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About a decade ago, the folks at the Center for Media and Democracy decided to delve into front groups that parade as citizen initiatives. Their Source Watch is one great resource. Just look at “tort reform” Their documents show the early reach of Tobacco Giant Philip Morris in the creation of the Institute for Legal Reform, today the premier organization that has helped further the so-called tort-reform movement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce created the Institute and so far has spent about $200 million convincing average citizens that “greedy trial lawyers” are ruining their lives, their savings and their doctor’s lives. They have craftily used phony front groups.

But Source Watch tells us that central to the early Philip Morris’ efforts was secrecy. Internal documents show that in order to be effective, media activities promoting tort reform, “must not be linked to the tobacco industry.” And on page 6 of this internal memo, that trial lawyers would be targeted and woven into all media efforts. CMD is a non-profit that not only could use your attention, but also your support. I believe they are a great and much needed resource in these shady times.

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