Chapter Seven Big Tobacco and the Republican National Committee

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Chapter Seven Big Tobacco and the Republican National Committee

Seven tobacco chief executives stood in front of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment April 14, 1994 swearing an oath to tell the truth. They were the most powerful men in the industry, the leaders of Philip Morris, R. J. Reynolds, and Brown and Williamson Tobacco, among others. Most of them made annual salaries of several million dollars.

Over a six-hour period, each was asked a series of tough questions about smoking. How was the levels of nicotine in cigarettes set, legislators asked. What about advertising aimed at young people and unpublished research concerning the effects of tobacco on those who smoked?1

Without exception, the men toed the industry line on the question of health risks. Tobacco might be linked to cancer, emphysema, and heart disease, they testified, but the evidence was “not conclusive.”2 James Johnston, the head of R. J. Reynolds noted that “all products, from cola to Twinkies, had risks associated with them.” That might be true, replied, subcommittee chair Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.). “But the difference between cigarettes and Twinkies is death.”

Andrew Tisch, chairman of Lorillard Tobacco Company was asked if he knew cigarettes caused cancer. “I do not believe that….We have looked at the data … (and) it does not convince me that smoking causes death,” he responded in contradiction to what many members of the general public believed.3

None of the men testifying thought that cigarettes were addictive. The chief executives denied that their businesses “spike cigarettes with extra nicotine to hook smokers.”4 Each strenuously argued that their companies should not be held liable for any health damage that subsequently ensued. Punitive penalties such as that would not be fair and would violate the spirit of our free enterprise system.

The tobacco executives' testimony would mark the beginning of a major challenge for their industry. The public was turning against the business in opinion polls. More and more people were lining up behind the anti-smoking movement. Political leaders were being asked to pass sharp, new restrictions on their business. It was a period that would test the long-term survival of tobacco.

Major storm clouds were on the horizon. The Food and Drug Administration was clamoring for tough, new restrictions on tobacco. Cities and states were passing anti-smoking legislation in restaurants and workplaces. Courts were starting to blame tobacco products for illness and death. Juries made up of average people no longer were as sympathetic to their business.

Yet the industry was not dead. Tobacco leaders would live to fight the battle to regulate their industry and hold it liable for a variety of medical ailments. It had something public officials desperately needed, the ability to take to the air waves and make large campaign contributions. The industry would fare better than many critics believed was possible.

The Health Risks of Smoking

The case against tobacco products took years to build. First documented in obscure medical journals, the evidence slowly seeped out to the general public. Cigarette products were hazardous to your health. A variety of different health risks was uncovered. Smoking was dangerous to young women during pregnancy. It was a major risk factor for heart disease and emphysema. Tobacco products were highly associated with lung cancer.

As early as 1941, medical doctor Michael DeBakey, who later gained fame for heart transplants, published an article noting an odd correlation. As tobacco sales went up, lung cancer increased as well. A decade later, scientists Ernst Wynder and Evarts Graham published a piece documenting that “96.5 percent of lung-cancer patients are moderate-to-heavy smokers.” This was followed in rapid succession by another Wynder study demonstrating that “painting cigarette tar on the backs of mice creates tumors.”5 The hostile evidence was starting to build.

For years, tobacco companies protested the science behind these findings. The studies, they said, were based mainly on correlational research. Causation should not be assumed. The mere fact that two things like smoking and lung cancer were associated did not definitely prove that smoking was the culprit. Other factors might account for the health risks, they proclaimed. People who smoked also had other bad health habits. They ate unhealthy diets and failed to get sufficient exercise.

But more and more studies came out documenting the serious risks posed by smoking. In 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry made history by becoming the first government official to warn about the health hazards that were connected with tobacco smoking. It was a risk about which the public needed to learn.

A year later, Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. This legislation placed an official warning from the Surgeon General on cigarette cartons noting that smoking could be hazardous to your health.6 It was the first time the government had singled out the tobacco industry for a health warning.

