Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Congressman from Philip Morris and UPS

In June 2003 Roy Blunt inserted a provision benefiting Philip Morris in the 475-page bill creating the department of Homeland Security bill, according to a report in the Washington Post. At the time, Blunt had accepted more than $150,000 over just two years from PACs affiliated with the company. (Open Secrets lists Philip Morris as a top lifetime contributor to Blunt here.) According to the Post, the provision would have made it tougher to sell tobacco on the Internet and also would have made tougher laws against the sale of contraband cigarettes, both practices that cut into Philip Morris’ bottom line.

At the time, Blunt’s son worked as a lobbyist for Philip Morris in Missouri. And Blunt himself was involved romantically with Abigail Perlman, a lobbyist for the parent company of Philip Morris, Altria Corp. He later married her.

The same Washington Post article pointed out that in April 2003, Blunt had inserted another provision benefiting donors, this time on behalf of United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) (Blunt’s #9 lifetime donor) and FedEx Corp. This time the bill blocked the expansion of the U.S. operations of a foreign competitor. Blunt’s son represented UPS in Missouri.

In 2002, Broadcasting & Cable reported (text not available online) that the TV and entertainment industries were pouring contributions into Blunt’s campaign coffers, because Blunt, “a member of the Commerce Committee, one of the two key panels for the media industries, will be in position to influence both House leaders and the rank and file on critical legislation….Blunt's favor with Delay and Majority Leader Dick Armey helped broadcasters gain their ear in a successful bid to scale back the FCC's low-power radio service.” "He's been a conduit to leadership on a variety of telecommunications issues, " Jim May, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters, told the magazine.


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    Question: Why doesn't the news media make sure the public at large knows about political corruption, policy for sale, and obvious conflicts of interest - such as Sensenbrenner's connections to the finance industry, while concocting the new bankruptcy laws?

    Answer: Start with Roy Blunt and the National Association of Broadcasters.

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    By Anonymous ChicagoStonePro, at 8:59 PM  

  • I consider myself an educated man, but I do not understand the part of this post discussing Blunt's Phillip Morris provision. It implies that Blunt passed legislation as a favor to his big donor (Phillip Morris). But then it says the provision actually made it tougher to sell cigs on the Internet. Call me crazy but shouldn't we be praising that as a principled stand against big money corporate interests?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:39 AM  

  • Thought you would like this. big bucks

    By Blogger Mike, at 3:33 PM  

  • The message is clear in this entry. Blunt made a mistake in favoring a company such as Philip Morris. As a big donor, I get the point why Blunt sponsored the bill. It can be a better outlet of finances should he decide to seek for a higher position. This issue will be hard fought and i see blunt being victoriuos in the end.

    By Anonymous Jim Online, at 8:51 PM  

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