Tuesday, January 11, 2005

READER RESPONSE -- Are Minnesota tax dollars being used by lobbyists ?

Posted by Craig Westover | 8:40 AM |  

Reader Mark Wernimont asks --
Are Minnesotans tax dollars being used by a not-for-profit organization to lobby in favor of one side of the issue?

What does Attorney General Mike Hatch think?

What will taxpayer's think?

Taxpayer money being used to lobby to eliminate private property rights, if anything those tax dollars ought to be used to compensate those who lose business due to bans; it's called the 5th Amendment "takings" clause and it's Federal law.
Apparently the answer is "yes." (I'm shocked.)

First Ringer, who has been following recent developments on the issue, writes --
The cynical reciprocal nature of Minnesota’s anti-tobacco funding, the subject of a previous post, returned to the weekend pages of The Strib with the news of the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco or MPAAT's, decision to award grants of up to $1.5 million ”to build citizen participation efforts to protect the public from exposure to second hand smoke.” Or more accurately, lobby public officials with public money to create smoking bans. MPAAT, funded by 3% of the massive $6 billion 1998 Tobacco Settlement, has been repeatedly told they cannot use their funds for lobbying efforts, only to build anti-tobacco awareness and fund programs to help smokers quit.
Interesting background information. Thanks to Mark for the tip.