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Excerpts from: GOP Whip Quietly Tried to Aid Big Donor
Provision Was Meant To Help Philip Morris
By Jim VandeHei http://www.washingtonpost.com [06/11/03]
Only hours after Rep. Roy Blunt was named to the House's third-highest leadership
job in November, he surprised his fellow top Republicans by trying to quietly
insert a provision benefiting Philip Morris USA into the 475-page bill creating
a Department of Homeland Security, according to several people familiar with
The new majority whip, who has close personal and political ties to the company, instructed congressional aides to add the tobacco provision to the bill -- then within hours of a final House vote -- even though no one else in leadership supported it or knew he was trying to squeeze it in.
Once alerted to the provision, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, quickly had it pulled out, said a senior GOP leader who requested anonymity. Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) also opposed what Blunt (Mo.) was trying to do, the member said, and "worked against it" when he learned of it. . . .
The provision would have made it harder to sell tobacco products over the Internet and would have cracked down on the sale of contraband cigarettes, two practices that cut into Philip Morris's profits. Blunt has received large campaign donations from Philip Morris, his son works for the company in Missouri and the House member has a close personal relationship with a Washington lobbyist for the firm. . .
Several Republicans who learned of the November effort have privately expressed concern that Blunt pushed the provision partly because of his personal relationship with Philip Morris lobbyist Abigail Perlman. Blunt, who several Republicans said spends considerable time with Perlman, would not discuss their relationship or whether the two had talked about the provision.
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