Monday, June 13, 2005

Something to hide? The non-profits are slowly being exposed for their insidious role in smoking ban legislation.

Bob Davis' show referred to this story this morning, and Stub & Herbs owner Sue Jeffers sent this link to me over the weekend.

Cancer Society fined for lack of disclosure in anti-smoking ads
KENNETH P. VOGEL; The News TribunePublished: June 10th, 2005 12:01 AM

When the American Cancer Society last year paid to air television ads warning of the dangers of secondhand smoke, it didn't disclose the expenditure because, it contended, the ads weren't supporting a proposed smoking ban working its way through the Legislature.

The state's Public Disclosure Commission disagreed and the society eventually reported the money it spent on the ads.

But that wasn't enough for the commission, which Thursday approved a $3,500 fine against the society for missing deadlines to report the money it spent on the ads and other so-called "grass-roots lobbying" intended to generate support for smoking ban proposals.

According to a report from the commission's staff, "the violations are significant," since the $64,200 the commission spent pushing the smoking ban wasn't disclosed until after the 2004 legislative session ended. That means people watching the ads - some of which featured former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop urging them to ask their legislators to support the ban - didn't know who was paying for them.

The smoking ban proposals, which would have prohibited smoking in bars, restaurants and most other non-tribal businesses, failed. An initiative that would have done the same thing failed to make the ballot last year, though a similar one this year appears more likely to make the Nov. 8 ballot, thanks in part to nearly $600,000 in backing from the Cancer Society.

But the society has also missed deadlines for reporting its contributions to the initiative this year, according to the commission's report. As part of the agreement approved Thursday, if the society commits another violation or fails to meet other conditions, it will trigger an additional $4,000 in fines.

The commission Thursday also fined the American Heart Association $400 for missing deadlines to report nearly $15,000 it spent pushing the smoking bans.

And it fined Breathe Easy Washington, the group that pushed last year's failed smoking ban initiative, $400 for missing deadlines to report $8,500 in contributions it received last year.

Kenneth P. Vogel: 360-754-6093

On the NetWashington State Public Disclosure Commission:

Perhaps the organization NYC CLASH calling for a boycott of charitable contribution to these non-profits are on to something.

(Ventilation not Legislation. Proven effective by SLP study 2004 in 19 bars & restaurants)

Update: After posting this story I checked other blogs for similar coverage, check out Westover's post and note the time stamp and date on our two posts.... spooky, (no time stamps were altered).

I'd say great minds think alike, but that would be an insult to the Captain.

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