May. 13 1997
Washington, DC - Today’s Common Cause report on political campaign contributions by the tobacco industry is another disturbing indicator of the lengths to which Big Tobacco will go in order to hook the next generation of smokers. The record level of spending by the tobacco industry demonstrates an undeniable fact: the more the tobacco companies feel the heat of public opinion, the more money they pour into the political process to buy their way out of trouble. From their standpoint, nearly ten million dollars in campaign contributions is a small price to pay when $200 million in profits from tobacco sales to minors are on the line. The tobacco industry continues to do whatever is necessary to extract political favors in Washington. But the winds of change are blowing. The industry is under assault from an unprecedented number of directions: twenty-eight state attorneys general have filed suit against the tobacco companies; tobacco executives are under investigation by the Department of Justice; the industry faces private litigation from a number of sources; tobacco control activism is increasingly prevalent and increasingly successful; and, most importantly, the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate tobacco products has been upheld in federal court. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS asks all lawmakers and political parties to pledge not to accept political contributions from tobacco companies. And we applaud the work of Common Cause and other organizations that are working to reform the way political campaigns are financed and to reduce the influence of tobacco companies on the U.S. political process. We will continue to work with these organizations to end the unprincipled behavior, lies and deceptions of the tobacco industry.