TOBACCO: Industry Donations Accepted by Democratic Groups
Despite the Democratic party's traditional "hard line" stance against the tobacco industry, reports of industry donations accepted by Democratic groups have "highlighted some intraparty splits" on the issue, CongressDaily reports. The L.A. 2000 Host Committee has established a policy not to accept donations from the tobacco industry or its subsidiaries, and the Democratic National Committee upholds the same policy. However, Illinois Democrats have accepted money from Philip Morris, whose subsidiary Kraft Foods is based in Chicago, to help defray the cost of entertaining convention delegates. A spokesperson for Michael Madigan, Illinois House speaker and the state's Democratic Party chair, said, "They offered to help participate in funding some of the activities related to the convention, and we did not turn anyone away." Congress' Blue Dog Democrats have also strayed from party policy by accepting Philip Morris donations, and the National Rifle Association, another Democratic Party foe, helped sponsor the group's Sunday evening Santa Monica event. Philip Morris has reportedly sponsored several other Democratic affiliations. According to a company spokesperson, "In order to best represent our 55,000 employees in the United States and millions of shareholders, we really want to participate in the political process in a bipartisan fashion." Reflecting intraparty conflicts on tobacco and other key issues, Rep. Ken Lucas (D-Ky.) has decided not to attend the Los Angeles convention and said "he could not vote for [Vice President Al] Gore because of their disagreements about tobacco as well as guns and abortion" (8/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.