Democratic Convention Shuns Tobacco
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The host committee for the Democratic National Convention is not accepting tobacco industry funds for the $35 million meeting, an official said Wednesday.
The policy is a first for any host of a political convention and has been in place since fund raising began 15 months ago, said Noelia Rodriguez, chief operating officer of LA Convention 2000, the nonpartisan group hosting the Aug. 14-17 event at the Staples Center.
``Los Angeles is a healthy city and we focus on the well-being of our community,'' she said. ``We're going to show that we are on the cutting edge of new policies and new decisions.''
The decision follows a policy of Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites), the expected Democratic presidential nominee, not to take campaign funds from tobacco interests. Los Angeles also is the country's largest smoke-free city, having barred smoking in restaurants, bars and enclosed public places.
The host committee also is rejecting money from gun makers and their lobbyists, foreign companies without U.S. subsidiaries or Los Angeles-area operations, and adult entertainment.
Rodriguez declined comment when asked about one tobacco maker, Philip Morris, being among supporters of the host committee for the Republican convention July 31-Aug. 3 in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia 2000 co-chairman David Cohen said Wednesday that the committee did not consider refusing tobacco company donations. He declined to comment on a Los Angeles Times report that Philip Morris Cos. Inc. had donated $250,000, and said it ``is hardly just a tobacco company.'' Philip Morris subsidiaries include Kraft Foods and Miller Brewing.