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ClineWatch: Highlights from Ben Cline’s Third Quarter Campaign Finance Report

ben cline
Ben Cline. Photo courtesy Ben Cline congressional campaign.

Some interesting highlights from Congressman Ben Cline’s Third Quarter Campaign Finance Report, including the contributions his campaign received from corporate and political PACs between July 1 and September 30, 2022:

Smith & Wesson Brands: $1,000

National Rifle Association: $1,000

Cline’s position on “gun rights” is so extreme (more extreme than most gun owners) that when he was in the House of Delegates, he bragged about his endorsement by the Virginia Citizens Defense League— which believes the National Rifle Association is too soft.

He consistently votes NO on even the most modest and common-sense gun regulations.

As a member of the General Assembly, he actually opposed issuing a new Virginia license plate with the message: “Stop Gun Violence.”

Abbott Laboratories: $1,000

Abbott is one of the nation’s biggest prescription drug manufacturers, with net earnings of more than $7 billion in 2021.

Cline voted NO on a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and offer new benefits for seniors. The bill was strongly opposed by Abbott and other Big Pharma companies. He has also voted NO on bills to make generic drugs cheaper and capping monthly insulin costs at $35 for millions of diabetic Americans.

Altria Group: $2,500

All you need to know about Altria is that this appears on the home page of its website:


Although Altria (formerly Philip Morris) claims to be “moving beyond smoking,” it is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco products, from which it earns 88 percent of its revenue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking kills more than 480,000 American annually. But Cline has no qualms about accepting this blood money.

The Walt Disney Company: $1,000

While many Republicans bash Disney for being excessively “woke,” Cline is pleased to accept the company’s largesse. Perhaps Disney isn’t as culturally enlightened as some would like to believe.

Toyota Motor North America: $1,000

This one is fascinating and mysterious.

Before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Cline had been a regular recipient of donations from Toyota.

After the insurrection, and after Cline and 146 other Congressional Republicans voted against certifying all of the Presidential election results, Toyota said it was reviewing its ts campaign contribution policies: “Given the recent events and the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria.”

The review concluded with a decision by Toyota to resume contributions to some of the members of Congress who opposed certification.

Toyota Motor Corp., which had been reviewing its political contributions since January, said it “supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.”

“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” the Japanese automaker said in a statement. “However, we have decided against giving to some members who — through their statements and actions — undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”

For whatever reason, Toyota decided that Cline cleared that bar and so contributed $1,000 to his campaign in March 2021.

But that wasn’t the end of it. In July 2021 Toyota announced it had reversed its policy and “we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election.”

That statement remains on Toyota’s website. I have found no reports that the company changed its corporate mind since then.

So what’s with the $1,000 that Toyota gave to Cline on September 14, 2022?

Koch Industries: $5,000

No surprise.

Save America: $5,000

This is Donald Trump’s personal PAC. So of course.

Gene Zitver is the author of ClineWatch.



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