Tobacco lobby hosts Cornyn fund-raiser in Washington
Texas Attorney General John Cornyn has scheduled a political fund-raiser in Washington hosted by tobacco industry lobbyists at the same time that he's working to reduce the fees paid to Texas lawyers in a lawsuit against tobacco companies.
The combination is troubling, government watchdog groups say.
"These are very disturbing patterns when the state's top lawyer is taking money from businesses with business before the state," said Andrew Wheat, research director of Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan organization that tracks money in Texas politics.
An invitation for Cornyn's June 14 political "fund raising reception" at a Washington restaurant lists a 14-member host committee led by Haley Barbour, a former Republican Party official who has earned large lobbying fees from the tobacco industry.
At the same time, Cornyn is vigorously resisting paying legal fees resulting from the state's $17.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry. The Republican attorney general says those fees, to be paid by tobacco companies, are excessive.