Tobacco Industry Manipulation of South Carolina Government

[This document is for historical reference only. A few links have been removed as the source document could not be located]

"The government of the absolute majority is but the government of the strongest interests; and when not effectively checked, is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised. "  

"A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various powerful interests, combined in one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in banks."   

John C. Calhoun
How did Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and Lorillard attempt to beat-back Richland County, Charleston County and Charleston City efforts to enjoy cleaner indoor air?  Which governor was invited to the Kiawah summer home of the President of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company?  Why did R.J. Reynolds need to create a grassroots smoker's rights movement in SC?  Why would Philip Morris draft legislation attempting to control how our Legislature spent the over one billion dollars that it agreed to pay under the 1998 "Master Settlement Agreement"?

Below you'll find a small sea of links to tobacco industry documents produced during litigation that evidence the industry's tremendous influence upon our government.  Although document destruction has left us with only a partial picture of the interplay between our politicians and the industry prostituting and profiting from our state's #1 cause of death -- chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine -- the glipse we are afforded is chilling.

It's my hope that the below partial chronology will serve to strengthen democracy in South Carolina by shedding light on an extremely destructive relationship.  It's a greed driven relationship that intentionally creates and nourishes a climate and environment in which the annual chemical enslavement of fifteen to twenty thousand children, teens and young adults is not only tolerated but absolutely necessary in order to maintain current profit levels, in the face of the annual kill-off of 6,000 of our neighbors who each smoke themselves to death an average of 15.3 years early.

