California - group that includes Reynolds Tobacco and Altria providing funding to try and defeat candidate for attorney general..

October 27, 2010 - California's Democratic attorney general candidate Kamala Harris announced on Monday, October 25th her campaign is taking legal action against an out-of-state Republican fundraising group.

Harris' campaign said in a statement that a "shadowy out-of-state group calling itself 'The Republican State Leadership Association'" began running a vicious ad attacking the San Francisco district attorney in her race against Republican Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley on Sunday, October 24th.

Her campaign alleges the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee is pumping more than $1 million in funds from tobacco, oil, insurance and pharmaceutical companies into television attack ads "in an attempt to buy the Attorney General's Office in California."

The Republican committee is headed up by Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee under President George W. Bush. Karl Rove, the chief political strategist in the George W. Bush White House, also is reportedly affiliated with the organization. The group is backed by big business, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Reynolds Tobacco; Altria, the world's largest cigarette maker; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has donated about $7.2 million over six years, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Dan Morain, senior editor of the Bee, wrote, "The point it makes is clear: The person who holds the job of California attorney general matters, not just to Californians."

Harris' campaign officials, including campaign counsel James Sutton, held a news conference on Monday, October 25th to discuss who exactly they believe is behind the "shadow group," as they're calling it, and to announce that they are taking action against the group.

Altria helping smokers decide who to vote for: Altria - U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. - encouraging tobacco users to vote their way..; Altria believes outcome of U.S. November 2, 2010 election will benefit big tobacco...

Reference: Harris announces legal action against Republican group by JESSICA M. KARMASEK,, 10/25/2010.