SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Tobacco interests spent a total of $49 million during the first 18 months of the 2011-2012 election cycle to influence elections, legislators and policies in California, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association in California’s Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing.
“Big Tobacco continues to use its vast financial resources to oppose strong public health legislation and life-saving ballot initiatives that would benefit all Californians,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. “This disturbing fact further inspires the American Lung Association in California and millions of Californians to stop Big Tobacco in its tracks. We are committed to preventing kids from ever picking up their first cigarette, helping smokers quit and fighting lung diseases that so often result from or are exacerbated by smoking.”
Tobacco Money in California Politics shows that tobacco interests contributed more than $47 million to candidates and members of the California legislature, constitutional officers, and political committees thus far in the 2011-2012 election cycle. Further, the industry and its partners spent $1.6 million on lobbying during this period.
Tobacco Money in California Politics contains full details on which bills were lobbied by tobacco interests, and lists legislators and political committees who accepted contributions from the industry. All of the figures found in this report are available through the Secretary of State’s searchable database which contains all contribution and lobbying data reported by these companies as required by law. Highlights include:
— More than 96% the total contributions made during the 2011-2012 election cycle were to political committees –opposing Proposition 29: the California Cancer Research Act which was defeated in the polls on June 5th. Proposition 29 would have raised significant money for cancer research and tobacco control and prevention efforts through a one dollar tobacco tax.
— Of the 120 state legislators, tobacco interests made campaign contributions to 57 members, meaning nearly half of all legislators took tobacco interest contributions.
The significance of Tobacco Money in California Politics is highlighted by the end of session attempt to incorporate a tax break for a single tobacco company into a bill aimed at closing corporate tax loopholes. Assembly Bill 1500 would have closed a loophole for multi-state companies with the revenue generated going to support middle class scholarships. But on the last day of the legislative session however, it was reported that a backroom deal was in the works to exempt a single tobacco company, Altria, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, from this bill. Altria (Philip Morris, USA Inc.), spent $154,000 to lobby on AB 1500 and one other bill and several smaller issues through June 30, 2012.
A full copy of Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Expenditures of Tobacco Interests in California is available at http://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 http;//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 http://www.lung.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, Maria.Bernabe@lung.org
SOURCE American Lung Association in California