Page 1 of 2   |   Page 2 of 2

1970   |   1980   |   1990

1992   |   1994   |   1996

1998   |   2000   |   2002


04/14/72RJ Reynolds"Confidential" RJR nicotine dependency memo. Here are a few quotes. "In a sense, the tobacco industry may be thought of as being a specialized, highly ritualized and stylized segment of the pharmaceutical industry. Tobacco products, uniquely, contain and deliver nicotine, a potent drug with a variety of physiological effects." "If nicotine is the sine qua non of tobacco products and tobacco products are recognized as being attractive dosage forms of nicotine, then it is logical to design our products -- and where possible, our advertising -- around nicotine delivery rather than "tar" delivery or flavor." "If our business is fundamentally that of supplying nicotine in useful dosage form, why is it really necessary that allegedly harmful "tar" accompany that nicotine?"
02/10/77 SenateSenate bill S-217 is introduced into Legislative Session 102. The tobacco industry will label it our Clean Indoor Air Act and a tracking document from RJ Reynolds indicates that the bill "restricts smoking in any public, enclosed, indoor area or public meeting". Senate leadership sends the bill to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee for consideration.
06/16/77 Tobacco Institute The Tobacco Institute (TI) takes note that the SC legislature has raised the tobacco tax from 6 to 7 cents. This will be the last time that S.C. nicotine industry allows an increase to occur. As background, the Tobacco Institute was a lobbying organization funded by the major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris (PM), R.J. Reynolds (RJR), Brown & Williamson (B&W) and Lorillard, and was a major behind the scenes force in maintaining a fertile environment for keeping the business of nicotine dependency socially acceptable, inexpensive, and highly profitable. It was put out of business as a stipulation contained in the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998.
02/02/78 Tobacco Institute TI notes that the proposed Richland County public smoking ordinance that would have banned smoking in libraries and public meetings has been tabled and pronounces it dead. Henry McMaster represented the tobacco industry at the 2/1/78 meeting.
02/09/78Senate The Senate Medical Affairs Committee sends S-217 (Clean Indoor Air legislation) back to the Senate floor with a favorable recommendation.
05/04/78 Tobacco InstituteTI letter to Lorillard Tobacco Company states, "On South Carolina S-217, we have been on top of the bill since day one. We are encouraged at present."
07/14/78Senate Senate leadership decides to again send S-217 back to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee where it is allowed to die.
09/24/79 House H-3178, another attempt at passage of a Clean Indoor Air Act, is introduced during Session 103. It prohibits smoking in public places and in public meetings except in designated areas. It is referred to the House Medical Committee.
02/27/80 Tobacco Institute Memo on the SC Clean Indoor Air Act in the House Medical Affairs Committee were TI's John Bankhead asserts "I am confident that this legislation will not be reported out of the full committee."
06/30/80 Tobacco Action Network A detailed report on why TAN expanded its reach into South Carolina and other tobacco states, its objectives, the $37,000 1981 cost of opening an office to serve the Carolinas, its membership enrollment process, need for cooperation with the Tobacco Institute, a short history and current status of tobacco related activity in both the SC legislature and at the local level (see page 32), key SC contacts (see pages 51-52), S.C.'s current prospect estimate of 2,300 for TAN enrollement (page 59), and its 04/80 SC enrollment of 43 (42 from manufacturing).
08/28/80Tobacco Institute TI South Carolina legislative tracking document indicates that Clean Indoor Air bill died in the Medical Affairs Committe with adjournment of the legislature and that no action was taken on it while there.
10/22/82 Lorillard & TAN Lorillard letter to its new SC Tobacco Action Network representative detailing his duties and importance.
12/14/82 Lorillard PDF file showing Lorillard's handwritten checkmarks beside names in a SC legislative directory.
12/16/82 Tobacco Institute Rep. Harvin calls TI to explain in detail how H-2050, a bill seeking a 1 mill cigarette tax increase, got out of the House Ways & Means Committee: opponents were caught off guard; senior members turned on us and "the tracks were greased". No House filibuster but filibuster still available in the Senate
12/21/82 Tobacco Institute No public smoking bill introduced since 1979 but USC law professor may in 1983. Last tax increase 07/77 from 6 to 7 cents. Now H-2050 seeks 2 cent increase. Good history recap. Prospects for next legislative session. Contributions to key leadership positions.
12/30/82 Tobacco Action Network TAN swings into action when the SC House Ways & Means Committee reports out a 7 to 9 cent tobacco tax increase. Here it seeks approval to have "all company employees residing in the State of South Carolina to be urged to write letters of opposition to this increase to their State Senators and Representatives." This link provides background on TAN's creation, purpose and organization.
