There is still today a massive amount of money spent on lobbyists by the tobacco industry to ensure that their interests are taken care of in Washington, DC. Everyday people working on behalf of cigarette and tobacco products are talking to politicians, political staff, White House officials and government employees.
Just over $20 million was spent by tobacco companies in 2011 alone to pay for people to represent their views to members of Congress, the Senate, the White House and government agencies.
Here are some examples:
In 2011, a lobby firm called Capitol Legislative Strategies worked on behalf of tobacco company Altria Client Services on “any issue affecting the tobacco industry including Public Law No: 111-31 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act.” The lobbyist listed as doing the work is Charlie Mellody, the President of Capitol Legislative Strategies. In 2011, Mellody and his company were paid $180,000 for their work.
Altria also paid another lobby firm called Capitol Tax Partners, to lobby on, “matters dealing with tobacco taxation, corporate taxation and tax reform.” According to the lobbyist filing by Lindsay Hooper of Capitol Tax Partners, the lobby firm was paid $320,000 for their work. Other lobbyists working for Capitol Tax Partners on behalf of Altria are: Jonathan Talisman, Richard Grafmeyer, Joseph Mikrut, William McKenney, Lawrence Wilcox and Christopher Javens.
Sweet cigar manufacturer Swisher International, hired lobby firm Clark, Lytle Geduling & Crawford to, “[m]onitor federal legislation and activity related to the tobacco industry.” On their website Clark, Lytle, Geduling & Crawford describe their company: “[w]ith more than a century of combined experience working with 16 Congresses and seven Administrations, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford stands out as a recognized leader in issue advocacy.” The lobby firm was paid $90,000 in 2011 by Swisher for their services. The employees listed as working on behalf of Swisher are: Steve Clark, Gary Lytle, Sam Geduling, Deborah Pryce, Amy Wren and Jay Cranford.
Lorrillard Tobacco Company, the maker of popular cigarette brands like Newport and Kent paid the law firm Dickstein & Shapiro $2.6 million in 2011 to “monitor federal legislation and activity related to the tobacco industry. Monitor the implementation of PACT Act, (P.L. 111-154), Mnitor [sic] the implementation of amily [sic] Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, (P.L. 111-31) [and] H.R. 65, Candy Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2011.” The Dickstein & Shapiro employees working on behalf of Lorillard Tobacco include: Andrew Zausner, the head of the government and law group at Dickstein & Shapiro, as well as Albert Wynn, Laurie McKay, Rob Mangas, Katie Reed, Curt Cilfton, Bob Maples and Allison Schwartz.
These are just four examples of the more than 600 filings for the tobacco lobby industry in 2011. In total tobacco companies and associations paid out over $20 million to ensure their voices were heard by the US government and elected officials.
Over the coming weeks the Center for Democracy in Government will continue to research and report out to you on the faces of the modern tobacco lobby in Washington.