The S.C. Legislature's Nicotine Addiction
Wall of Shame

Over 80% of S.C. legislators have taken a slice of the profits since 2000

South Carolina's #1 killer is chemical addiction to smoking nicotine. Harder to quit than heroin or cocaine, nicotine is so highly addictive that each year more than 6,000 of our citizens smoke themselves to death, each an average of 15.3 years early. In order to maintain profit levels in the face of such a massive annual kill-off the tobacco industry must create a political climate willing to tolerate allowing 18,000 additional S.C. children and teens to become permanent slaves to nicotine.

In that each South Carolina legislator raised their hand and took an oath to protect the public health, what tobacco control protections have they enacted to insulate our children from those seeking to chemically enslave them? What steps have they taken to help our more than 700,000 nicotine dependent citizens break nicotine's control over the flow of more than two hundred of their body's neurochemicals? Absolutely none!

Instead, the nicotine addiction industry plays the S.C. legislature -- a body dripping in blood money -- like some fine fiddle. They know that as long as they control key committees and leadership that it will be business as usual in South Carolina.

As hard as it may be to believe, of the 87 Representatives and 41 Senators who have served in the legislature since 2000, 67% in the House and 51% in the Senate have accepted "direct" campaign contributions from those doing the killing. But it's really much worse than that.

A significant percentage of lawmakers are accepting "indirect" nicotine revenues that are being laundered by passing through their party's House or Senate caucus committee. Here an additional $85,000 in indirect tobacco contributions were mixed with clean contributions. Factoring in those accepting these funds, since 2000, 81.6% of Representatives and 85.4% of Senators have knowingly accepted a portion of the nicotine industry's S.C. profits.

The below identified legislators reflect only those accepting "direct" contributions. These lawmakers cannot escape the reality that a portion of the funds they took were derived from nicotine sales to addicted children and teens that they swore to protect. They cannot deny that a portion of the money they pocketed was paid by the 6,000 South Carolinians who lost their lives because those charged with protecting the public health ignored their dying. They cannot deny that each and every dollar is soaked in dependency, disease, decay, dying and death.

Senator Glenn F. McConnell

Senator Glenn F. McConnell
Senate President and Chairman of Judiciary Committee

To the right is a picture of Senator Glenn F. McConnell, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and arguably our state's most powerful legislator. In that he has just accepted another round of tobacco industry contributions (R.J. Reynolds during 2004, Lorillard Tobacco Company on 01/25/04 and Philip Morris on 12/28/03) and has done so since at least 1985 (see page 15), his position as "the leader" among leaders should concern all concerned with S.C. public health, as he will again owe a portion of his re-election to the nicotine addiction business.

Will tobacco kill more South Carolinians during 2004 than killed in battle during the entire Civil War? Under Senator McConnell's 2004 Senate and Judicial Committee leadership a new law (long on the tobacco industry's prize list) was enacted officially establishing the South Carolina Tobacco Museum for the stated purpose of preserving our "rich heritage of tobacco culture." Will the museum tell the whole truth or only select facts while using our state's name as advertising to help entice additional youth and young adults to sample what may be earth's most addictive chemical?

Will Senator McConnell's legacy be that he was skilled at using history and power to enslave and cut short the dreams of tens of thousands of youth and young adults? What about their heritage? What heart would argue a need to chemically enslave them in order to create or preserve a nicotine sales job? What love would say, "it was legal to hook them, we could, so we did." What sick mind and warped logic would deny 700,000 South Carolinians neurochemical freedom from smoking nicotine (dooming roughly half to early graves) by asserting that to tax them and use the revenues to fund effective avenues of escape would violate an oath of "no new taxes"?