01/07/83 Tobacco Institute Battling H-2050: Newsletter to 86,000 South Carolina Farm Bureau members; TI member company employee letter writing campaign; working SC Black Caucus via National Black Caucus; outdoor advertising; letters to 1,000 SC industry contacts; W.I.F.E.; direct legislator writing; meeting with tobacco legislators to plot strategy. Also see a 01/14/83 TI memo on battling 2050.
01/11/83 House Bill 2050 seeking a 1 mill tobacco tax increase is favorably reported out of House Ways & Means and referred to the Agriculture Committee where it is allowed to die.
04/10/84 RJ Reynolds The President of RJ Reynolds, Gerald H. Long, invites SC Governor Richard W. Riley and his family to drop-by his summer Kiawah home for dinner and a visit.
1985 Tobacco Institute Produced by the TI, this document entitled "South Carolina - A State Analysis" was found amoung R.J. Reynolds' documents. It discusses S.C. revenue shortfalls and what the legislature needs to do to avoid a cigarette tax increase. It examines the SC budget, the Legislature's make-up, and how the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, the Commissioner of Agriculture (Les Tindal), the SC Restaurant Association, the SC Bankers Association and the SC Chamber of Commerce have been the tobacco industry's biggest allies in legislative battles. It asserts that campaign contributions are effective. Discusses SC AHA, ALA, ACS, BCBS, DAODAS and DHEC getting more active, with DHEC banning smoking in all its buildings. "The danger of these groups is not their legislative influence, which is lacking, but the publicity they have generated on the public smoking issue." Memo brags of House committee chairman's influence who says the "bill will not see the light of day.
04/18/85 Senate S-545 in Session 106 was a bill sponsored by Sentators AG Wilson, W.K. Giese, D.L. Thomas and yet another attempt to enact a S.C. Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit smoking in pubic places and public meetings except in designated areas, and to provide penalties for violations. It was favorably referred out of Senate Medical Affairs Committee with amendment but died after the Senate leadership failed to act upon it. It's companion bill H-3013 died in the House Agriculture Committee.
06/03/85 Tobacco Action Network The Tobacco Institute's TAN requests permission to commit forces to defeat a proposed Richland County ordinance to restrict smoking in theaters, health care facilities, elevators, in public transportation, public buildings, retail stores and restaurants. The request is approved on 6/10/85. It outlines a plan of action including having TAN activists and key company employees contact Richland County Council members. The request asserts that TAN's SC attorneys have concluded that state and local lobbying laws do not require participants to register as lobbyists.
06/03/85Tobacco Institute TI Regional VP Bankhead's proposed letter to SC Tobacco Action Network (TAN) members encouraging them to make calls and send letters to Richland County Council members in an effort to defeat a proposed Clean Indoor Air ordinance. Bankhead also provides a list of ten talking points together with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all Council members.
10/02/85 Richland County Council A 10/02/85 draft of the Richland County proposed ordinance introduced by Council members McCay and Monroe that was found in Lorillard's documents.
10/10/85 Tobacco Institute A memo by the Tobacco Institute's John Bankhead, its Public Affairs Manager. This memo shows the amazing lengths that the industry went to in order to defeat a Richland County public smoking ordinance. It also mentions how the Richland battle was influenced by S-545. The TI memo brags about allies helping to defeat an earlier similar ordinance in Charleston.
10/16/85 Tobacco Institute A TI e-mail (authored by M. Hurst Marshall) to RJR, Lorillard, Liggett, PM and B&W giving notice that on 10/15/85 Richland County Council approved 2nd reading by a 6 to 5 vote of a smoking restrictions ordinance and that final reading is expected on 10/29/85.
10/18/85 Tobacco Institute Three page TI inner memo from Bankhead to Marshall recapping the 10/15 meeting of Richland County Council where its proposed Clean Indoor Air ordinance was amended during 2nd reading, discussing the scheduled 3rd reading on 11/5, discussing TI meetings with John Gregg McMaster, Stearling Smith, Pete Gustafson (SC Farm Bureau), John Lumpkin, and Jim Frye with Philip Morris. Credit is given to Lumpkin (former South Carolina National Bank President and law partner of former governor Robert McNair) with solidifying five votes. A six stage plan of action is outlined which includes retaining Lumpkin.
11/11/85 Tobacco Institute TI memo (by M. Hurst Marshall) to tobacco company representatives forwarding a report from John Gregg McMaster and John Bankhead predicting that the Richland County Clean Indoor Air ordinance will pass by a 6 to 5 vote. "Every effort is being made to turn this vote around."
01/25/86 Tobacco Institute Senator Glenn McConnell, the current President of the Senate and arguably the most powerful politician in South Carolina, started accepting tobacco industry contributions at least 18 years ago as evidenced by this TI contribution (see page 15). During the 2004 campaign Senator McConnell has accepted contributions from Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard.
