By Tom Precious
ALBANY -- Tobacco companies spent more than $7 million during just the first six months of 2013, as much as they did during all of 2011 and 2012 combined, the New York Public Interest Research Group reported Wednesday.
Much of the money was spent lobbying local governments, including Buffalo.
Interestingly, one lobbying firm, Nixon Peabody, represented during the same period in 2011 and 2012 both Altria, makers of Marlboro and other brands, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, whose scientists for years have been producing major reports on cigarette smoking and cancer.
In all, 27 separate lobbying firms represented the tobacco industry in the past couple years, NYPIRG reported. Altria, at $4 million, was chief among the big spenders, not including $300,000 in campaign donations, the group said.
While Senate Republicans received the most in tobacco industry donations, NYPIRG noted that the New York Democratic Party, controlled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, ended its promise, enacted in 2000, to stop taking cigarette industry money.
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