Committee for Responsible Solutions
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Committee for Responsible Solutions was a front group formed in February 2002 and backed financially by Philip Morris in Florida to oppose a bill that would ban smoking in restaurants and workplaces. The group was also backed by the Florida Restaurant Association, and the Florida Hotel & Motel Association and Associated Industries of Florida. The group attempted to bring a weaker, competing or alternative initiative that would erode support for the original, stronger measure. The Orlando Sentinel reported on April 17 that the group decided to drop its ballot initiative effort.
The Committee for Responsible Solutions received $360,000 from Philip Morris and pursued an effort to gather over 488,000 signatures to get a weaker alternative measure on the Florida ballot. Signature gatherers reportedly pitched the alternative measure as banning smoking in restaurants, when it would have actually continued to allow smoking. CRS continued its signature-gathering effort until a complaint was filed with Florida Attorney General by Smoke-Free for Health -- the group that filed the original, stronger measure --alleging CRS used deception in gathering signatures by misrepresenting the measure to voters. After the complaint, CRS stopped gathering signatures, and thereafter the group withdrew its effort.
- Join Together Tobacco Industry Gives Up Fight Against Florida Smoking Ban April 18, 2002. Website accessed March 25, 2008
- Boltz JJ, Philip Morris Excerpts from: Smoking petition falsely pitched, complaint claims Philip Moris email message containing news article from 4/12/02 Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Bates No.5000636578/6579
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