12/31/86 Tobacco Institute The tobacco industry's defeat in defeating Richland County's proposed Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, which passed on 12/30/96, is explored in great detail in this four page letter from John Gregg McMaster to the Tobacco Institute. A stream of news coverage by The State newspaper is given primary credit for the ordinance's passage.
12/31/86 Tobacco Institute This copy of the TI's 1987 "The State of the States" report was produced by Lorillard. "1987 is expected to be a quiet legislative year for tobacco" except for possible attempts to make the six restriction laws more restrictive. Discusses the American Lung Association's new S.C. executive director's Clean Indoor Air Act focus, and his efforts, along with the Heart Association and Cancer Society to get a Clean Air Act through the Senate and their successful passage of a similar state patterened Act in Richland County. TI asserts that with Richland County's new ordinance "we can expect similar activity in Charleston, Greenville, Spartenburg and Columbia.
12/17/86 House H-2074 is sponsored by R.A. Kohn in Session 107, seeking to enact the S.C. Clean Indoor Air Act, prohibit smoking in pubic places and public meetings except in designated areas. It will die in the House Medical Affairs Committee.
01/08/87 R.J. Reynolds The American Lung Assocation mails John McMaster with Insurance Companies of SC a copy of its rallying letter for "Citizens of Richland County Unite" and the document ends up in R.J. Reynolds library of documents. The letter warns that Richland County passed a Clean Indoor Air Ordinance on 12/30/86, that five new members have been elected to Council and that lobbying specialists with the Tobacco Institute are now moving to rescind it.
01/13/87 House House Resolution 2105 by W.N. Cork shows just how personal the issue of secondhand smoke has been in the Legislature. 2105 is a resolution instructing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to have a sufficient number of exhaust fans installed in the Hall of the House to eliminate the air pollution created by tobacco smoking. On 01/13/87 the House referred it to Ways and Means where it was tabled on 05/12/87.
02/19/87 House House Bill 2508 is introduced in Session 107 seeking a cigarette tax increase from 3.5 to 5 mills per cigarette. On 4/7/87 it was tabled in the House Ways & Means Committee.
12/17/87 R.J. Reynolds Charleston County Council is considering an ordinance that would prohibit smoking in all county owned and operated buildings. This RJR memo discusses a Tobacco Institute request that the local RJR sales people write letters to County Council expressing displeasure with the proposed ordinance and that they, along with distributors, attend the hearing. It attaches a list of Council members.
12/22/87 R.J. Reynolds Joe Murrayy writes the Columbia RJR office enlisting them in the battle against Charleston County's proposed county building no smoking ordinance. He presents three talking points (not needed - smoker rights - be fair) and includes a Council mailing list.
12/21/88 House H-3069 is introduced in Session 108 seeking to impose a tax on cigarette rolling papers. It is referred to the House Ways & Means Committee where it dies.
01/12/89 Senate Enacted on May 30, 1990, the South Carolina Clean Indoor Air Act was introduced into Session 108 as S-138 by Senators Wilson, Bryan, Giese and Thomas making it unlawful to smoke in a few enumerated locations such as public schools, pre-schools, day care centers and hospitals but allowing such major exceptions as to permit smoking in private offices and lounges within schools. [Note: six U.S. states now protect all workers from a growing list of health concerns by having banned indoor smoking in public building across their entire state. It appears that Georgia is about to join them. National convention business into S.C. will continue to gradually decline as convention planners from smoke-free states refuse to suject members to smoke filled hotels, restaurants and night clubs. With each passing day, the clean air expectations of parents in smoke-free states contine to grow and when selecting vacation destinations the quality of indoor air will likely be a growing consideration].
12/11/89 Philip Morris PM SC "News Media Coverage" memo giving examples of SC stories. It shows PM keeping tabs on The State newspaper's Ron Wenzell, Jeff Miller and Cindi Ross Scoppe, and Trip DuBard with the Associated Press.
01/14/90 RJ ReynoldsRJR's Smokers' Rights Coordinator reports shows direct control by RJR in sending out 49 letters to Columbia group members asking that they begin having petitions signed opposing the cigarette tax increase (see page 3 of 5).
03/14/90RJ ReynoldsRJR's Columbia smokers' rights group active through letters, petitions and personal contact in lobbying legislative members to defeat the five cent cigarete tax increase, and by the use of letters to the editor.
05/26/90RJ ReynoldsRJR "Coalitions" report indicates that the South Carolina Convenience Store Association is a new organization that produces a monthly newsletter called PULSE -- currently distributed to 250 stores -- and that RJR's Division Sales Manager, Mike Edelmeyer, is a member of the new Association's board of directors. RJR boasts publishing two smokers rights articles in PULSE. The report contains a lists of other SC coalition orginazations. It asserts that at dinner with Commissioner of Agriculture, Les Tindal, he asked to be invited to one of the Columbia smokers' rights group meetings.
