Nowhere is the Chamber’s campaign to defeat anti-business candidates better exemplified than in the state of Mississippi. Its strategy — take down plaintiff attorneys who fund Democratic campaigns with tobacco litigation settlement awards.
In Mississippi, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce led this war against Judge Oliver Diaz and attorney Paul Minor.
Caught in the Crossfire
Republican Judge Oliver Diaz had his first dealings with the U.S. Chamber in 2000 shortly after Democrat Governor Ronnie Musgrove appointed him to fill an unexpired term on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Upon completion of the term, Diaz was eligible for election for the seat. The vacancy occurred in March so immediately after his appointment, Diaz began running for the November election. Diaz says in late October 2000, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began running vicious television ads against him saying he favored “drug dealers and baby killers” and that he should not be elected to the position. Diaz recalls his team had to scramble to combat the campaign.