In 1982, Surgeon General Everett Koop published a report suggesting that second-hand smoke might cause lung cancer. It took eight years, but in 1990, the government banned smoking on passenger flights for domestic trips under six hours in length. There was growing concern that second-hand cigarette smoke generated by surrounding smokers was a serious health risk. People did not have to smoke tobacco itself to be vulnerable. Just being around smokers was a hazard in itself.

It had taken nearly 50 years since DeBakey’s original research. But slowly, the noose was tightening around the industry. A series of lawsuits holding tobacco companies liable for deaths and disease was winding its way through the courts in the 1990s. As part of the legal discovery process, incriminating documents were being made public. Whistle-blowers who worked within the industry were turning over evidence to tobacco lawyers and reporters alleging that companies knew more than their chief executives let on.

One source was Jeffrey Wigand, the Brown and Williamson vice president for research and development from 1989 to 1993. From his $400,000 a year salary, Wigand was in an excellent position to know. A wide range of sensitive company documents and research studies flowed across his desk. In a February, 1996 CBS “60 Minutes” show interview, Wigand “had accused [B & W Chief Executive Thomas] Sandefur of lying to Congress in 1994 when he testified, along with other tobacco chief executives, that he did not believe nicotine was addictive.”7

Legal depositions given by Wigand in 1996 also accused Brown and Williamson of using chemicals in its cigarettes “to enhance the effects of nicotine,” of shipping sensitive research overseas to prevent litigants from seeing it, and “of opposing work on safer cigarettes to avoid legal liability.”8

Merrell Williams worked at a Louisville law firm, Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, from 1989 to 1992. His job took him to Brown and Williamson, where he kept track of documents and research relevant for tobacco litigation. Increasingly aggrieved at what he saw, Williams secretly copies 4,000 pages of damaging, internal company documents and turned them over to smoking opponents.

Among the information revealed was that as early as 1963, Brown and Williamson lawyers informed the company “it is in the business of selling an addictive drug, and its research scientists have reported for years that the product can pose serious health risks for users.”9

The final straw came in 1996 when Ian Uydess, a researcher at Philip Morris, revealed in a Food and Drug Administration deposition that his company “shelved his findings on how to remove poisonous nitrates from tobacco, [and] then muzzled other scientists who were examining nicotine’s addictive nature.”10 A body of evidence had accumulated that tobacco companies had known for decades that tobacco was carcinogenic. Company scientists testified they had warned of the health risks, but were told to keep their mouths shut. It was a dark secret known only to a small group of people in the tobacco business.

Political Risks Facing the Industry

With the accumulating evidence of major health risks arising from tobacco smoking, the federal government started to become more active. At first, the strategy had centered on warning labels. Disclosure was the key, not regulation. Smokers could not be told they couldn’t inhale. That would smack of Prohibition and only drive smokers underground, the way it had done with alcohol in the 1930s. Regulation did not appear to be an effective approach.

But consumers should be informed as to what a growing body of scientific research had uncovered. Cigarettes should be labeled with a disclaimer informing consumers that smoking could be hazardous to their health. At least that way, consumers could make an informed decision regarding health risks.

The tobacco companies, of course, had fought even this minimalist approach. The science documenting medical problems was imperfect and incomplete, they claimed. Industry groups cited the specter of big government interfering with the private marketplace to object to disclosure requirements. It was unfair to single them out for a crackdown.

But their complaints went for naught. In 1965, over the protests of tobacco-state legislators, Congress had mandated that these warning labels be placed on cigarette products. By 1971, Congress had banned cigarette advertising on television and radio and in 1973, no smoking sections were required on domestic flights.11

In the years following those decisions, more research came out documenting the danger of cigarette smoking, both from direct as well as second-hand exposure. Congress began to consider new kinds of regulations. Disclosure was having only a modest impact on deaths associated with smoking. By 1990, it was estimated that 400,000 a year were dying from tobacco-associated illnesses. Every day, nearly 3,000 young people were starting to smoke. One-third of them would end up dead as a result of their smoking habit.12

Anti-smoking advocates started to move towards outright bans. The first target was air travel. Although airlines had separate sections for smokers and non-smokers, in a small, air-tight plane, it was virtually impossible to keep smoke arising the former from drifting into the sections of the latter. In 1990, smoking on short domestic flights was banned.

