Hannah-Beth Jackson,  Republican Party of Ventura County,  Tony Strickland

Hannah-Beth Jackson Watch: Blowing Smoke Over Tobacco Company Contributions


Former Democrat California Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara

On Tuesday Jackson the Democrat nominee for California State Senate (Senate District 19) issued the following press release:

Jackson Statement on Tobacco Campaign Contributions

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Over 440,000 Americans die early, costly, preventable deaths from tobacco, and over 2,000 children begin illegal tobacco use each day. In August 2006, after a criminal prosecution extending over 8 years, the US tobacco cartel was found guilty on federal racketeering charges for “marketing and selling their lethal product with zeal, deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted,” (Judge Kessler). This same cartel spends over $1.8 million dollars a year in California in contributions to elected officials and candidates, to limit regulation of their products and stop effective tobacco control that would reduce smoking and thereby reduce the astronomical costs to the public of tobacco-related disease. It is deeply troubling to me that any candidate for public office would be complicit in so seriously undermining the public interest and public health.

In light of the extraordinary dangers posed by tobacco products and the tobacco industry’s defense of their use, I call upon my opponent in the race for the 19th Senate District to return all contributions received from tobacco companies or their representatives, including

ü the over $6,000 received directly by Strickland for Senate for the current campaign;
ü the $50,000 received by the Ventura County Republican Party which is clearly earmarked for this State Senate contest;
ü the over $85,000 which Tony Strickland campaign committees have received directly from tobacco interests throughout his career in the State Assembly

By returning the contributions, my opponent Republican Tony Strickland can reassure the public that his voting record in the Assembly was not in any way influenced by contributions from the tobacco lobby, and that he has no intention of allowing contributions to influence his legislative behavior.

· In the Assembly, he failed to vote on a measure which would have prohibited self-service sales of cigarettes or free distribution of tobacco products on publicly accessible property. (SB 1510, 2000)
· He voted against allowing the Department of Health Services to conduct stings on business selling tobacco to minors (SB 757, 2001). Passed into law anyway.
· He voted against restricting non face-to-face sales of cigarettes (SB 1016, 2003). The measure passed anyway and was signed into law by Gov. Schwartz.)

My record as a public official is clear. Tobacco Industry money has no influence on my vote. As a member of the Assembly and as a candidate for the 19th State Senate District I have not and will not solicit or accept contributions from tobacco companies. I received one of the highest scores in the legislature on tobacco control issues from independent reviews by the UCSF Medical School. As a representative of the 19th Senate District I will advocate for a return to the public health strategies first implemented in the early 90s in California, which included highly effective media communications and public education on the dangers of tobacco, and caused immediate and significant decreases in the rates of smoking among Californians.

The American Medical Association recommends that its members, state and local medical societies, to determine whether candidates for federal state and local offices accept gifts or contributions of any kind from the tobacco industry, and publicize their findings to both their members and to the public (AMA Resolution CSA Rep. 3, A-04). I urge California AMA Chapters, doctors, nurses, everyone in health related professions and in the media to carefully monitor the spending by the tobacco industry in the campaign for Senate District 19, so that the public can safely predict how their representative will vote and advocate on tobacco control related issues.

–Hannah-Beth Jackson, June 17, 2008

But, is Hannah-Beth a former attorney (she is no longer a member of the California Bar) being disingenuous at best and hypocritical at worst regarding Tobacco Industry campaign contributions?

The answer is yes.

Flap in a previous post discussed the continuing FLAP regarding tobacco industry/company contributions to the Republican Party of Ventura County and the California State Senate campaign of Republican nominee Tony Strickland.

Today, political activists who support the candidacy of Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson will be protesting these tobacco contributions outside of the Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel in Westlake Village, California prior to a Strickland fundraising event featuring former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Flap understands that the GOP will have counter protesters.

But, what are the facts about the tobacco industry and the political contributions they make?

And, has Hannah-Beth Jackson received campaign contributions indirectly from politicians who have accepted money from the tobacco industry?

The answer to the question is yes.

Are Hannah-Beth Democrat Party supporters then hypocritical in protesting Tony Strickland’s acceptance of tobacco campaign cash when both their candidate and party have accepted like contributions?

The answer is yes.

And, Flap showed that Hanna-Beth Jackson has indeed received INDIRECT tobacco company/industry contributions during this campaign cycle.

So, when she says that she ” I have not and will not solicit or accept contributions from tobacco companies” she doesn’t have to do so. The California Democrat Party,various National Democrat Party campaign committees and California Democrat Legislative leaders already have donated or loaned money to her campaign. This allows Jackson to demagogue the tobacco issue against Tony Strickland and to score cheap political points.

Let’s go over a brief history of how California Legislative campaigns are funded. Flap draws upon his experience as being a former member of the California Dental Association’s Council on Legislation and the local Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society’s Cal-D-Pac representative (CAl-D-Pac) for the legislative process history.

The California Democrat Party for decades has used an ingenious system of party committee transfers to insulate their members from campaign reporting scrutiny and to deliver needed funds to those members/candidates who either ingratiate themselves (promise to vote for the leader for various leadership positions) and/or who are in tight races with the Republicans. The transfer mechanism constitute a type of “SLUSH FUND.”

For example, long-time Democrat Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, now the former Mayor of San Francisco as well, would collect money from all the special interests with business before the California Legislature, bundle all of the contributons and then dole them out to whoever was his friend. This has been repeated over and over again for the past decade with various legislative leaders even as term limits and campaign contribution reporting and limitation laws changed.

What does this have to do with Hannah-Beth Jackson and Tobacco company/industry money you ask?

Jackson as late as her 2000 campaign for the California Assembly (her last campaign due to term limits) has been the recipient of such “bait and swich” or “hide the ball” transfers. Let’s look at her disclosure forms:


Graphics from Follow The Money

Fifty-Five per cent of the over $1 million dollars raised by Hannah-Beth Jackson came from Democrat Party transfers. The donors included the California Democrat state Party, Legislative leaders and the national Democrat Party. You can see the component contributions to the California Democrat Party here. and the graphic follows:



Remember the graphic from the previous post on federal contributions to the national Democrat Party by the tobacco industry? Here it is again:


Confused yet as to where Hannah-Beth Jackson received her previous and current contributions for the state legislature?

Why, of course, you are and that is the point.

The Democrats are masters of “hide the ball.” Jackson can berate Tony Strickland for accepting “Big Tobacco” dirty money while she receives the same, maybe a little more, or maybe a little less from the same ultimate sources.

Is this being Untruthful? Hypocritical? Disingenuous?

You bet.

Thus, the next time you see Hannah-Beth Jackson on the campaign trail, ask her why she is accepting so many “secret” or “laundered” or “sanitized” campaign contributions from Democrat Party leaders. Ask her why she is demagoguing this issue and Tony Strickland when she has received the same tobacco company/industry money?

Ask her why she is blowing smoke?

By the way, as the campaign progresses, Flap will write about Hanna-Beth Jackson’s donors and transfers. The next reporting period filing deadline is July 31, 2008. But, don’t expect the REAL money to pour into Jackson’s campaign account until October when disclosure may be lost within the midst of campaign/election season.

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