|The beverage industry throws millions of dollars a year to nonprofit and educational organizations, particularly ones that serve blacks and Hispanics, The New York Times reports.
Is it just a coincidence, then, that Hispanic and African-American civil rights groups have opposed new laws that restrict soda consumption, such as the recently defeated regulation in New York City limiting serving sizes?
That's the question posed Tuesday by The Times and the advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and there's no clear answer.
The soda industry has donated to such organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the National Hispanic Medical Association, The Times reports.
The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation joined the industry in opposing New York's ban, saying that corner markets and other small neighborhood stores were unfairly targeted by the legislation.
The suggestion is clear: Is the soda industry buying off its critics, one donation at a time?
All the parties involved say no. But the Center for Science in the Public Interest says the ties look suspiciously familiar, and are reminiscent of the way the tobacco industry donated to minority groups and then enlisted their help in the fight against smoking restrictions.