05/30/90 RJ Reynolds Defeat of Tobacco Tax Increase
10/22/90 SenateSenator Rose files a bill to create the SC Tobacco Indemnity Fund, funded by a 50 cent tax on each pack. The bill withdrawn on 02/20/91.
12/12/90 HouseH-3006 is introduced in Session 109 seeking a 3 ½ mill tax on cigarette rolling papers. It is referred to the House Ways & Means Committee where it dies.
1991 Tobacco Institute Tobacco Institute's 1991 SC analysis - Operation Lost Trust mentioned and that SC just enacted the "best package of pro-active legislation in the nation." ... "The industry has strong connections with the Senate leadership." Anticipate that in January the S.C. Medical Association will ask for a 25 cent tobacco excise tax increase with revenues dedicated to hospital cost containment. It notes that the strength in House Ways and Means Committee is "not as strong as in past years." Prepare economic analysis by February; obtain expert witness (economist); get coalition allies to mobilize members for letters and contacts; possible need for additional legislative consultant; grassroots mobilization is ready if necessary.
1991 RJ Reynolds PDF file on RJR's #1 objective - defeat tobacco excise tax increase.
01/09/91 House H-3180 in Session 109 was filed by Rep. Kirsh seeking to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act to give local government the right to ban smoking in all government buildings. It was tabled in Agriculture Committee.
RJ ReynoldsPDF file of twenty-one page memo entitled "1991 South Carolina Plan, Smoker's Rights Movement, Janet S. Hughes, State Coordinator." It reflects RJ Reynolds' direct control over efforts to establish and support a grassroots S.C. smoker's rights network to influence state and local government. Activities for 1991 will include trips to Columbia prior to April 30 to meet their state legislator, invitations to legislators to speak at monthly meetings with media attention, group involvement in one area event, bring the groups into "the allied forces network" (5 members identified) development of a statewide newsletter. Memo lists each group's House and Senate members and presents a calendar. Thirty-nine leaders from SC smoker rights groups attend RJR leadership training (LTS) in Columbia where one of the topics was how to work the media.
02/20/91RJ ReynoldsWeekly report from RJR's Smoker's Rights Movement Coordinator evidences the Tobacco Institute (TI) and RJR attempting to recruit a Smoker's Movement group leader for Columbia from within the Governor's office. Indicates that an RJR manager is also a board member of theSC Association of Convenience Stores and will put tax increase and smoking restriction information in the Association's next newsletter. Mentions Greenville County's proposed smoking ordinance, contact with Joe Murray, and efforts to create opposition to the Greenville Sheriff's proposed cigarette machine ban.
03/13/91RJ ReynoldsWeekly report from RJR's Smoker's Rights Movement Coordinator focuses on H-3660, a proposed five cent cigarette tax increase bill sponsored by Rep. Carnell, and H-3677, Rep. Cromer's proposed Clean Indoor Air Act amendment that would ban smoking in food consumption and dining areas of restaurants. The report discusses RJR and TI lobbyist contacts and that RJR's lobbyist reports that Rep. Carnell (the bill's sponsor) is being overwhelmed with letters from smokers. The Greenville group was active in helping snuff out a Greenville County Council attempt to ban smoking in county owned buildings by arguing that the SC Clean Indoor Air Act preempts the right of local governements to enact a more restrictive ordinance. Also mentions Greenville cigarette vending machine meeting on 3/12. The Spartenburg group was encouraged to write tax increase letters and the Greenwood/Abbieville group mailed 17 letters to Rep. Carnell.
03/22/91 RJ Reynolds South Carolina Association of Convenience Stores (SCACS) works with RJR to defeat 5 cent per pack tax increase in Senate after House passage (see page 3). Also see a 03/22/91 RJR interoffice memo.
04/05/91 RJ ReynoldsRJR uses a "direct-connect phone bank" and smoker's rights groups across S.C. to lobby the Senate Finance Committee on a cigarette tax increase.
04/05/91RJ ReynoldsWeekly report from RJR's Smoker's Rights Movement Coordinator indicates that the Senate Finance Committee deleted a five cent cigarette tax increase from the budget bill on 4/3/91. Greenville group reports that no member received a response from House or Senate members from letters they wrote regarding the five cent tax increase. The Laurens/Clinton group was also active in attempting to defeat the tax increase.
04/11/91 House Rep. Quinn, and others, file H-3897 to control youth access to cigarette machines. It is given 3rd reading in the House and on 03/18/92 referred Senate Judiciary Committee where it died.
05/01/91RJ Reynolds The Charleston entry in a weekly report from RJR's Smoker's Right Coordinator indicates that the groups it helped organize and train are individually deciding whether or not to join the Tobacco Institute's South Carolina Tobacco Action Network (TAN).
06/13/91 Tobacco Institute Senate deleted cigarette tax hike.
06/26/91 RJ Reynolds SC Groups Update
04/14/92 House H-4720 introduced in Session 109 seekss to increase cigarette tax from 3 ½ to 5 ½ mills with revenues dedicate toward Medicaid. It is referred to the House Ways & Means Committee where it dies.
