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    WASHINGTON (AP) — As federal officials finalize a long-awaited plan to ban menthol cigarettes, dozens of interest groups have met with White House staffers to try to influence the process, which has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives while wiping out billions in tobacco sales. Biden administration officials have heard from tobacco lobbyists, anti-smoking advocates, civil rights groups, small business owners and conservative think tanks. The lobbying push underscores the far-reaching impacts of banning menthol, which accounts for over one-third of the U.S. cigarette market. The White House concluded its review of the Food and Drug Administration’s proposal Thursday after nearly 40 virtual meetings with outside groups, according to a government website. The FDA has pledged to lay out a detailed proposal for phasing out the flavor by month’s end, meaning an official announcement could come next week. Meeting materials posted online show nearly all the groups opposing the ban have financial ties to tobacco companies, including businesses that sell cigarettes and nonprofit groups that receive charitable contributions. Menthol is the only cigarette flavor that wasn’t banned...
    Apple, numerous retail organizations, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied against a bill that would impose restrictions on imports produced by forced Uyghur labor in China, claiming that the bill would be ineffective in combating human rights abuses, or that other avenues should be taken instead. Apple paid Fierce Government Relations, a Washington, D.C. firm, $90,000 to lobby the House and Senate on multiple pieces of legislation, including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, according to Fierce’s lobbying disclosure filing, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in April. (RELATED: Apple, Retail Groups Continue Lobbying Congress On Chinese Slave Labor Bill) Apple, the National Retail Federation, Consumer Technology Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Apparel & Footwear Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce also lobbied on the Uyghur Act, according to disclosures the trade organizations. The Uyghur Act, which was introduced by Democratic Rep. James McGovern in March 2020 and passed the House in September, would prevent goods produced in Xinjiang, China from entering the U.S. unless it border officials determine the goods weren’t manufactured by slave labor. This photo...
                      by Chuck Ross  Apple and several retail trade groups continued lobbying policymakers in the first quarter of this year on a bill to prohibit American firms from using Chinese forced labor, according to disclosures filed with Congress this week. Apple paid Fierce Government Relations, a Washington, D.C. firm, $90,000 to lobby the House and Senate on multiple pieces of legislation, including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, according to Fierce’s lobbying disclosure filing. The tech giant also paid $90,000 to Invariant LLC, another Beltway-based firm, to work on several bills and to monitor “legislative action on workforce and supply chains in China.” The National Retail Federation, Consumer Technology Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Apparel & Footwear Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce also lobbied on the Uyghur Act, according to disclosures the trade organizations filed this week. Two other companies, JinkoSolar, a Chinese-owned solar company, and VF Corporation, which owns apparel brands like North Face and Dickies, spent $200,000 each on lobbying, including on the Uyghur bill. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the legislation last year to prevent American companies from...
    Lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress this week show that Apple and several retail trade groups continue lobbying on a bill that would crack down on forced labor in China. Apple paid two firms to lobby policymakers on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.  The Washington Post has previously reported that one of Apple’s lobbyists sought to soften language on the bill.  Apple and several retail trade groups continued lobbying policymakers in the first quarter of this year on a bill to prohibit American firms from using Chinese forced labor, according to disclosures filed with Congress this week. Apple paid Fierce Government Relations, a Washington, D.C. firm, $90,000 to lobby the House and Senate on multiple pieces of legislation, including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, according to Fierce’s lobbying disclosure filing. The tech giant also paid $90,000 to Invariant LLC, another Beltway-based firm, to work on several bills and to monitor “legislative action on workforce and supply chains in China.” The National Retail Federation, Consumer Technology Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Apparel & Footwear Association...
    (CNN)New roadside billboards in Atlanta are urging Coca-Cola, Home Depot and other Georgia-based corporations to oppose voting restrictions proposed by Republican state lawmakers.Voting rights groups in the state are launching a campaign Monday calling upon corporations to speak out publicly against legislation that they argue would suppress access to voting, especially among of people of color, who tend to support Democratic candidates."Hey Coca-Cola! The Freedom to vote tastes good to all Georgians," one of the billboards reads. "Join us: STAND UP for Georgia."The billboards also are targeting other corporations based in the state, including Home Depot, Delta Air Lines and insurance provider Aflac. This message is aimed at Home Depot, which is also based in Atlanta.Last week, Republicans advanced a sweeping bill in the state Senate that would repeal no-excuse absentee voting for many Georgians -- a method 1.3 million of the state's residents used to cast ballots in last November's election. Read MoreThe measure would establish new ID rules requiring Georgians to submit an approved form of identification both when requesting absentee ballots and returning the ballots. Republican lawmakers...