Then, the battle moved toward restaurants, the workplace, and public buildings. Slowly, both Congress and state legislatures were extending the smoking bans to more and more areas. What first had been a requirement to have separate sections for smokers and non-smokers now was moving toward outright prohibitions.

In 1994, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler was debating whether tobacco could be regulated by declaring nicotine a drug. According to Kessler, “the definition of a drug is an article intended to affect the structure and function of the body. You can go to a library and find out that nicotine does that. The question was, did the companies intend that.”13

In 1995, President Clinton announced his support for the FDA move regulating tobacco in regard to children’s health issues. The transformation was near complete. Government would pursue an aggressive strategy toward tobacco companies. Much like pharmaceutical corporations and prescription medication, tobacco would be regulated as a hazardous product.

The Public Relations Strategy

Throughout the decades when evidence was accumulating about the health risks associated with tobacco products, cigarette companies had devised a clever public relations strategy designed to build goodwill for their industry. It was not good business to be known as a death industry. So tobacco companies did charitable deeds designed to make people think of their industry in a favorable light.

Philanthropy was one of the major ways tobacco interests engaged in good works. Cigarette companies gave gifts to universities, art museums, music concerts, and other cultural activities. In fact, tobacco corporations were one of the top underwriters of a wide range of charitable activities. Designed to associate the industry name with virtuous products, the donations were a major way to boost the image of the entire industry.

Sponsorship of major sporting events became a top priority. There were Philip Morris race cars, tennis matches, and golf tournaments. In 1995 alone, Phil Morris, Brown & Williamson, and R. J. Reynolds contributed over $265,000 to the American Red Cross, headed by Elizabeth Dole, to help the victims of natural disasters.14

Each year, tobacco companies sponsored the Tournament Players Club at a private course in Potomac, just outside Washington, D.C. Again, the goal was the same. Get the industry name out in the most positive light and in the most favorable venues that were possible.

The tobacco industry published magazines that provided a forum for pro-industry research. Major companies within the industry devoted nearly one million dollars to a magazine, Healthy Buildings, which promoted tobacco interests. Often relying on suspect science, this publication actively protested the idea that indoor smoking bans were necessary for the cultivation of good health.

Accompanying these outlets were research activities, which sponsored projects having a pro-industry point of view. For example, the law firm Covington & Burling, which long had represented major tobacco companies, supported a major project in 1996 that concluded federal restrictions on tobacco would cost America 92,000 lost jobs and $7.9 billion in lost sales.15 Such works were merely one way in which big tobacco attempted to communicate its point of view to the general public.

Political Contributions

Philanthropy was useful with ordinary citizens, but legislators required something more tangible: cold, hard cash. Tobacco companies knew that winning elections in the television era required large sums of money. Running all those television ads was very expensive. Incumbents needed money to finance their races and tobacco companies were all too eager to help out.

Cigarette companies were among the country’s most generous contributions in terms of direct donations to candidates. Millions of dollars each year went to candidates for Congress and the president, each designed to provide access for tobacco interests. From 1993 to 1995, tobacco companies donated $4.5 million to Republicans and $800,000 to Democrats, according to the Federal Election Commission.16

Before the 1994 elections, tobacco had been more bipartisan in its campaign contributions. Gifts flowed evenly to Democratic and Republican candidates. It made sense to spread the money around generally to both parties.

However, with the massive GOP victory in 1994, which gave it control of both the House and the Senate, tobacco shifted towards a more partisan strategy. Campaign contributions would be directed towards Republicans instead of Democrats.

