Friday, March 23, 2007

In Memory of Cathy Sieppe

I went and did a little search to support or disprove the claim I read in one of the articles about her illness; that the tobacco settlement payola -$246 BILLION for the first 25 years - did little to help those with lung cancer.

this is what I found.

What did the states do with the money? A little bit to chew on:

Other venues that misused the funds include Los Angeles, where, according to the American Medical Association, former mayor Richard Riordan planned to use $100 million in tobacco-settlement funds to deal with lawsuits involving police corruption. In one year the tobacco state of Virginia spent about $15.5 million of these funds to cover its budget deficit. By 2001 just six states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were spending enough money on antitobacco programs to be effective, despite the fact that many of the states received hundreds of millions of dollars from the settlement for that purpose.

Meanwhile, each lung cancer receives a paltry $950 bucks per death. So, who did make out? Well, the lawyers, of course. Law firms divided up more than $20 BILLION in legal fees. And, what did they do in turn?

The settlement lawyers and firms that represented Texas alone have already donated at least $2.2 million in soft money to the Democrats since last year. Ness Motley, one of that group, has alone given $525,000 in recent soft and individual money donations to Democrats. Other firms have given at least another $900,000 to Democrats.

WHY did lawyers donate to Democrats? Because Bush, then running for office, stated tort reform as one of this goals. I like this quote:
"We're just exercising what we consider our constitutional right to elect the people who will best represent the working class," says Joe Rice, Ness Motley's folksy, Carolina-born managing partner. "These are the people who benefit from the kind of lawsuits we bring."

Like the working class people who get lung cancer? I don't think so.