06/03/92 Senate The Senate Journal contains Senate Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion 92-6 accepting the assertion of Philip Morris USA, a registered lobbyist principal organization, that it is not involved with the offer of free Spoleto tickets to all S.C. Senators that is being made by its parent corporation, Philip Morris Companies, Inc., an organization not registered as a lobbyist principal, and therefore all Senators are free to accept the free Spoleto tickets subject to reporting requirements.
1993 Est. Philip Morris "Bible" - PM reports $19K 3rd quarter SC political contributions and $59K 4th quarter.
01/13/93 House H-3113 in Session 110 sought to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act to stop smoking in food service establishments. It was referred to Committee on Agriculture were it died.
02/18/93 House H-3540 in Session 110 sought to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act to require food service establishments to post signs as to smoking and non-smoking areas. It was referred to Agriculture Committee where it died.
04/14/93 House H-4118 introduced in Session 110 sought to increase the cigarette tax from 3 ½ to 10 mills with 6 ½ mills dedicate toward Medicaid. It was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee where it died.
06/02/93 Senate Senator Bryan, and others, file S-822 requiring a $10 retail license to sell tobacco products, limiting tobacco product purchase age to 18, providing escalating fines and a graduating license revocation periods for sales to minors, prohibiting free tobacco product samples unless event admittance limited to age 18, and making looking at a picture I.D. an affirmative defense to prosecution for sale of cigarettes to a minor. It is referred to Senate Judiciary Committee where it dies.
12/15/93 Philip Morris Philip Morris S.C. contacts include Chamber of Commerce and SC Convenience Stores Association (see pages 3-4)
1994 Est. Philip Morris Taxes #1 defensive issue past 2 yrs. Lobbying team will try to impact use of ASSIST program dollars. Pro-actively: charitable disclosure legislation will be introduced using third party coalition. Need $40K for political contributions, $171K for lobbying, and $500 each to State Chamber of Commerce, SC Retail Fed, SC Wholesale Grocers, SC Retail Grocers, SC Restaurant Ass., and SC Association of Convenience Stores. Discusses mass mobile, media interviews and direct mail, $5K for Legislative receptions for the House Ways & Means Committee, Appropriations, Senate & House Health Care and for a function for the Speaker.
04/06/94 Lorillard Lorillard memo discusses nicotine sales inside the S.C. Prison system, how new prison rules put an end to its sneaker deal, and how its "Play Ball" program is its niche over the competition.
05/14/94 RJ ReynoldsPDF file of lobbyist's disclosure statement showing that RJR paid $661 for a "smokers'rights meeting." It also RJR paying $1,504 for a "grassroots newsletter" on 06/22/95.
05/23/94 RJ ReynoldsPDF file of lobbyist's disclosure statement showing that RJR gave $1,000 for the "Republican Legislative Appreciation Reception" (see PDF page 13).
09/19/94 Senate S-47 in Session 111 sought to prohibit smoking in public areas of statehouse. On 01/10/95 it was referred to Committee on Medical Affairs where it died.
10/17/94 Senate S-165 in Session 111, a bill by Senators Hayes, Giese, Wilson, sought to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act so as to authorize school districts to end all smoking within its schools (teacher lounges and offices) and create smoke-free policies. On 1/10/95 it was sent to Medical Affairs Committee where it died.
10/25/94 Philip Morris PM memo obtaining chain-of-command approval for a $20,000 contribution to the SC Democratic Party.
12/31/94RJ ReynoldsPDF file of RJR document entitled "South Carolina - Activity Summary - Year to Date" - December 1994" showing that RJR paid 1994 legislative lobbying fees of $42,000 to McNair & Sanford, $6,500 to Fred E. Allen & Associates. It also shows RJR budgeting a $1,000 contribution for the S.C. Chamber of Commerce.
01/10/95 House Rep. Simrill submits H-3201 in Session 111 and successfully amends the Clean Indoor Air Act to allow school districts to declare smoke-free campus policies. Effective on 6/8/96, it also adds sections 16-17-501, 502, 503, 504 imposing a $25.00 penalty for giving children and minors free tobacco samples. It was signed into law on 06/18/96.
01/17/95 Philip Morris PM memo discusses the need to enact "anti-trial lawyer measures" due to the SC Supreme Court adopting a modified comparative negligence standard, so as to protect against potential health care liability litigation.
01/26/95 House H-3408 in Session 111 was a bill to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit smoking in barbershops and beauty salons. It died in the House Agriculture Committee.
02/02/95 House H-3483 is introduced into Session 111 seeking to amend 16-17-500 to make it unlawful for a minor under the age of 18 to possess tobacco and increasing the maximum fine to $100 or imprisonment for up to one year. The bill dies in the House Judiciary Committee.
03/23/95 RJ ReynoldsRJR drafting legislation to prevent SC cities and counties from passing local ordinances that in any way restrict smoking. Declares no chance that any cigarette tax increase will pass in 1995 and declares other 1995 tobacco bills insignificant.