The goal was not just persuasion, but access. Lobbyists for cigarette companies wanted to make sure they had a seat at the table when controversial rules were debated. While such gifts never guaranteed success, they typically allowed company executives to have their voices heard in the debate, at least with the party in control of Congress.

Soft money contributions to the political parties were another way tobacco interests attempted to sway the political process. In 1997, for example, cigarette companies donated around $2 million to the national party committees for general party-building activities. Of this, the vast preponderance of the cash went to the GOP. Republicans took in $1.6 million, compared to $400,000 for Democrats.17 Philip Morris was among the largest individual company donors at nearly $800,000.

These sums were higher than in preceding years. For example, in 1988, cigarette companies donated $448,000 to the GOP in soft money gifts, and $38,000 to Democrats. This rose to $1.34 million in 1992 for Republicans and $731,000 for Democrats.18

Direct lobbying was another form of influence-peddling. It was estimated that in 1997, nearly $30 million was spent on lobbying government officials.19 This included money spent on expensive Washington offices, well-placed lawyers, and public relations strategists. Each year, the Tobacco Institute sponsored a Legislative Conference that attracted two dozen members of Congress.

Held at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Palm Springs, the weekend featured free lodging, food, and entertainment for the legislators. For participating on one of the Institute’s panel discussions, members earned $2,000 in speaking fees (before the honoraria were banned by Congress). Legislators were given booklets summarizing tobacco issues facing the upcoming Congress.20

The Court Threat

In August, 1996, a landmark legal decision shocked the tobacco industry. A Florida jury awarded $750,000 to Grady Carter, a private individual who had sued Brown and Williamson in a tobacco case for failing fully to inform smokers of the health risks posed by cigarette smoking. News of the ruling sent tobacco stocks sharply down. It was the largest court judgment ever against a tobacco company in a health hazard case.21

This was not the first lawsuit against big tobacco. In 1994, a national class action suit had been filed against tobacco companies on behalf of smokers who died from lung cancer. But the case had gone nowhere. Two years later, a federal appeals court had dismissed the lawsuit.22

But the general climate was shifting in a perceptible direction. Polls documenting a public that had shifted dramatically against tobacco. Public support for smoking bans had risen in several different arenas: during air travel, in restaurants, and finally in the workplace itself.

Even worse for tobacco companies, internal company documents and incriminating testimony was making their job defending the industry much more difficult. Courts were becoming less sympathetic to tobacco. As signified by the Carter lawsuit, cigarette companies were starting to lose court cases.

In previous decades, it had been nearly impossible to prove liability against tobacco products because the science was not as definitive, and there was little evidence tobacco companies knew their product was hazardous. That, after all, had been the basis of the congressional testimony of the seven tobacco executives in 1994. Nicotine was not addictive, and cigarette companies should not be blamed for health problems that plagued smokers.

The strategy of generous philanthropy, soft money, and campaign contributions was becoming controversial. Contributions by tobacco companies were attracting criticism at election time. Prominent officials, such as House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Vice President Gore, who previously had accepted such contributions, now were refusing them and criticizing others who took them.

Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole had created a firestorm in the middle of his 1996 campaign when he had stated on national television that nicotine might not be addictive and that former Surgeon General Everett Koop’s tough stance against tobacco companies had come about because of brainwashing by “the liberal media.”23

Interviewed by Katie Couric on NBC’s “Today Show” about nicotine, Dole had proclaimed, “There is a mixed view among scientists and doctors whether it’s addictive or not. I’m not certain whether it’s addictive.” Continuing, he added, “only people like you in the media [criticize him on tobacco]. You may be violating the FCC regulations by always, you know, sticking up for the Democrats and advertising their line on your show.”24 The comments created days of bad publicity for Dole, whose views were not in sync with those of leading scientists or members of the general public.

However, the big threat that was looming against tobacco companies was a series of lawsuits from state attorneys general around the nation seeking repayment of Medicaid costs for tobacco-related illnesses. Following the lead of Mississippi Attorney General Michael Moore, who had filed the first such suit in 1994, 22 attorneys general had banded together and were aggressively pursuing big tobacco. Many of the whistle-blowers who had come forward against tobacco companies did so in the context of this litigation.

