Tobacco Interests Spent Nearly $100 Million in the Last Decade to Influence California Elections and Legislative Policy

The American Lung Association in California's Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing releases a new report on campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures by tobacco interests.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tobacco interests spent a total of $9.3 million on campaign contributions and lobbying in California during the 2009-2010 election cycle and have spent nearly $100 million over the last decade, according to a new report by the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing, a project of the American Lung Association in California.  

"Big tobacco continues to use its vast financial resources for campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures to oppose bills and ballot initiatives that would benefit public health by reducing tobacco use," said Jane Warner, President &CEO of the American Lung Association in California.

Tobacco Money in California Politics shows that tobacco interests contributed more than $6.56 million to candidates and members of the California Legislature, constitutional officers and political committees and spent $2.76 million on lobbying expenditures during the 2009-2010 election cycle.

The data used in producing Tobacco Money in California Politics is derived from the semiannual contribution reports and the quarterly lobbying reports filed by the tobacco interests with the Secretary of State that cover the period January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010.  Highlights from Tobacco Money in California Politics include:

  • Sixty percent of the total contributions made during the 2009-2010 election cycle were to political committees in support of Proposition 26 and in opposition to Proposition 25, which were both passed by California voters in the November 2010 general election.  Proposition 25 changed the vote requirement for passing a state budget from a two-thirds vote to a simple majority and Proposition 26 reclassified many types of fees as taxes, subjecting them to a two-thirds vote requirement.
  • Of the 122 state legislators (more than 120 due to vacancies and special elections), tobacco interests made campaign contributions to 59 members, or 48 percent, similar to the total from pervious election cycles.
  • Philip Morris USA Inc. spent more than $750,000 on lobbying in the second quarter of 2009 (April through June), a record amount for lobbying expenditures in one quarter by any tobacco interest over the last decade.  During those three months, the legislature voted on two budget bills that contained a tobacco tax increase and another tobacco tax bill that was moving forward in the legislative process.

"The numbers in this report are clear, Big Tobacco is spending to protect their vast financial interests in California," said Paul Knepprath, Vice President of Advocacy and Health Initiatives, American Lung Association in California. "Despite the tobacco industry spending millions, smoking rates continue to drop and the state and local governments continue to pass policies that reduce tobacco's impact on our state."

A full copy of Tobacco Money in California Politics is available at www.Center4TobaccoPolicy.org/tobaccomoney.  The Center also maintains a searchable database of campaign contributions that the public can use to learn if their own state Assembly Member or Senator received campaign contributions available at www.Center4TobaccoPolicy.org/database.

About the American Lung Association

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungusa.org/california.

The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing is a project of the American Lung Association in California and funded by the California Department of Public Health.  The Center assists local communities address tobacco related policies using community organizing strategies, and provides policy information and analysis regarding tobacco related legislation and policy issues.

Media Contact: Maria Bernabe, (213) 384-5864 ext. 243, mbernabe@alac.org

SOURCE American Lung Association in California



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http://www.lungusa.org/california

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