Kool, introduced in the 1930s by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., was one of the early menthol brands, and until the 1950s the most popular. This 1937 ad was one of many that promoted Kool as soothing to the throat. (Cigarette ads courtesy of the Stanford University collection)
Lorillard Tobacco donated nearly four times as much to Republican candidates as to Democrats in the 2014 congressional elections. No surprise there — most businesses count on Republicans to hold the line on regulations and taxes.
But Lorillard made a striking exception for one set of Democrats: African Americans.
Tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. last year helped fund several of the nation’s most politically active — and secretive — nonprofit organizations, according to a company document reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity.
Reynolds American’s contributions include $175,000 to Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit led by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and $50,000 to Americans for Prosperity, a free-market advocacy outfit heavily backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.