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The UCSF researchers sounded a call for greater transparency of organization funding “so that policymakers and the general public – including people who identify with the Tea Party – can evaluate claims of political support for, and opposition to, health and other public policies.’’The Role of Citizens for a Sound Economy In 2002, before the mainstream media widely discussed Tea party politics, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a nonprofit funded in part by cigarette companies since 1987 to support a pro-tobacco political agenda, started its US Tea Party project.Its website stated “Our US Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated.’’ In 2004, CSE split into the Tea Party organizations Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Freedom Works.
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Those two groups, say the authors, have since waged campaigns to turn public opinion against tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and health care reform in general.“If you look at CSE, AFP and Freedom Works, you will see a number of the same key players, strategies and messages going back to the 1980s,” said lead author Amanda Fallin, Ph D, RN, also a CTCRE fellow.
“The records indicate that the Tea Party has been shaped by the tobacco industry, and is not a spontaneous grassroots movement at all.”While it is well known that corporations can influence policy, the study “demonstrates the extent to which a particular industry has leveraged its resources to indirectly affect public policy,’’ the authors write.
He told investigators he didn’t think what he was doing was a big deal.
La Crosse police turned the case over to Monroe County authorities.