One of the most contentious bills of 2017 was Senate Bill 235, which proposed statewide tobacco licensing in Oregon, one of just nine states that doesn’t license sellers. But the tobacco lobby sideswiped the bill, which was repurposed into a law defining where it is legal to smoke in enclosed areas.
Now the world’s largest tobacco company, Altria, is opening its checkbook to make sure its friends stay in line.
The tobacco giant gave $33,500 to the House Republican caucus, $30,500 to the Senate Republican caucus, and—its largest contribution to any individual lawmaker—$5,000 to Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), without whose approval nothing happens in Salem.
Courtney’s spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.