The tobacco industry has had a long-standing influence on U.S. politics since the founding of the country. In fact both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were major growers and exporters of the age-old stimulant, which was by far one of their largest cash crops.
And although the health risks associated with smoking have caused a significant decline in consumption within the U.S., tobacco is still big business in America, and farmers along with manufacturers continue to contribute heavily to politicians in the hopes that federal regulations wont snuff out smoking, or the industry, completely.
We took a look at contributions from Altria (formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc.) to find out which politicians received the most support from big tobacco.
Reporting the highest amount in contributions was Senator Tim Kaine (D - VA) who, as the former Mayor of Richmond, shares a hometown with Altria's global headquarters. Coming in second was House Speaker John Boehner, who in addition to being one of the most powerful Republicans in the country is also a known habitual consumer of tobacco products. And placing third was republican Congressman Morgan Griffith, who as the congressman for Southwestern Virginia represents a significant percentage of the tobacco farms in Virginia - the fourth-largest tobacco-producing state in the country.
You can see the top five recipients of Altria cash in congress below:
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