Jun. 16 2000
Washington, DC — The 30 members of the House Appropriations Committee who this week voted to cut off funding for the Department of Justice's lawsuit against the tobacco companies have received $245,000 in campaign contributions from the tobacco industry since 1997, according to an analysis of campaign contribution reports by the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS.
These 30 members received an average of $8,167 in tobacco contributions since 1997, more than five times the average of $1,458 received by the 19 members who voted to support funding for the lawsuit. These 19 supporters of the lawsuit received a total of $27,700 in tobacco campaign contributions.
In addition, the tobacco companies have contributed soft money totaling $2,308,049 to the Republican Party and $187,500 to the Democratic Party so far this election cycle. All but three Republicans present for the Appropriations Committee vote voted to cut off funding for the Justice Department lawsuit, while all but three Democrats present voted to support the funding.
The Justice Department filed its lawsuit in 1999 to recover the billions of dollars federal health programs spend each year treating tobacco-caused diseases, including $20.8 billion under Medicare, $4 billion under veterans health care, and $1.6 billion under military health care.
Congressional opponents of the lawsuit are seeking to block it by attaching provisions to several appropriations bills that cut off funding for the lawsuit. The Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted 19 to 30 to defeat an amendment to delete the anti-lawsuit provision included in the Commerce-State-Justice Appropriations Bill. Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) has been one of the leaders of the effort to block the lawsuit.
The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue Monday when it considers the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, which also includes an anti-lawsuit provision. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Lane Evans (D-IL), James Hansen (R-UT) and Martin Meehan (D-MA) will offer an amendment to delete the provision.
"The Appropriations Committee majority voted to protect Big Tobacco instead of America's families and taxpayers, who continue to pay a high price in disease, death and health care costs because of tobacco," said William Corr, Executive Vice President of the CAMPAIGN. "On Monday, the full House will face this test. We urge all members to reject special protection for the tobacco companies and allow the Justice Department to continue its lawsuit on behalf of the American people."
The attached table shows how House Appropriations Committee members voted on the amendment this week and the amount of tobacco campaign contributions they have received since 1997.
|Voted for Amendment to Restore Funding for DOJ Lawsuit|
|John Edward Porter||R||IL||0|
|C.W. Bill Young||R||FL||$2,000|
|Voted against Amendment to Restore Funding for DOJ Lawsuit|
|F. Allen Boyd, Jr.||D||FL||$19,500|
|Jo Ann Emerson||R||MO||0|
|John Sununu||R||NH||returned $500|