Jul. 18 2000
Washington, DC — While we are disappointed that the Senate Appropriations Committee defeated the Hollings Amendment, the 14-14 tie vote is a strong signal that the full Senate, like the full House, will choose to fund the Department of Justice lawsuit against the tobacco companies. It is highly disconcerting that just days after a Florida jury found the tobacco industry guilty of unprecedented deceit and wrongdoing, 14 members of the committee chose to protect the tobacco companies rather than the public health.
This vote is a testament to the continuing influence of the tobacco industry's campaign contributions. The 14 senators who voted to protect Big Tobacco have received $317,787 since 1993, an average of $22,699 per Senator. That total is more than four times the $73,666 received by the 14 senators who voted to fund the lawsuit. In addition, the tobacco companies have contributed soft money totaling $2.2 million to the Republican Party and $303,000 to the Democratic Party so far in this election cycle. All but one of the committee's 15 Republicans voted to protect Big Tobacco.
Soon the full Senate will vote on this issue. We urge all Senators to reject special protection for the tobacco companies. America's families deserve their day in court to stop the tobacco industry's wrongdoing and recover billions of taxpayers' dollars spent to treat tobacco-caused disease.