Tomorrow, conservative groups Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Tax Reform are organizing a rally at the Georgia State Capitol to protest the state’s upcoming budget. The protest, like many recent anti-tax protests, is cloaked in an ideological veneer of fiscal conservatism and limited government. The invitation presents the rally, where Grover Norquist is speaking, as an opportunity to “cut spending and encourage economic growth.” But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway notes that the fine print at the bottom of the invitation e-mail says the list serv was paid for “by Altria Clint Services on behalf of Philip Morris USA”:
Notably, part of the new budget is a proposal to levy a dollar-a-pack cigarette tax. Both groups involved in the protest have a long history of astroturfing for corporations to build popular support for their policies. AFP is led by Tim Phillips, a longtime astroturf lobbyist who has used evangelical and conservative groups to lobby on behalf of corporations like Enron and the gambling industry. AFP was founded and continues to be funded by oil billionaire David Koch, who has aggressively used his group to oppose clean energy reforms that might cut into his business.