    (CNN)Just days after Maryland became the first state in the country to impose a tax on digital advertising targeting Big Tech, lobbying groups representing companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google are trying to stop it.In a lawsuit filed Thursday, the groups allege that the state law is "deeply flawed" as well as "unlawful" and "unconstitutional." They also allege that it serves to discriminate against interstate commerce and interferes with foreign affairs, citing the federal government's prior opposition to countries imposing taxes on US digital platforms.The lawsuit, filed in a Maryland federal district court, is being brought by several lobbying groups including the US Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association, the latter of which was founded by Google, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook. The Washington Post was first to report the lawsuit."The digital ad tax is illegal and should be struck down," said an attorney for the plaintiffs, Stephen Kranz of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, in a statement to CNN Business. "If Maryland wants to tax advertising there is a legal way to do so -- they did not even attempt...
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an industry group backed by Amazon, Facebook and Google have sued Maryland over new its new online advertising tax aimed at funding education. The legal complaint by the groups, including the Internet Association, was filed in a federal district court in Maryland after the state legislature passed the first-in-the-nation tax last week, overriding a veto by the governor. They argue that the new tax on online ad revenue is unconstitutional and illegal under a federal internet tax moratorium. As cash-starved states suffer declining tax revenues in the pandemic, many have begun to eye big tech as a potential source of revenue, after online companies boomed in the past year.  Maryland's statehouse is seen in a file photo. An industry group backed by Amazon, Facebook and Google has sued Maryland over new its new online advertising tax Amazon was among the internet giants opposed to the new tax. States have begun to eye big tech as a potential source of revenue in the pandemic RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next #DeleteFacebook!...
    SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council has voted to require certain groups that spend money to build public pressure on city politicians to register and disclose their finances. The City Council approved an ordinance this week establishing rules meant to shed light on such activities, and the rules are set to take effect in about six months, The Seattle Times reported. The vote was 8-1 with Councilmember Kshama Sawant opposed. She describing the rules as too onerous for grassroots groups and warning they could discourage political organizing by ordinary people. Council President M. Lorena González and other backers said the changes are needed because sophisticated groups have been able to spend on public politicking without disclosure requirements. The new rules aren’t intended to hamstring grassroots organizers, the council members said, carving out an exemption for communications within membership groups. “This has long been a gray area without any transparency,” González said. Public lobbying efforts have emerged in recent years, using social media to rally people around their views and using tactics such as email blitzes to influence decisions at...
    WASHINGTON - Well-funded, secretive political groups are getting into the high-stakes battle over filling a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Known as “dark money” groups because they aren’t required by law to disclose the names of their donors, these influential organizations are pumping millions of dollars into advertising campaigns to influence voter perceptions of what is expected to be one of the most contentious confirmation hearings in modern American history. Just hours after Ginsburg, the 87-year-old liberal icon, died of cancer last Friday, Demand Justice, a progressive dark money group with ties to the Democratic Party, said it would spend $10 million to challenge President Donald Trump’s push to quickly replace Ginsburg with a conservative jurist. The group’s conservative counterpart, Judicial Crisis Network, quickly responded by launching a $2.2 million advertising campaign to support Trump’s push, with the goal of eventually matching or exceeding spending by Demand Justice. Judicial Crisis Network previously pledged to spend $20 million to help confirm Trump’s first two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh,...
    It is one of the most powerful players in one of the most hotly-debated issues in the US - gun control - but what exactly is the NRA? Here's a quick guide.What is the NRA?NRA stands for National Rifle Association. The group was founded in 1871 by two US Civil War veterans as a recreational group designed to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis". The NRA's path into political lobbying began in 1934 when it started mailing members with information about upcoming firearms bills. The association supported two major gun control acts, the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), but became more politically active following the passage of the GCA in the 1970s. In 1975, it began attempting to influence policy directly via a newly formed lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. In 1977 it formed its own Political Action Committee (PAC), to channel funds to legislators. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Wayne LaPierre has been an aggressive defender of the NRA The NRA is now among...
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