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The feds pay a leftist group to smear conservatives

| Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Taxpayer dollars never should have funded an anti-conservative liberal screed masquerading as a new study about curbing smoking.

Two National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants underwrote the study by University of California San Francisco researchers. It claims the tea party “was actually created in the 1990s by conservative groups fighting anti-tobacco policies with money ... received from tobacco companies,” The Washington Free Beacon reports.

This supposedly nicotine-stained lineage begins with Citizens for a Sound Economy — a free-market group that received $5.3 million from tobacco companies before its 2004 dissolution begat FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. Those groups predate the tea-party movement with which they've since become associated. And the study doesn't claim that the tobacco industry has continued to fund them.

Yet the study — which cites the George Soros-funded Center for Media and Democracy among its sources — paints legitimate personal-liberty concerns about restrictions on smoking as “Astroturf”-style fronts for Big Tobacco. And that betrays the study's liberal bias and political motivation.

Saying it “played no role” in the study's topic, research or writing, the NCI — at best — was asleep at the switch it should have thrown to short-circuit this publicly subsidized propaganda piece. This study's taxpayer dollars must be the last that the NCI spends to advance leftists' agenda, not actual medical research.

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