Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
ALCOHOL FUELS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
McCain and Obama Should Return Big Alcohol Contributions
SAN RAFAEL, CA (October 14, 2008) --- Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, called upon both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama today to return their Big Alcohol campaign contributions.
"A new president means a new opportunity for a more enlightened approach to alcohol policy in the United States," stated Bruce Livingston, executive director of Marin Institute. "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?"
According to published data from www.opensecrets.org, the alcohol industry has thus far donated more than $750,000 to the presidential campaigns of both McCain and Obama. 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.
The President of the United States oversees several federal agencies dealing with alcohol policy, including the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which approves alcohol products and the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising practices. The President also appoints the Surgeon General, who warns the public about the dangers of alcohol use.
Not content with merely contributing directly to the presidential candidates' finances, the industry is also part of the convention and debate process. This year, distilled spirits giant Diageo was the "official wine and spirits company" of the Republican National Convention and the "preferred wine and spirits company" of the Democratic National Convention. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch is a major sponsor of The Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit that organizes and hosts the debates, providing free beer at "hospitality areas."
"The benefit to the industry is clear: access to politicians, power brokers, campaign staff, and party members," added 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."
Marin Institute is an alcohol industry watchdog based in San Rafael, CA.
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