Citizens Against Government Waste: "Watchdog" For Sale

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Citizens Against Government Waste made a name for itself by exposing government waste. But it has quietly made a lot of its money by lobbying.

Ron Campbell, a lobbyist from SPS Consultants, successfully ran Mexican avocado growers campaign in 2004 to expand access to the U.S. market. To overcome opposition from Californian avocado growers Campbell gave Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) $100,000 to generate a 'grassroots' lobbying campaign to support his clients.

"California has 6,000 growers. We went to CAGW and said, "We need at least 6,000 or 7,000 comments to counter that," Campbell told the St. Petersburg Times. It is just one of a number of campaigns that CAGW has run to benefit its donors. Bill Adair reports that CAGW took at least $245,000 from tobacco companies "while urging the federal government not to regulate tobacco and to drop a lawsuit against the industry". CAGW was also funded by Diageo North America, "a major liquor company, and wrote letters to Congress opposing government regulation of flavored malt beverages, which Diageo makes."

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