Thursday, June 13, 2002

Terrorists among us: Republicans and Big Tobacco

A report by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reveals that Republicans received 82 percent of the more than $18 million that the tobacco industry has poured into political campaigns since 1997.
And what did Big Tobacco get in return? Tom Delay, the White House, and GOP Rep. Michael Oxley of Ohio, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, removed section 107(B) from the US Patriot Act, which would have expanded the definition of money laundering to include “fraud or any scheme to defraud against a foreign government or foreign government entity, if such conduct would constitute a violation of this title if it were committed in interstate commerce in the United States.” Since Big Tobacco smuggles cigarettes into other countries in order to avoid paying taxes and tarrifs (which fund anti-smoking programs which save lives), this would have been bad news for big tobacco and their Republican minions. Good thing they bought themselves some GOP politicians, so they can keep on cheating, killing, and making it easier for terrorists to launder money. Read the story at MSNBC by Mark Schapiro, an associate of the Center for Investigative Reporting, based on his article, “Big Tobacco: Uncovering the Industry’s Multibillion-Dollar Global Smuggling Network,” which appeared in The Nation, May 6, 2002. Schapiro also co-produced a version of this story for the PBS newsmagazine NOW With Bill Moyers (which aired April 19).

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