Santorum: Big Beer's Best Friend

Beer lobby poured money into his Senate campaign coffers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 21, 2012 2:35 PM CST

(Newser) – Rick Santorum is a tireless crusader for Christian values, the traditional family, and… beer? Yep, during his Senate career, Santorum was the beer industry's main man, in part because some major breweries are located in Pennsylvania. From 1995 to 2006, brewers, beer executives, and wholesalers pumped $80,000 into Santorum's campaign coffers, according to Mother Jones, and Santorum expressed his gratitude by pushing to slice the beer excise tax in half four separate times.

Often, Santorum would push for this using language virtually identical to that found in beer industry press releases. The beer tax was originally introduced in 1951, at $9 a barrel, and was bumped up to $18 a barrel in 1991. The industry has been trying diligently to get that change reversed, pumping $79 million into lobbying from 2001 to 2006. But economists point out that the tax isn't adjusted for inflation, so even at $18, it's 75% lower than it was in 1951.

Rick Santorum speaks in Rochester, Minn, Feb. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
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