Sep. 5 2001
Washington, DC — In testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Stuart Schiffer, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, said that the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against the tobacco industry will be fully funded at a level of $44 million and fully staffed. He also expressed confidence in the strength of the government's case.
Given the current Justice Department's history of undermining its own case, the key is whether today's pledge translates into aggressive pursuit of the lawsuit with the goal of bringing about fundamental change in tobacco industry practices, such as marketing to kids. This testimony begins to repair the damage done to the case earlier this year when the Justice Department initially did not request the funding its lawyers said they needed, was reported by the news media to be considering replacing the litigation team, and then announced it would seek to settle the lawsuit after Administration officials declared anonymously that they believed they had a weak case.
The government has a strong case to make given the tobacco industry's long history of deception and wrongdoing. We hope that today's testimony represents a turning point and that the Administration will now work to protect the public health, not the tobacco industry.