This website helps track campaign contributions by special interest groups to state lawmakersThe site is Money in State Politics. And on it you can track the campaign contributions of any state lawmaker.
For instance Minnesota Representatives Latz and Meslow both introduced the smoking ban legislation into the House last session. Here, you can see that Rep. Meslow received $250 in 2004 from the American Medical Association (AMA). While the same contribution from the AMA to Rep. Latz is available here. In 2002 the MN. lawmaker who last session introduced the propsed smoking ban in the Senate, Scott Dibble received $500 from the AMA.
And here you'll find that Nicoderm interests at RWJF donated $10,896,463.00 to the AMA. The grant states:
RWJF supported the national program office at the American Medical Association with an addition $10 million in RWJF grants.....
Perhaps it is just coincidence, and perhaps many others feel this is an accepted way of doing business in our State capitol......however, when new air quality testing proves secondhand smoke levels do not rise to public health hazard levels necessitating government intervention, and yet certain politicians continue to push their special interest agenda......then the undue influence by those special interests ought to be brought to the public's attention.
If nothing else, it's a fun way to track the campaign contributions to state candidates......Now I'm off to find contribution sites to local county and city lawmakers, feel free to drop me a line if you know of any.