Faced with mounting legal bills, there even had been a breach in the vaunted unity of major tobacco companies. The Liggett Group, one of the weakest companies, announced in March, 1997 that it would cooperate with the attorneys general who were suing the tobacco industry. It was a stunning defection by one of their own. Not only was Liggett voluntarily turning over sensitive tobacco documents to the prosecutors, it agreed “that the industry targets minors and knows nicotine is addictive.”25 According to one former attorney general from Maine, James Tierney, Liggett’s admission had turned the subject of tobacco “radioactive” in Congress.

In June, 1997, a stunning new agreement was announced between tobacco companies and the 40 states that then were suing cigarette corporations. The largest settlement ever in a court case, tobacco agreed to pay $368.5 billion over 25 years and accept tough new rules regulating tobacco products and advertising. Among other things, the agreement would “acknowledge the government’s authority to regulate nicotine, repay billions of dollars to the states for smoking-related health care costs, and fund free stop-smoking programs for whoever wants them.” In addition, new warning labels would be placed on cigarette products saying: “WARNING: Smoking can kill you.”26

In return, government lawsuit against tobacco companies would be illegal in the future and cigarette corporations would save on legal fees. The biggest thing that was killing the industry were punitive damage assessments that multiplied the penalties arising from lawsuits. According to one estimate, tobacco was spending $600 million each year on lawyer’s costs. Its overall legal liability was in the billions.27

At a press conference announcing the 68-page agreement, a jubilant Moore predicted, “This agreement will do more for the public health of our nation than all of our lawsuits combined – even if we had all won our individual suits.”28 The only remaining catch was that the agreement had to be approved by Congress and the White House.

Throughout 1997 and 1998, there was enormous pressure on Congress to pass anti-smoking legislation. It appeared that judgment day finally had arrived for big tobacco. Given shifts in public opinion on tobacco, the historic settlement with attorneys general, and the incriminating documents that had been made public in various lawsuits, many expected the powerful tobacco industry to lose this congressional battle. The tide had turned.

A Surprise Victory

As Congress debated historic legislation to crack down on tobacco products, the industry was in deep trouble. Both Republicans and Democrats were saying negative things about the industry. Sharp regulations were being discussed on the industry. Companies were going to lose their right to advertise and target young people. Research indicated that “90 percent of adult smokers picked up their habit by the age of 18.”29

No longer would tobacco be able to use the Marolboro Man to advertise products, Joe Camel, the popular icon for young smokers, product placement in movies, and sponsorship of sport events. The legislation represented a radical change in the political and philanthropic strategy long employed by the industry.

It was estimated that cigarette companies had spent nearly $50 billion on image enhancement from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. R. J. Reynolds alone had spend $30 million a year on sports advertising, such as the Winston Cup and NASCAR racing events. Winston was the largest single sponsor of auto racing in the United States.30

But almost as soon as the agreement was announced, criticism began from people who felt it was too soft on tobacco companies. The White House led it be known that it was concerned about the language on the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate nicotine. In 1996, it had announced its authority to regulate nicotine in regard to teen smoking. It must have complete power to exercise that authority. In addition, the Clinton Administration demanded tougher penalties for tobacco companies if the rate of teenage smoking did not decline to meet specified targets.31

Other critics demanded even tougher action. For example, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and former Surgeon General Everett Koop released a joint statement saying “if the level of youth smoking does not go down within two years, there should be much stiffer, punishing penalties and further restrictions on advertising, promotions and marketing practices.”32

Koop also cautioned that “the tobacco companies are a sleazy bunch of people who misled us, deceived us and lied to us for three decades. Under this settlement, the Tobacco Institute will be gone, but the tobacco lobby will still be there. And they will never stop.”33

Emboldened by these outside critics, congressional Democrats pushed to make the bill harsher on the tobacco industry. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackled a business when political conditions were ripe. They were not going to blow this one.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced legislation that followed the general outlines of the tobacco settlement. Hatch generally was of the belief that the settlement was the best agreement that could be reached given the current political situation.

