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September 09, 1996 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-09

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NATION! ORLD

The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 9, 1996 - 5A

Tobacco industry spent
$15M to protect interets

Ride 'em cowboys AP PHOTO
Doc Holiday of Darby, Mont., pulls ahead of Mike Betz in the 37th Annual Camel Races In Virginia City, Nev., on
Saturday. Ten camels and 30 riders competed in 10 heats riding camels, ostriches and water buffalo.
Tro1Ca Storn Hortense
swee trou Carbbean

WASHINGTON (AP) - Feeling its
own health threatened, the tobacco
industry spent millions of dollars in the
first half of 1996 to thwart federal
efforts to curtail teen-age smoking,
raise the industry's taxes and restrict its
advertising.
Reports filed with the government
show companies with heavy interests in
tobacco issues spent more than $15
million during the period.
Industry giant Philip Morris led the
way with $11.3 million, according to
the first-ever reports disclosing special
interests' real expenses in lobbying
Congress, federal agencies and the
White House.
Philip Morris has extensive holdings
in non-tobacco businesses - Kraft
Foods, for example - but reports indi-
cate the bulk of its lobbying efforts
related to tobacco matters.
Companies are not required to break
down their total lobbying spending by
business category.
Congressional clerks who reviewed
the reports say Philip Morris' total
appeared to be the largest so far among
around 12,000 companies and groups
that filed midyear reports over the past
two months.
"We have had a lot of federal atten-
tion from regulators and the White
House," said Thomas Lauria, a
spokesperson for the Tobacco Institute,
a trade association. "It's never easy
communication, because tobacco is
controversial on many, many levels."
The industry, once given deference
in Washington, has seen its credibility
eroded in recent years by allegations
that executives covered up knowledge
of the damaging and addictive nature of
cigarettes, said Michael Pertschuk, an
anti-tobacco researcher and activist at
the Advocacy Institute.
"They have the deepest pockets
imaginable, and they have the most at
stake," Pertschuk said. "The very heart
of their industry is under attack:'
The industry's political vulnerabil-
ity was heightened last month when
President Clinton declared nicotine
an addictive drug and ordered that

cigarettes for the first time be regulat-
ed by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration.
Not only is the industry pouring
money into lobbying, it also is spending
millions to influence lawmakers
through campaign donations and addi-
tional millions to defend itself against
lawsuits.
Thirteen states have sued to recover
smoking-related health care costs.
Eight class-action suits are pending,
filed by smokers who claim they
became hooked while the industry con-
cealed the addictive nature of its prod-
uct.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department
continues with
its criminal
probe intoT
whether tobacco
company offi-
cials have lied to d ep' t
Congress in -
recent years or maglnah
misled lawmak- h
ers about
whether they m
knew of nico-
tine's addictive - M iC
properties.
A senior law
e n for c e m e n t
official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said yesterday that numer-
ous tobacco company researchers have
been subpoenaed in recent weeks to tes-
tify before a federal grand jury in
Washington that is looking into the
tobacco companies' stance on nicotine.
With these far-ranging legal battles
as a backdrop, records show that during
the first 18 months of the current two-
year election cycle, tobacco companies
gave $4.75 million in unregulated "soft
money" to the two major parties -
about $4 million to the GOP and about
$750,000 to the Democrats.
Philip Morris' lobbying report details
the breadth of the lobbying battle the
industry has been forced to wage. In
addition to 11 registered lobbyists in its

ICI
sac

Washington office, the company conr
tracted with 22 Washington law or lob-
bying firms.
It reported lobbying on legislation
that would restrict youths' access to
tobacco, eliminate tobacco advertisin;'
costs as a tax-deductible business
expense, grant FDA regulatory power
over their products and restrict smoking
on airplanes and in workplaces.
Philip Morris paid the Arnold &
Porter law firm $240,000 to repre-
sent it on issues including FDA regu-
lation of tobacco; former House
doorkeeper James Molloy $20,000 to.
lobby on proposed youth smoking
regulations; and the firm of former
House member
Ed Jenkins
$140,000 to
ave the protect it
against pro-
IockeTS posed increas-
es in excise
taxes.
the -Company
spokesperson
i Dennis noted
iael Pertschuk that the figure
cco researcher also includes
money spent to
advance the
corporation's interests in the food and
beer businesses. Philip Morris "has a
right to lobby on matters of impact to
its business, just like others," she
said.
Dennis acknowledged that the cur-
rent climate for tobacco is, "as alwavs,
a challenging environment:'
Other leading spenders included the
Tobacco Institute, nearly $1.3 million;
U.S. Tobacco, $920,000; R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco, $859,670; and the Smokeless
Tobacco Council, $600,000.
The new lobbying law requires all
interests that engage in significant lob-
bying in Washington to register and to
disclose a good-faith estimate of lobby-
ing expenses twice a year. The law went
into effect Jan. 1.

Storm cancels flights,
closes shelters in
Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -
Despite signs that Tropical Storm
Hortense was losing its punch,
authorities in Puerto Rico and the
U.S. Virgin Islands braced for the
worst yesterday, stocking shelters and
canceling flights.
Tropical storm warnings were lifted
or eastern Caribbean islands by yester-
day afternoon as Hortense moved
northwestward toward St. Croix, the
southernmost U.S. Virgin Island.
After weakening slightly during the
day, the storm regained its 60-mph
winds of the day before. Tropical
storm warnings remained in effect
from the British Virgin Islands west-
ward through Puerto Rico, but the
National Hurricane Center in Miami
backed off from earlier predictions
*at the storm might reach hurricane
strength by today.
"People are still worried and they are
taking precautions, boarding up and
all," said Wilda Davis, a Red Cross

worker on St. Croix. "They don't want
to take any chances"
Hortense was about 100 miles south-
east of St. Croix on yesterday after-
noon, moving west at 10 mph, accord-
ing to the hurricane center.
Tropical storm-force winds were
expected to hit St. Croix just after mid-
night and move into eastern Puerto
Rico early this morning, as the eye of
the storm crosses south of the islands.
Up to 10 inches of rain was expected
for islands near the storm's path, with
the possibility of dangerous flooding in
Caribbean mountains.
The storm will probably fluctuate
in strength over the next day, but
upper-level winds in the Caribbean
will keep it from growing markedly,
hurricane center forecaster Bill
Frederick said.'
"We're not expecting much intensifi-
cation," Frederick said.
Hortense battered the French
Caribbean island of Martinique with
heavy rains Saturday, knocking down
power lines and flooding roads before
sweeping westward early yesterday.
To prepare for the storm, Puerto
Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello suspended a

law that forces stores to close at 5 p.m.
on Sundays. He also banned the sale of
alcoholic beverages after 8 p.m. Public
schools across Puerto Rico will be
closed today, so the buildings can be
used as hurricane shelters.
American Airlines, which has its
regional hub in San Juan, said yester-
day that it was canceling flights to other
Caribbean islands. Delta Airlines also
canceled some flights, the Puerto Rican
Port Authority reported.
On St. Croix, a popular tourist desti-
nation, hotel owners battened down the
hatches but appeared calm.
King's Alley Hotel in Christiansted
closed its open-air bar after breakfast,
and employees pulled in lawn furniture
and boarded up the hotel.
"We are definitely bracing for it,"
said shift manager David Malone.

U K

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