY wouldn’t Rep. Diane Black talk about her PREMIER effort to shut down small businesses? Is she HIDING something?

Well, Ms. Black, you can’t hide a Big Tobacco bailout, and you can’t hide your selling out to Big Tobacco, either.

So there you have it, the anatomy of a Big Tobacco sellout. It’s not pretty, is it?

Ms. Black talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

Our Mission: Inform, educate, infiltrate, communicate and decimate. We are making a difference because we have people ALL ACROSS our great nation taking part in this effort and persistently making noise. U.S. House members are in their hometowns this week, talking with community groups, touring companies, making hay on the local television and radio. So talk to them! Talk with your local member. Ask them to REJECT the Big Tobacco bailout. Tell them to strip it from the highway bill AND THEN ask them to oppose H.R.4134. It’s a dirty, no-good, big tobacco bailout and it’s NOT good government.

Bravo Tango Whiskey: What do you think? Too harsh? Let me know and I’ll see you ONLINE!

-GR

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4 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Big Tobacco Sellout

  1. gino vitella says:

    please dont let big tobacco push you into closeing down our small ryo businesses and lay off about 250 good people thank you for your understanding

  2. Big tobacco has made enough money, give the little guy a chance.

  3. georges Ghazal says:

    please void the Roll-Your-Own tobacco provision that was inserted into the newly passed Transportation Bill. By signing that provision into law, you would be eliminating hundreds of jobs, stiffle a slow-progressing economy, and take away future opportunities of small busniesses.

  4. Ray Jones says:

    To all congress and senate.GROW SOME BALLS and overturn HR4134 and give us little guys a chance to servive.Have’nt you taken enough from us already.Are’nt the rich,rich enough ?

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