Reynolds American

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Reynolds American is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, American Snuff Co., LLC, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc. and Niconovum AB.[1] R.J. Reynolds Tobacco produces Camel and Winston brand cigarettes.

In 1998, RJ Reynolds Tobacco/Nabisco was part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement with the Attorneys-Generals of 46 US states. It and the other cigarette companies agreed to pay smoking-related health care costs and restrict advertising in return for protection against private lawsuits.

Then on July 30, 2004, R.J. Reynolds merged with the U.S. operations of British American Tobacco (operating under the name of Brown & Williamson)., and created a new parent holding company, Reynolds American Inc. Then on July 15, 2014, it bought the Lorillard Tobacco Company for $27.4 billion. The deal also included the sale of the Kool, Winston, Salem, and blu brands to Imperial Tobacco for $7.1 billion.

Contributions to Politically Active Nonprofits and Other Organizations

Reynolds American has given contributions to a number of 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, two of the most active and secretive political nonprofits operating in the U.S. today. Americans for Prosperity spent over $33 million in attack ads directly targeting President Obama in the 2012 campaign. Americans for Tax Reform reported nearly $16 million in expenditures in 2012.[2]

Reynolds American only publicly disclosed these contributions due to an anonymous activist shareholder. Without such rare individuals, most corporations' bankrolling otherwise remains secret. “The shareholder specifically requested that we disclose information about 501(c)(4)s, and in the interests of greater transparency, we agreed,” Reynolds American spokeswoman Jane Seccombe said.[3]

2015 Recipients

According to the Center for Public Integrity, Reynolds American made aggregate annual contributions exceeding $50,000 to the following groups. The amount reported is the non-deductible portion of the aggregate annual contributions.[4][5]

  • Americans for Tax Reform: $7,750
  • California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CA): $9,965
  • California Partnership for Reform, Inc. (NC): $15,000
  • Convenience Distributors Association: $9,750
  • Michigan Distributors & Vendors Association (MI): $22,000
  • National Association of Tobacco Outlets: $11,625
  • National Association of Convenience Stores: $43,080
  • North Carolina Chamber of Commerce (NC): $66,395
  • Renew NC Foundation Inc. (NC): $25,000

Reynolds American made the following contributions to the following organizations, which reported spending 75 percent or more of aggregate contributions for non-deductible purposes:[4]

  • Americans for Prosperity: $4,000
  • Association for Washington Business (WA): $550
  • Center for Regulatory Effectiveness: $240,000
  • Farm Coalition (MI): $500
  • Fairness West Virginia: $5,000
  • Food Industry Alliance of New York State Inc. (NY): $9,000
  • GOPAC: $195,000
  • Grand Lake Administrative Account (MI): $2,000
  • Grow Oakland (MI): $1,000
  • Hildenbrand Community Fund: $500
  • Huron Area Fund: $500
  • Keeping Michigan Strong: $1,000
  • Log Cabin Republicans: $25,000
  • Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (MI): $1,000
  • Michigan Future Fund (MI): $2,000
  • Michigan Made Great Fund: $7,500
  • Mid Michigan Future Fund (MI): $2,500
  • National Newspaper Publishers Association: $250,0000
  • New England Convenience Store Association: $65,000
  • New Jersey Civil Justice Institute (NJ): $25,000
  • New England Service Station and Auto Repair Assoc.: $31,500
  • Reinvent Michigan Fund (MI): $2,000
  • Right Turn Project (MI): $1,000
  • Serving Michigan Fund (MI): $2,500
  • State Government Affairs Council: $3,000
  • Washington Vape Association (WA): $10,000
  • Wisconsin Association of Distributors (WI): $21,000

2012 Recipients

In May 2013, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Reynolds American gave $175,000 to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and $50,000 to the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity in 2012.[6]

CPI reported Reynolds American’s other contributions in 2012 to 501(c)(4) groups included $100,000 to About the Partnership for Ohio’s Future, an organization run by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce that spent several million dollars in a failed 2012 ballot initiative campaign to uphold a law limiting public workers’ collective bargaining rights. It also gave $12,500 to the National Taxpayers Union, a 501(c)(4) group that backed Republican candidates last year with modest expenditures.

Access Reynolds American's corporate rap sheet compiled and written by Good Jobs First here.

Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

Reynolds American is Private Enterprise Board member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, was a "President" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference, which in 2010, equated to $100,000, and among other things, sponsor of the "Cigar Reception"[7] and the "Leadership Dinner" speech of Arthur C. Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute at the 2011 ALEC Annual Conference.[8]

A list of ALEC corporations can be found here.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Sourcewatch resources

External resources


  1. Reynolds American Reynolds American Corporate home page, accessed July 5, 2011
  2. Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, Americans For Tax Reform, organizational report, accessed May 31, 2013
  3. Dave Levinthal, Tobacco giant funded conservative nonprofits, The Center for Public Integrity, May 30, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 Reynolds American, 2015 Corporate Contributions to 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) Organizations, corporate filing, accessed March 2016.
  5. Dave Levinthal, "Tobacco giant gave $250,000 to group representing black-owned newspapers," Center for Public Integrity, March 17, 2016.
  6. Dave Levinthal, Tobacco giant funded conservative nonprofits, The Center for Public Integrity, May 30, 2013
  7. Eric Carlson, Journalist Kicked out of ALEC Conference, Threatened With Arrest,, August 5, 2011
  8. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Solutions for the States," 38th Annual Meeting agenda, on file with CMD, August 3-6, 2011