Philip Morris's "grasstops" government relations

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Grasstops Government Relations

This internal 1993 Philip Morris (PM) presentation offers a thorough description of the strategies PM uses to achieve its influence over American legislators. According to the document, PM has analyzed every part of a legislator's world and misses no opportunity to exert influence, even to the point of influencing legislators through their spouses:

...We also make sure that we know the legislator's -- and his or her spouse's -- favorite philanthropies and try to support them.

PM provides legislators with trips to "promotional and cultural events" in nice places. One passage in the document cites a trip given a group of American legislators to Brussels, Belgium (the information in the curly brackets indicates a sort of stage direction for the presenter, Tina A. Walls, PM's Vice President of State Government Affairs):

We make sure legislators are aware of, and invited to, promotional and cultural events funded by Philip Morris. {CITE ALEC 1992 TRIP TO BRUSSELS AS AN EXAMPLE}

The author also mentions several times PM's strategy of keeping itself out of the media by using third parties to "carry its baggage":

...we try to keep Philip Morris out of the media on issues like taxation, smoking bans and marketing restrictions. Instead, we try to provide the media with statements in support of our positions from third party sources, which carry more credibility than our company and have no apparent vested interest...


...we create coalitions of third party sources to help carry our baggage on issues. For example, on excise taxes, we work with state and local CARTS, the acronym for Committee Against Regressive owners on smoking bans...retailers on the minimum age issue...and influential groups like the Association of National Advertisers on marketing restrictions.

PM's strategy of eliminating discussion of health and safety issues by altering the focus of the issues at hand is also outlined:

...Finally, we try to change the focus on the issues. Cigarette tax become[s] an issue of fairness and effective tax policy. Cigarette marketing is an issue of freedom of commercial speech. Environmental tobacco smoke becomes an issue of accommodation. Cigarette-related fires become an issue of prudent fire safety programs. And so on.

Title: Grasstops Government Relations
Per. Author Tina Walls, Philip Morris
Date 19930330 (March 30, 1993)
Type Speech, presentation
Bates 2024023252/3265
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 14

<tdo>search_term=grasstops</tdo> Additional suggested search terms: "Grasstops program," "grasstops strategy," "grasstops influence," grasstops efforts"

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