Top Twenty S.C. Legislators Profiting from Nicotine Addiction

Below are the twenty members of the South Carolina legislature who have accepted the most nicotine addiction dollars since 2000. Campaign disclosure statements for 2004 are not yet available online and the below rankings were made using 2000 and 2002 financial data provided by

#1 - Representative
James A. Battle, Jr.
Ways & Means Committee
#2 - Representative
Robert W. Harrell, Jr.
Chairman Ways & Means
#3 - Representative
David H. Wilkins
Speaker of the House
#4 - Senator
John C. Land, III
Finance Committee

#5 - Senator
Phil P. Leventis
#6 - Senator
J. Yancey McGill
#7 - Senator
John W. Drummond
Finance Committee
#8 - Senator
Thomas L. Moore
Medical Affairs/Judiciary

#9 - Senator
Hugh Leatherman, Sr.
Chairman Finance Comm.
#10 - Representative
Douglas Jennings, Jr.
Judiciary Committee
#11 - Representative
William Witherspoon
Agriculture Committee
#12 - Representative
Annette D. Young
Ways & MeansCommittee

#13 - Representative
Harry F. Cato
Chair Commerce & Industry
Click to read a July 21, 1997 letter in which this member begs  R.J. Reynolds to help her get re-elected.
#14 - Representative
Vida O. Miller
Education Committee
Click to read a July 2, 1997 check delivery letter from R.J. Reynolds making it crystal clear that it expects Kennedy to consider issues important to the company and that RJR will be in touch
#15 - Representative
Kenneth Kennedy
Ways & Means Committee
#16 - Representative
Thomas N. Rhoad
Agriculture Chair Emeritus

#17 - Representative
Mack T. Hines
Medical/Chairman Interstate
#18 - Representative
Jackie E. Hayes
3rd VC Medical Committee
#19 - Senator
William H. O'Dell
#20 - Representative
Tracy R. Edge
Ways & MeansCommittee

The next time you see a child or teen smoking think about "leaders" who have no moral or ethical concerns about accepting part of the money that the child spent in becoming addicted. The next time you hear about a friend or neighbor who smoked themselves to death, picture the politicians who intentionally discriminated in not spending one thin dime to provide those addicted to a legal drug with effective local treatment options, while spending tens of millions on effective local treatment options for those addicted to illegal drugs.

If those selling illegal drugs were permitted to make political campaign contributions, do you think we'd have effective treatment programs to help their captive customers break free? It makes you wonder.

This page exists so that "we the people" can hold our legislators fully accountable for South Carolina being at or near the bottom of the barrel in almost all smoking, life expectancy, and health statistics categories. It didn't happen by chance. They took an oath to protect us and far too many have chosen betrayal.

The above pictures and the below names will remain on this page until they either pledge to stop accepting contributions from those doing the killing or demonstrate a serious commitment toward nicotine dependency prevention and cessation in South Carolina.

Other S.C. Legislators Accepting a Slice of Nicotine Addiction Profits

Profit sharing following successful use of a true weapon of mass destruction, the below additional S.C. legislators felt the need to accept "direct" nicotine addiction industry campaign contributions since 2000, a period during which 30,000 of our neighbors lost their lives to smoking. Love of neighbor or love of $$$?

