Money Laundering at the American Legacy Foundation


The American Legacy Foundation, an organization "dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit," requires that public health schools where its grant recipients work avoid the taint of tobacco industry money. This is rather odd, says Michael Siegel, because the American Legacy Foundation itself is almost entirely funded by tobacco industry money, as a result of the 1998 agreement that settled state lawsuits against the leading cigarette manufacturers. Not only that, but the foundation is campaigning, through a front group known as the Citizens' Commission to Protect Truth (seriously), for more tobacco money, to pay for its "truth®" anti-smoking ad campaign. As Siegel notes, the commission says it "is seeking to persuade or force the tobacco companies to accede to court-supervised funding of the Public Education Fund through the Master Settlement Agreement." So at the same time that the American Legacy Foundation is declining to fund researchers at institutions that receive tobacco money, it is asking the tobacco companies for money:

Essentially, what Legacy is saying is that what Legacy is doing is so valuable that taking tobacco company money is justifiable, but no matter what anybody else is doing, taking tobacco money is completely unacceptable. When the corrupt, filthy, criminal tobacco money hits anyone else's hands, it stays corrupt, filthy, and criminal, but when it hits Legacy's hands, it is immediately purified.