But others did not share this view. The Hatch proposal soon was superceded by a new bill championed by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. Under the McCain proposal, there would be “less legal protection” and “billions more in industry fees.”34 In addition, federal taxes on cigarettes would be doubled beyond the 65-cent-a-pack envisioned in the settlement to $1.10 a pack. The bidding war against tobacco was escalating, and the price tag on industry companies was rising dramatically beyond what they had negotiated with the attorneys general.

Sitting in his corporate headquarters, the chief executive officer of RJR Nabisco named Steven Goldstone was becoming less and less happy. The “prime strategist” behind Big Tobacco, Goldstone had been one of the leading architects of the historic agreement with the attorneys general. He had been named CEO in October, 1995 and believed it was in the best financial interests of his company to reach the settlement and reduce the legal liability facing his industry.

Now, he wasn’t so sure about this strategy. On April 8, 1998, he had delivered a speech before the National Press Club in Washington announcing “that if [Congress] wanted to legislate his industry into oblivion, it could do so without his help.”35 It was a de facto declaration of war against the escalating state of legislative affairs in Congress. He later told a reporter, “I finally saw that there wasn’t a chance in hell of any resolution to this problem in the near future.”36

In reaching this decision, Goldstone was choosing to pursue a high-risk strategy of backing off the publicly-negotiated settlement with the attorney generals and attempting to stop a congressional bill that many already conceded was going to pass. It was not clear that this approach was going to be effective.

But Goldstone had an ace up his sleeve that his opponents had not counted on. Unbeknownst to tobacco critics at the time, the chief executive had authorized both a ground and air war. The former would emphasize lobbying and litigation. Goldstone warned his critics, “We will spend years in the courtroom, and we will do every possible thing to fight for our rights.”37 It was one thing to raise taxes, he felt. It was completely different to impose advertising restrictions on his business. Those were problematic because of the First Amendment right of free expression. Goldstone believed he could win in the courts on that issue.

The air war featured a $40 million public advocacy campaign that would label the congressional proposal a big tax increase to the general public. Using television and newspaper ads, he would attempt to do for the anti-tobacco legislation what the “Harry and Louise” ads run by the Health Insurance Association of America had done against Clinton’s health care reform.38 His spots would help turn ordinary people against Congress.

Deep down, Goldstone had great faith in the American public. “I am very confident tht the American people are more willing to listen than the people in Washington are,” he said.39 With proper education, people would see the value of his argument.

Based on this assumption, his company’s commercials warned of “a flourishing, violent black market” that would result from a dramatic escalation in the price of cigarettes. Just as Prohibition had created a black market in liquor dominated by organized crime, Goldstone was playing on public fears that the same would happen with cigarettes.

The ads furthermore attacked the dreaded “tax” issue. Wasn’t a doubling of federal taxes on cigarettes a big tax increase of the sort the American public didn’t like, he reasoned.

By June, 1998, the congressional legislation was dead. Despite public interest in the crackdown, the Republican-controlled Senate was unable to pass the anti-smoking bill. Combined with the generous campaign contributions to GOP politicians, the air war had torpedoed the bill everyone expected to pass. It would be a remarkable demonstration of the power of money to dictate the Congressional policy agenda.

Republicans immediately pledged to push for more limited legislation. House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced, “our goal is to reduce teen smoking, not increase taxes.” Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Congress had expanded the bill way too far. “We’ve lost sight of the original noble cause of just dealing with teen-age smoking and drug abuse,” he indicated.40

Promising to use the defeat in the upcoming election, Clinton aides predicted “many key swing voters will decide that Republicans killed the bill because they were beholden to the tobacco industry, perhaps the most unpopular lobby in Washington.”41 In the 1998 elections, however, Republicans held control of both the House and Senate, although by reduced margins in the House.