04/06/95 Black Caucus S.C. Legislative Black Caucus writes RJ Reynolds asking for up to $7,000 to help pay the cost of its 17th annual legislative banquet on 05/06/95 in exchange for two reserved tables and 16 tickets. RJR approves $1,000.
12/27/95House DemocratsPDF file of Lobbyist's Disclosure statement showing RJR contribution of $3,500 to the S.C. House Democratic Caucus.
01/23/96 House Just 35 days after H-4478 is introduced into Session 111 it is signed into law (02/28/96) imposing a tax equal to 5% of the manufacturer's price paid by "wholesalers" on all non-cigarette tobacco products sold in S.C.
02/16/96 Senate President PDF file indicating RJ Reynolds donation to Senator McConnell's campaign, the current President of the Senate. Current 2004 disclosure records indicate that the Senate President (and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman) has recently accepted a $500 contribution from RJ Reynolds and also accepted a $1,000 contribution from Lorillard Tobacco Company on 01/25/04 and another $1,000 from Philip Morris (Altria) on 12/28/03.
02/16/96 House Republicans PDF file Lobbyist's Disclosure evidencing a $3,500 RJR contribution to S.C. House Republican Caucus, and a contribution of $1,000 for "Verne Smith Re-election Campaign.
03/26/96 Black Caucus RJR donates $5,000 to the S.C. Legislative Black Caucus. "We will communicate with you regarding the specific sponsorship and participation by RJRT in the early future."
05/23/96 Philip Morris 1996 PM budget of $40,000 with $3,500 to the SC House Democratic Caucus.
10/16/96 Philip Morris PM 1996 contributions to mid-October are $52,250.
11/16/96 Philip Morris Summary of SC access law (see page 37).
11/27/96 Philip Morris Plan for SC Legislature: Proactive, enact AAA provisions. Defensive, defeat excise tax increases; defeat attempts to repeal uniformity legislation passed last year. Get Retail and Convenience Store Associations to support AAA. Alert 96 legislative sponsors of repeal threat (see pages 8 and 9).
12/05/96 Philip Morris $56,000 spent by PM in 1996.
12/18/96 House H-3078 in Session 112 was a bill to prohibit smoking in barbershops and beauty salons that died in the House Agriculture Committee.
01/14/97 SenateS-129 introduced in Session 112 sought to prohibit smoking in public areas of statehouse. It was referred to Committee on Medical Affairs where it died.
01/21/97 House H-3280 is introduced into Session 112 seeking to amend 16-17-500 to increase maximum fines for giving or selling tobacco to a minor to $5,000 or 1 year in jail on a 3rd offense. It also requires cigarette machines be placed in an areas inaccessible to minors and requires business licence revocation on a 3rd violation. The bill was killed in the House Judiciary Committee.
01/24/97 House Democrats The House Democratic Caucus writes RJ Reynolds inviting it to join the House Democratic Forum in exchange for a contribution of $3,500 which will entitle RJR to "meet with leadership of the Democratic Caucus and its members on a regular basis..." The letter is signed by Democratic Leader Hodges and eight other Representatives.
02/18/97 House In just 3 months and 22 days H-3462 was introduced and signed into law creating an alternative method of assessing tobacco warehouse handling charges. [The rapid pace with which pro-tobacco industry legislation moves through both bodies is clear evidence that measures seeking to protect S.C. youth and young adults from chemical addiction are intentionally delayed by House and Senate leadership and allowed to die in Committee].
02/20/97RJ ReynoldsPDF file of RJR Lobbyist's Disclosure form indicating a $1,500 contribution to the SC House Democratic Caucus.
02/26/97 House H-3537 in Session was a bill to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act to require food service establishments to post signs as to smoking and non-smoking areas. It died in the Agriculture Committee.
03/20/97 Women's Caucus Letter thanking RJ Reynolds for its contribution and inviting RJR and its guest to a 03/26/97 luncheon at Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia. The day after the luncheon, 03/27/97, RJR will send the Women's Caucus another $500.
04/08/97 House Republicans Republican Caucus letter to RJ Reynolds advising of the 04/24/97 Legislative Golf Classic. "I would again request that you consider supplying us with snacks for 130 players and some prizes." "Last year's prizes were two golf carry bags and two larger golf bags."
04/09/97 House H-3888 in Session 112 sought to amend 16-17-500 to make it illegal to give or sell rolling papers to a minor and sought to raise the section's minimum fine from $25 to $100. The bill was recommitted to House Judiciary for a second time on 4/8/98 where it died.
05/02/97 Senate Republicans PDF file in which Senate Republicans thank R.J. Reynolds for generous contribution and invite RJR to the Governor's Mansion.
05/30/97 RJ Reynolds PDF file of letter from Representative Kennedy to RJR asking for $$$.
08/01/97 Senate Member Senator Ernie Passailaigue writes RJ Reynolds asking for help in retiring $15,000 in campaign debt remaining from his 1987 Senate race.
10/03/97 House Republicans PDF file of letter to RJR begging ("We need your help!") for $3,500. The letter is signed by Speaker Wilkins and Majority Leader Harrell.
12/01/97 RJ Reynolds Letter RJR Fred Allen to Senator Jim Smith Re: National Tobacco Settlement - RJR no spending guidance but call me if questions.
