Baptist preacher and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee denies knowing about a financial boost he received from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company back in 1994, when RJR donated $40,000 to a secretive organization called Action America. The front group, set up by paid RJR lobbyists J.J. Vigneault and Greg Graves, worked to foster grassroots opposition to a national health care plan then being advanced by the Clinton Administration. RJR funded Huckabee to fly around the country persuading other evangelicals to oppose the health care plan proposed by Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Clintons' plan was to be funded through an additional federal excise tax on cigarettes, which explains cigarette company opposition. Mr. Huckabee, now a Presidential hopeful who is running on morals and ethics, asserts that he was unaware of the donation, but Vigneault claims Huckabee was present at the meeting with the RJR representative where the idea for Action America was hatched. Vigneault even recalls that Huckabee made the rep step outside to smoke.
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