New website tracks tobacco contributions
A website has been launched that features searchable databases of all campaign contributions and gifts from tobacco lobbyists to state legislators.
The website, www.tobaccomoney.com, also encourages lawmakers and legislative candidates in Oklahoma to sign a pledge to not accept campaign contributions, meals or other gifts from any tobacco company political action committee or from any registered lobbyist for a tobacco company or tobacco trade association.
Dr. Robert McCaffree, co-director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, said a clear correlation exists between tobacco industry contributions and the suppression or opposition of legislation intended to reduce tobacco use in the state.
Since 2006, state legislators now in office have accepted $242,719 in campaign contributions, meals and other gifts from tobacco lobbyists and tobacco company political action committees, according to the website. Nine representatives and 11 senators have accepted at least $3,000.
The website's author, Doug Matheny, is the former director of tobacco prevention at the state Health Department; he retired in February 2011 after 28 years of service. “For decades, we've watched tobacco lobbyists manage to kill bills they oppose and pass bills they support,” he said.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU