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Chamber of Commerce Chief Is Powerful Ally of Big Tobacco

“A plaque on Donohue’s desk, well known to visitors, says “Show me the Money.”

There are different ways to interpret this message. It could refer to his predilection for chauffeured Lincolns and chartered flights, or his $5.5 million paycheck in 2013, more than 10 times what his predecessor earned in his last full year, 1996.

It is also a reminder that under his watch, the Chamber has become a fundraising juggernaut.

The Chamber is not required to disclose its donors, but from 2008 to 2012, the last two presidential election years, the number of donors who gave more than $1 million doubled, to 42, tax records show. Revenue at the Chamber has grown to $164 million in 2013, from $76 million a decade earlier. Including its various affiliates, the total rises to $260 million.

Philip Morris increased its contributions to the Chamber more than sevenfold to $180,000 in 1998, Donohue’s first full year on the job, from $25,000 annually in the mid-1990s. A Chamber official said that represented just 0.2 percent of the Chamber’s overall revenue at the time. Philip Morris Cos., known as Altria since 2003, does not disclose its current contributions, but it does have a seat on the Chamber’s board.”

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