Perverting Our Government

The people of the tobacco industry kill 5 million people every year. That is a dead victim every 6 seconds. It is not an accident. They learned in 1953 that their products kill. They got together and conspired to continue selling their products and lie to the public. Their main talking point these days is that they sell a legal product. We learned the truth about the people of the tobacco industry in 1998, so why do they still have a legal product?

1905 – The Indiana Legislature was voting on a bill that would ban cigarettes. Before the vote, Representative Ananias Baker dramatically held aloft a sealed envelope and announced that it had been given to him by a lobbyist from the Tobacco Trust, with instructions to vote against the bill. He opened it and five $20 bills dropped out. That confirmed a prediction by the state’s largest tobacco dealer, reported in an Indianapolis newspaper a few days earlier, that the Trust would “buy up the whole House” before it would permit passage of the bill.

1906 – Federal Food and Drugs Act prohibits sale of adulterated food and drugs, and mandates honest statement of contents on label. Nicotine is on the list of drugs, and Congressmen from tobacco states threaten to defeat the whole bill unless nicotine is removed. The Food and Drug Administration begins, and we would wait another century for the FDA to regulate nicotine, and then only after the most powerful tobacco company wanted it.

There is a measurable relationship between tobacco industry contributions and legislative behavior. In South Carolina from 1996 to 2006 the tobacco industry donated $680,541 to political parties and candidates for state office. Rated on a Policy Score scale from 0-10, with 0 being pro tobacco industry and 10 being pro tobacco control, for every $1000 received from the tobacco industry during the 2006 election cycle, a legislator’s Policy Score went down 1.5 points. No wonder the tobacco industry calls State Legislatures their ‘homecourt’.

A Bates No. signifies that the excerpts are from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library at the University of California San Francisco.

Bates No. TIOK0027659 – 1989 Tobacco Institute Strategy Speech

“Gentlemen. …tough tax battles are won in the trenches by seasoned lobbyists who know the right players. To that end, we brought in the Ohio State Attorney General’s law firm to help us out. The A.G. is running for Governor and is the state’s most powerful democrat, with an interest in attracting potential new friends.

“This new-found relationship gave the republicans concern….It was interesting to see senate democrats opposing a tax which the senate republicans favored.

“To help turn the republican leadership, we worked through the Republican National Committee and a local republican law firm to point out our new relationship with the A.G. In fact, the Ohio republican leadership quickly felt the heat and asked us to please get RNC off their backs. Ohio republicans had gotten our message loud and clear.

“We then had to bring in another lobbyist who is very tight with the Speaker. The result of all this maneuvering is that we will – I believe – prove our own experts wrong and have no tax increase in Ohio this year.

In this case, our hardball lobbying would not have worked without our grassroots and P.R. programs to give cover to our new-found allies in the Legislature”


“We’ll also be ready next year in Colorado. Although it’s 18 months away, our plans to defeat a potential 25-cent tax initiative are in the works.

“Our first task in Colorado is to attempt to stop the initiative from qualifying for the ballot, just as we did earlier this year.”


“We also face some serious LOCAL challenges in states like Alabama, Virginia and Missouri, and in major cities like Chicago….Frankly, the job gets tougher as we are spread thinner over more and more governing bodies.

“TI’s plans are being drafted to remedy the local tax problem by pre-empting local taxing authority where it makes sense. We’ve got to take the battle back to our HOMECOURT – the state capitols.”


“The challenge, of course, is to get people to listen to our side of the story. Through a variety of third-party experts – which TI has identified, trained and now manages – and resources, we are making significant headway…headway with three primary audiences.

  1. The general public, in which I include lawmakers and other key decision makers
  2. The media, via numerous TI-backed experts who get the word out.
  3. And now we have the ability to get to a group with which we’ve had extreme difficulty in penetrating: the academic scientific community.”


“1988 afforded the industry the opportunity to bandage our Achilles heel of local restrictions in Pennsylvania…we pushed through a bill that pre-empts local restrictions (except in Pittsburgh) and tied it to a weak restriction measure. Our plan succeeded there because the industry worked as a team, with TI callings the plays.”


“In Oklahoma, for example, our lobbyist steered passage of legislation to require smoking areas in state agencies…current law only says such areas are allowed.”


“The same is true on our work to pass indoor air quality bills that minimize attention to smoking restrictions. In 10 states we are working to put laws on the books that address the IAQ issue. The Washington state governor signed such a bill…a measure that we wrote.

“We had our ETS and IAQ experts on media tours to discuss the situation. We had one-on-one meetings between our scientific experts and key members of the leadership. We’ve had our IAQ experts inspect state buildings.

“We also brought in a credible labor lobbyist who got the unions and their allies in the legislature hot on the issue and off of tobacco. We are hopeful that similar efforts in places like Massachusetts, Oregon and Illinois will also come to fruition”

Bates No. 2072064006

From Greg Little, January 30, 2000. “…I think most people assumed the DOJ suit would turn into a constant barrage of attacks by the White House, joined by the Antis and supported by a well-funded Justice Department suit. Instead, since the formation of the PM [Philip Morris] DOJ Team, Congress refused to fund the suit, the White House has been noticeably silent, and the Antis have had to turn their attention elsewhere. You should consider it a tremendous accomplishment that, since the filing of the suit, the only comment from the DOJ has been “we will do our talking in court.” I suspect that view has little to do with professionalism and everything to do with recognizing that this suit is not politically popular. You deserve great credit for creating that atmosphere, and we in litigation greatly appreciate it….”

The DOJ lawsuit was brought when Bill Clinton was President. During the 2000 campaign George W. Bush railed against the lawsuit. When he won the election, it was widely thought he would drop the suit, but it was going well for tobacco, so it was allowed to continue.

As the trial was drawing to a close in 2005, and it began to look as though the government might win, three political appointees, Robert D. McCallum, Peter Keisler and Dan Meron began to direct the trial behind the scenes. The lead attorney for the Justice Department, Sharon Eubanks, was ordered to drop certain recommendations, she was ordered to have key witnesses change their testimony. She was ordered to reduce the proposed penalty from $130 billion to $10 billion, and she was ordered to read verbatim a closing argument written by McCallum, Keisler and Meron.

On August 17, 2006 the tobacco companies were convicted under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), of a 50 year ongoing conspiracy to defraud and confuse the public about the dangers of smoking, the addictive nature of nicotine, their manipulation of nicotine levels, the dangers of ETS, and marketing to children.

Judge Gladys Kessler announced that she could impose no financial penalty on the tobacco companies at all. The Industry had gotten a preemptive ruling by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals before they were convicted, stating that remedies should be forward looking instead of punishing past misconduct.

This is the first guilty verdict in history that was not allowed to punish past misconduct. These are just a few examples of tobacco money perverting every branch of government.