01/20/98 Philip Morris Legislative contacts assigned and letters sent to legislature.
01/21/98House Republicans Republican Caucus letter to RJ Reynolds that is signed by Speaker Wilkins, the House Leadership and six Chairman offers attendance at all Caucus events, the golf and tennis tournament, the spring reception, and a seat at periodic Roundtable meetings in exchange for $3,500. The first Roundtable meeting will be at the Capital City Club on 02/25/98.
02/09/98Senate Member Senator John Courson writes RJ Reynolds on his Senate letterhead advising it that he has decided to run for SC Comptroller General and asking for a financial contribution.
03/02/98RJ ReynoldsRJR donates $2,000 to the House Democratic Caucus via this letter to Representative Jennings, together with the closing "We appreciate your consideration of issues important to the company." "We look forward to working with the South Carolina House Democratic Caucus."
03/23/98 House Member Representative Ronald P. Townsend, Chairman of the House Education Committee, writes RJ Reynolds asking for a financial contribution.
03/26/98House MemberRepresentative Ronald Fleming, Assistant Minority Leader, writes RJ Reynolds asking for a financial contribution.
03/27/98Philip MorrisA Philip Morris tobacco team meeting was held on 03/17/98 to develop strategies and make assignments. A resolution in support of the 06/20/97 agreement is planned for the Senate. H-4849 requiring a retail licence to sell cigarettes was introduced on 3/19 and sent to the House Ways & Means Committee.
03/27/98House MemberRepresentative Doug Jennings, Jr. writes RJ Reynolds asking for a financial contribution.
04/16/98 Senate RepublicansPDF document in which Senate Republicans thank R.J. Reynolds for "generous support" and invite it to the Governor's Mansion to meet with Governor Beasley and Caucus members on May 20, 1998. It requests that RJR make a "financial commitment" to the Caucus and in exchange RJR will be recognized as an "honored" Founders Club Sponsor for the reception. The letter is personally signed by 21 Senators, including current Senate President and current Judiciary Committee Chairman McConnell and current Senate Finance Committee Chairman Leatherman.
04/27/98House Member Representative Kenneth Kennedy writes RJ Reynolds asking for a financial contribution.
05/07/98RJ ReynoldsRJR donates $3,500 to the SC Senate Democratic Caucus and on 05/19/98 it gives $1,000 to the SC Senate Republican Caucus [Note: could this contribution amount gamesmanship have anything to do with the fact that in 1998 the Senate was still controlled by the Democrats?] On 06/25/98 RJR will also give a maximum individual gift of $1,000 to S.C. House Speaker Wilkins.
06/03/98House SpeakerHouse Speaker Wilkins writes RJ Reynolds reminding it that he has campaign opposition for the first time in 14 years and he requests a contribution.
06/26/98 House RepublicansPDF document of House Republican Caucus letter to RJR thanking it for its support "over the last few years. Your support has enabled our Caucus to elect pro-business conservatives..." Invites RJR to attend a 07/16/98 legislative reception at the Seibels House in Columbia. Asks RJR for another $3,500. Signed by House Speaker Wilkins and House Majority Leader Harrell.
09/18/98House SpeakerHouse Speaker David Wilkins writes RJ Reynolds telling it that he has heard that RJR has money left over in its campaign contribution budget. He lists five incumbents and four candidates and asks RJR to assist each of them. RJR sends money to all but one.
11/08/98House MemberRepresentative Harry F. Cato writes R.J. Reynolds asking for $1,000 and asserting that he has one of the most pro-business and "less government" records in the House.
12/16/98HouseH-3123 introduced by J. Smith, Moody-Lawrence, Rutherford and Lourie seeking to amend 16-17-500, our statute making it unlawful to give or sell cigarettes to minors, to also make it illegal to give minors cigars or rolling papers. It would also raise the section's pitiful fine from $25 to $100. Also see companion S-1251 filed by Sen. Drummond on 03/16/00. H-3123 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on 01/12/99 where it died.

Page 1 of 2   |   Page 2 of 2

1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 1992 | 1994 | 1996 | 1998 | 2000 | 2002 | 2004

This page's production and display has no association with any other person, organization or entity other the author identified below who assumes full and exclusive responsibility for its content, including potential errors. The author has relied upon the campaign contribution disclosure records at, on a small sampling of the 33 million tobacco industry documents at, on additional industry documents from Legacy Tobacco Documents Library and on the legislative records at Any error will be immediately corrected upon receipt of notice. The author invites suggestions and/or assistance in enhancing the value of this resource and in further searching the millions of online tobacco industry documents in order to more deeply develop the relationship between our elected officials and an industry feeding upon them.

John R. Polito

S.C. Wall of Shame | S.C. Hall of Fame | S.C. Battle Plan
Prevention & Recovery | Free College of Charleston Quitting Seminar

This page was created on July 30, 2004 and page last formatted on July 29, 2018 by John R. Polito