The battle over tobacco illustrates the political difficulties of beating a powerful opponent armed with money for campaign contributions and television advertisements. Tobacco had not been the first to prove this point. Indeed, the industry was only the last in a long line of victories where powerful interests had beaten back a Congress determined to stand up for collective interests.

Similar to the victory insurers and small business had won over Clinton's health care reform in 1994, the tobacco lobby had triumphed over Congress in 1998 in a situation few thought was winnable. Given the political and public mood, most believed Congress would pass the historic tobacco regulation legislation.

Industry leaders had done so in the same manner past campaigns had been conducted. It was a combination of inside Congressional lobbying greased with campaign contributions, soft money donations, and outside lobbying directed at the American public. Such campaigns were costly, amounting in this case to as much as $40 million. But these expenditures were cheap when the entire future of the industry at stake.

The victory confirmed the value of what was known as the "investment theory" of politics. Money spent lobbying Congress and influencing the general public usually yielded big dividends for the industry under concern. It was cheaper to spend the money on politics and get unfavorable regulations removed than to pay the cost of complying with the new legislation.42

The defeat of the tobacco legislation marked just one more example of how money talks in Washington. Aided by years of contributions, philanthropy, and public relations, the tobacco industry was able to withstand enormous political pressures and cajole its legislative friends into stopping the bill that was seen as nearly instoppable.

In so doing, the tobacco case demonstrated the close tie between money and public policymaking. On cases as disparate as tobacco, the Teamsters, Archer Daniel Midland, and Koch Industries, strong interests have gained disproportionate advantages from public officials in need of contributions. It is a sign of the continuing power of big money in American politics.


1 William Eaton, “Nicotine Study Suppressed, Waxman Says,” Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1994, p. A20 and Philip Hilts, “’81 Tobacco Study Discussed Raising Levels of Nicotine,” New York Times, April 14, 1994, p. A1.

2 Philip Hilts, “Tobacco Chiefs Say Cigarettes Aren’t Addictive,” New York Times, April 15, 1994, p. A1.

3 Philip Hilts, “Tobacco Chiefs Say Cigarettes Aren’t Addictive,” New York Times, April 15, 1994, p. A1 and Marlene Cimons, “Cigarette Chiefs Steadfastly Deny Smoking Kills,” Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1994, p. A1.

4 John Schwartz, “Tobacco Executives Deny Spiking Cigarettes,” Washington Post, April 15, 1994, p. A1.

5 Carrick Mollenkamp, Adam Levy, Joseph Menn, and Jeffrey Rothfeder, The People vs. Big Tobacco, Princeton, New Jersey: Bloomberg Press, 1998, p. 250.

6 Carrick Mollenkamp, Adam Levy, Joseph Menn, and Jeffrey Rothfeder, The People vs. Big Tobacco, Princeton, New Jersey: Bloomberg Press, 1998, p. 250.

7 Myron Levin, “Tobacco Case Marked by Series of Sound Bites,” Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1996, p. D1.

8 Myron Levin, “Tobacco Case Marked by Series of Sound Bites,” Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1996, p. D1.

9 Hunt Helm, “Blowing the Whistle on Big Tobacco,” Louisville Courier-Journal, May 25, 1997, p. A1.

10 Sheryl Stolberg, “Defectors Helping to Crack Wall Around Tobacco Firms,” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1996, p. A1.

11 Washington Post Magazine, “Where’s There’s Smoke,” December 3, 1995, p. W22.

12 Marlene Cimons, “Cigarette Chiefs Steadfastly Deny Smoking Kills,” Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1994, p. A1. The figures on youth deaths resulting from smoking are cited in John Schwartz, “As Proposal Dies, Anger and Optimism,” Washington Post, June 18, 1998, p. A18.

