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Study Finds Alcohol Funds Presidential Campaigns

Marin Institute appeals to presidential aspirants Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama to return the funds donated to their campaigns by Big Alcohol companies. “A new president means a new opportunity for a more enlightened approach to alcohol policy in the United States,” says Bruce Livingston, chairman of the alcohol industry’s watchdog. “What chance do we have of effective alcohol policy in Washington when the candidates receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in beer and spirits money?”

The statement was in response to the data published by OpenSecrets.org. According to the website, the alcohol industry has already contributed a total of over $750,000 to the US presidential campaigns. “McCain has received $466,000 compared with $293,800 donated to Obama. Big Alcohol donations are more than five times higher than tobacco industry donations and nearly twice as much as that donated by the casino and gambling industries.”

Marin Institute stressed the significance of the President in enacting alcohol-related policies which is why it’s important that he doesn’t become indebted to the industry in any way during his campaigns. The US President is responsible for various federal agencies that deal with alcohol policy. These agencies include the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. The Surgeon General who is tasked with providing public warnings on alcohol consumption is also a presidential appointee.

The organization further reports that the alcohol industry not only contributes directly to the funds of presidential campaigns. It also finances the debates and conventions related to the elections. Diageo, a large distilled spirits company, sponsored the Republican National Convention this year. It was the “official wine and spirits company” of the said convention. The Democratic National Convention also hailed it as its “preferred wine and spirits company.”

Annheuser-Busch is also one of the major sponsors of the The Commission on Presidential Debates.

“The benefit to the industry is clear: access to politicians, power brokers, campaign staff, and party members,” says Livingston. “Today we are calling upon both major party presidential candidates to return Big Alcohol donations. There are cleaner sources of election funding that put public health and safety before alcohol profits.”

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