The Congressman from Philip Morris and UPS

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In June 2003 Roy Blunt inserted a provision benefiting Philip Morris in the 475-page bill creating the department of Homeland Security bill, according to a report in the Washington Post. At the time, Blunt had accepted more than $150,000 over just two years from PACs affiliated with the company. (Open Secrets lists Philip Morris as a top lifetime contributor to Blunt here.) According to the Post, the provision would have made it tougher to sell tobacco on the Internet and also would have made tougher laws against the sale of contraband cigarettes, both practices that cut into Philip Morris’ bottom line.

At the time, Blunt’s son worked as a lobbyist for Philip Morris in Missouri. And Blunt himself was involved romantically with Abigail Perlman, a lobbyist for the parent company of Philip Morris, Altria Corp. He later married her.

The same Washington Post article pointed out that in April 2003, Blunt had inserted another provision benefiting donors, this time on behalf of United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) (Blunt’s #9 lifetime donor) and FedEx Corp. This time the bill blocked the expansion of the U.S. operations of a foreign competitor. Blunt’s son represented UPS in Missouri.

In 2002, Broadcasting & Cable reported (text not available online) that the TV and entertainment industries were pouring contributions into Blunt’s campaign coffers, because Blunt, “a member of the Commerce Committee, one of the two key panels for the media industries, will be in position to influence both House leaders and the rank and file on critical legislation….Blunt's favor with Delay and Majority Leader Dick Armey helped broadcasters gain their ear in a successful bid to scale back the FCC's low-power radio service.” "He's been a conduit to leadership on a variety of telecommunications issues, " Jim May, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters, told the magazine.