13 Hunt Helm, “Blowing the Whistle on Big Tobacco,” Louisville Courier-Journal, May 25, 1997, p. A1.

14 Darrell M. West and Burdett A. Loomis, The Sound of Money: How Political Interests Get What They Want, New York: W. W. Norton, 1998, p. 49.

15 Darrell M. West and Burdett A. Loomis, The Sound of Money: How Political Interests Get What They Want, New York: W. W. Norton, 1998, p. 69.

16 Maria LaGanga and Ronald Brownstein, “Dole Revivies Issue of Smoking’s Effects, Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1996, p. A5.

17 Darrell M. West and Burdett A. Loomis, The Sound of Money: How Political Interests Get What They Want, New York: W. W. Norton, 1998, p. 50.

18 Gary Lee, “Cigarette Industry Has Ties to Both Campaigns,” Washington Post, August 27, 1992, p. A29.

19 Jill Abramson with Barry Meier, “Tobacco Braced for Costly Fight,” New York Times, December 15, 1997, p. A1.

20 Charles Babcock, “Congressmen Tee Off for Fun, Profit,” Washington Post, January 26, 1989, p. A1.

21 Carrick Mollenkamp, Adam Levy, Joseph Menn, and Jeffrey Rothfeder, The People vs. Big Tobacco, Princeton, New Jersey: Bloomberg Press, 1998, p. 253.

22 Carrick Mollenkamp, Adam Levy, Joseph Menn, and Jeffrey Rothfeder, The People vs. Big Tobacco, Princeton, New Jersey: Bloomberg Press, 1998, pp. 252-253.

23 Maria LaGanga and Ronald Brownstein, “Dole Revivies Issue of Smoking’s Effects, Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1996, p. A5.

24 Maria LaGanga and Ronald Brownstein, “Dole Revivies Issue of Smoking’s Effects, Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1996, p. A5.

25 Anthony Flint, “Liggett Move Closes a Rift in Opposition,” Boston Globe, March 25, 1997, p. A3.

26 Henry Weinstein and Myron Levin, “$368-Billion Tobacco Accord,” Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1997, p. A1.

27 Henry Weinstein and Myron Levin, “$368-Billion Tobacco Accord,” Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1997, p. A1.

28 Henry Weinstein and Myron Levin, “$368-Billion Tobacco Accord,” Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1997, p. A1.

29 Jeffrey Goldberg, “Big Tobacco’s Endgame,” New York Times Magazine, June 21, 1998, p. 36.

30 Marc Fisher and John Schwartz, “Trying to Snuff Out the Tobacco Culture,” Washington Post, June 22, 1997, p. A1.

31 John Schwartz, “Tobacco Negotiators Try to Bolster Deal,” Washington Post, August 14, 1997, p A13.

32 Henry Weinstein and Myron Levin, “$368-Billion Tobacco Accord,” Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1997, p. A1.

33 Marc Fisher and John Schwartz, “Trying to Snuff Out the Tobacco Culture,” Washington Post, June 22, 1997, p. A1.

34 John Schwartz, “As Proposal Dies, Anger and Optimism,” Washington Post, June 18, 1998, p. A18.

35 Jeffrey Goldberg, “Big Tobacco’s Endgame,” New York Times Magazine, June 21, 1998, p. 36.

36 Jeffrey Goldberg, “Big Tobacco’s Endgame,” New York Times Magazine, June 21, 1998, p. 36.

37 Jeffrey Goldberg, “Big Tobacco’s Endgame,” New York Times Magazine, June 21, 1998, p. 36.

38 National Public Radio, "All Things Considered," May 19, 1998.


 Jeffrey Goldberg, “Big Tobacco’s Endgame,” New York Times Magazine, June 21, 1998, p. 36.

40 Wendy Koch, “Legislation’s Defeat Has Effects Beyond Tobacco,” USA Today, June 18, 1998, p. 2A.

41 Wendy Koch, “Legislation’s Defeat Has Effects Beyond Tobacco,” USA Today, June 18, 1998, p. 2A.

42 Thomas Ferguson, Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

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