Tobacco Industry Gave More Than $4.3 Million in Political Contributions To Date in 2001-2002 Election Cycle
Washington, DC - The tobacco industry contributed more than $4.3 million in soft money and political action committee (PAC) contributions to federal candidates, political parties and political committees so far this election cycle - from January 1, 2001,
The report also details how political contributions continue to correlate with lawmakers support of legislation supported by Philip Morris and opposed by the public health community that would provide for weak regulation of tobacco products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The report details the following tobacco industry contributions so far in the 2001-2002 election cycle:
Soft money and PAC contributions to federal candidates, political parties and political committees totaled $4,311,473 since January 1, 2001.
Tobacco companies, along with tobacco company executives and employees, donated more than $2.6 million in soft money to the Democratic and Republican parties so far this cycle. Nearly 50 percent of these soft money donations came from Philip Morris.
Tobacco company PACs donated over $1.1 million directly to federal candidates, with 77 percent ($864,139) of the total donations going to Republican candidates.
Tobacco PACs have donated more than $560,000 to non-candidate committees, including Democratic and Republican party committees and leadership PACs established by individual members of Congress.
The tobacco industry has contributed more than $20 million since 1997, including $13.2 million in soft money and $7.1 million in PAC contributions. Since 1999, the four largest cigarette companies have spent more than $44 million on lobbying the U.S. Congress.
â€œThe tobacco companies are continuing their decades-long effort to use political muscle to avoid effective public policies that protect the public health,â€ said Matthew L. Myers, President of the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. â€œTodayâ€™s report tells us why there has been no action on tobacco this election cycle, despite the fact that thousands of kids start smoking every day and 440,000 Americans die every year from tobacco use.â€
Demonstrating how the tobacco industryâ€™s contributions are used to thwart public health policy, the report details contributions to the sponsors and cosponsors of ineffective FDA legislation supported by Philip Morris.
The 17 House members who are sponsoring the Philip Morris-backed bill, H.R 2180, have received, on average, more than 19 times as much money from the tobacco industry as the 117 sponsors of a public health community-supported FDA bill, H.R.1097 ($10,357 vs. $537).
"It's no accident that this critical public health issue â€“ protecting children from a fatal illness - is a low priority in Congress. The tobacco industry's $4.3 million in contributions protects their billions in profits at a major cost to public health, and underlines the need for a ban on unlimited corporate political contributions," said Scott Harshbarger, president of Common Cause. "With passage of McCain-Feingold, we hope this issue can be resolved on the merits, in favor of America's children."