Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going Up In Smoke

The Times Union followed up yesterday's exclusive post reporting Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand's shady ties to tobacco giant Philip Morris.

It's a brutal 1,150 word story by James M. Odato.

* Fellow Democratic Congressman Michael McNulty on Gillibrand accepting Big Tobacco contributions, and why he once returned a $500.00 Philip Morris check:

"I didn't want to take money from a tobacco company.''

* Bill Corr, Gillibrand supporter and executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, on the Congresswoman's representation of Philip Morris:

"I did not know that."

* Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California at San Francisco, dismissing Gillibrand's I-Was-Just-Following-Orders-Because-I-Was-A-Mere-Associate excuse:

"I think it's highly relevant because she was an active advocate in one of the world's biggest tobacco companies against claims that they were manipulating the nicotine delivery in cigarettes . . . "

"These are very important things she was doing for them. I think this is definitely newsworthy. If she had done this 10 years ago and hadn't gotten a nickle from them, then I'd say, 'well, she was just a junior member of the law firm.' But they consider her their pal."

* Michael Cummings of the Buffalo-based Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Gillibrand's legal ethics.

"Big law firms have other clients. You could work for somebody else."

Just a wild guess, but Congresswoman Josephine Camel and her campaign staff are not having a good day.

McNulty didn't hesitate to throw her under the bus. Anti-tobacco activists were in the dark about her Big Tobacco past. A professor of medicine from California unloaded on her. And the prestigious Roswell Park Cancer Institute was one step removed from calling her a shyster lawyer.