Senator Thomas C. Alexander Finance Committee R.J. Reynolds
Senator William S. Branton, Jr. Finance/Medical Affairs R.J. Reynolds
Senator Dick Elliott Agriculture/Judiciary Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds
Senator Robert Ford Judiciary Committee R.J. Reynolds
Senator Lawrence K. Grooms Medical Affairs Committee R.J. Reynolds
Senator C. Bradley Hutto Medical Affairs Committee R.J. Reynolds
Senator John M. Knotts, Jr. Judiciary/Agriculture Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds
Senator Harvey S. Peeler, Jr. Chairman Medical Affairs Comm. Southern Tobacco/R.J. Reynolds
Senator Glenn G. Reese Finance Committee Lorillard Tobacco
Senator James H. Ritchie Medical Affairs Committee R.J. Reynolds
Senator Nikki G. Setzler Finance Committee SC Tobacco Assn/R.J. Reynolds
Senator Linda H. Short Medical Affairs/Education Philip Morris
Senator J. Verne Smith Medical Affairs Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. John Graham Altman Judiciary Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. George Hampton Bailey Agriculture Committee Lorillard/Brown & Williamson
Rep. Kenneth A. Bingham Commerce & Industry Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. William K. Bowers Commerce & Industry Committee Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Grady A. Brown Commerce & Industry Committee Philip Morris
Rep. Joe E. Brown Chairman Medical Affairs Comm. Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Catherine C. Ceips Medical Affairs Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Converse A. Chellis III Chairman Rules Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Alan D. Clemmons 2nd Vice Chair Judiciary R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Marty W. Coates 2nd Vice Chair Agriculture R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter Ways & Means Committee Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds/B&W
Rep. Daniel T. Cooper Ways & Means Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Jeffrey D. Duncan Agriculture Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Eldridge R. Emory Agriculture Committee Philip Morris
Rep. Marion B. Frye Agriculture Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. JoAnne Gilham Education Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. C. Alexander Harvin III Ways & Means Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Jesse E. Hines 2nd Vice Chair Education SC Tobacco Association
Rep. Shirley R. Hinson Ways & Means Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Chip Huggins Commerce & Industry Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Thomas G. Keegan 2nd Vice Chair Ways & Means R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Brenda Lee 2nd Vice Chair Commerce Philip Morris
Rep. Harry B. Limehouse III Ways & Means Committee Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Lanny F. Littlejohn Ways & Means Committee U.S. Tobacco
Rep. Walter P. Lloyd Education Committee U.S. Tobacco
Rep. Dwight A. Loftis Agriculture Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. James H. Lucas Judiciary SC Tobacco Assn./R.J. Reynolds
Rep. David J. Mack III Medical Affairs Committee U.S. Tobacco
Rep. Becky Rogers Martin Education Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. E. DeWitt McCraw Ways & Means Committee Philip Morris/B&W/R.J. Reynolds
Rep. James G. "Jim" McGee III Ways & Means Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. James H. Merrill Judiciary Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Harry L. Ott, Jr. Agriculture Committee Philip Morris/US Tobacco/Lorillard
Rep. Phillip D. Owens Education Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Robert S. Perry, Jr. Agriculture Committee U.S. Tobacco/Lorillard
Rep. Lewis E. Pinson Education Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Michael A. Pitts Medical Affairs Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Richard M. Quinn, Jr. Majority Leader/Ways & Means Lorillard/Brown & Williamson
Rep. Becky D. Richardson Commerce & Industry Committee Southern Tobacco
Rep. J. Todd Rutherford Judiciary Committee Philip Morris
Rep. William E. Sandifer III Commerce & Industry Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Wallace B. Scarborough Commerce & Industry R.J. Reynolds
Rep. John L. Scott, Jr. Judiciary Committee U.S. Tobacco
Rep. J. Gary Simrill Judiciary/Vice Chair Rules R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Fletcher N. Smith, Jr. Judiciary Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr. 1st Vice Chair Judiciary R.J. Reynolds
Rep. James E. Smith, Jr. Minority Leader/Judiciary Brown & Williamson
Rep. W. Douglas Smith Speaker Pro Tempore Philip Morris/Lorillard
Rep. John J. Snow Chairman Agriculture Comm. B&W/Lorillard/RJR/SCTA
Rep. Harry C. Stille Education Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. J. Adam Taylor Judiciary Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Ronald P. Townsend Chairman Education Committee Philip Morris
Rep. Daniel L. Tripp Commerce & Industry Committee Philip Morris
Rep. Teddy N. Trotter Ways & Means Committee R.J. Reynolds
Rep. Lewis R. Vaughn Ways & Means Committee Philip Morris
Rep. J. David Weeks Judiciary Committee Philip Morris/US Tobacco
Rep. W. Brian White Secretary Medical Affairs Comm. R.J. Reynolds

I, John R. Polito, accept full and exclusive responsibility for all representations made on this page. This page's production and display has no association with any other person, organization or entity other than me. I relied upon the public records at, at and at Any error will be immediately corrected upon receipt of notice.

Any legislator can have their name immediately transferred from this wall of shame to a pledge wall by written or public promise to never again accept contributions from those profiting by chemically enslaving our youth and young adults and by destroying their health and shortening their lives.

John R. Polito
1325 Pherigo Street, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 849-9721

S.C. Industry Documents | S.C. Hall of Fame | S.C. Battle Plan | S.C. Prevention & Recovery

This page was created on June 21, 2004 and last updated on April 2, 2005 by John R. Polito