WASHINGTON, April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
New disclosure documents filed this week show the big tobacco companies are spending huge sums and hiring an army of lobbyists to influence Congress and the Trump Administration, including giving $1.5 million to President Trump’s inauguration.
It’s no secret what the tobacco companies want: They’re waging a multi-pronged assault on a new rule the Food and Drug Administration issued last year for electronic cigarettes and cigars – products that are sold in a huge assortment of sweet flavors and threaten to hook a new generation of kids. If draining the swamp of special interests is to mean anything, it should start with protecting America’s kids and not the tobacco industry.
The new disclosure documents reveal the tobacco industry is going all out to get its way:
The two largest U.S. tobacco companies, Altria and Reynolds American, gave $500,000 and $1 million respectively to President Trump’s inauguration, according to disclosure reports just filed with the Federal Election Commission. Reynolds is one of only a handful of companies that gave at the $1 million level. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, tobacco companies and trade associations spent more than $4.7 million on federal lobbying, including $2.3 million by Altria, $1.3 million by Philip Morris International and $589,848 by Reynolds American. Lobbying disclosure filings show Altria has hired at least 17 lobbying firms and Reynolds hired at least 13 such firms. Altria recently added a former chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to its stable of lobbyists, while Reynolds added a former deputy chief of staff to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price when he was a member of Congress.
In Congress, tobacco