Remember back in the late 1990’s, when the tobacco companies were sued? They were ordered to pay over $240 billion to 46 states over the course of 25 years to fund the health costs associated with smoking and chewing tobacco.
According to an article on Townhall.com, roughly $80 billion has been paid out so far, and of that amount only 30% has been spent on health care programs, while only 6% was spent on smoking cesation programs.
So where did the other 70% go? It must be sitting in escrow somewhere right? Wrong. The states have spent this money on things like museums, tax relief programs, and other non-health related programs.
The reason why, is that the states are not bound by any formula or criteria for spending the money. They essentially said to trust them to do the right thing. The right thing for who is the question we’re now left with.
It becomes a public outrage when big corporations like AIG “inappropriately” spend their bailout money to send their employees and agents on outings to Las Vegas. But when the states do essentially the same thing, no one makes a peep.
Where’s the outrage? Where are the demands to pay back the inappropriately used funds? More importantly, why aren’t the tobacco companies suing the states for the misappropriation of their funds?