Oregonians Against the Blank Check
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
Oregonians Against the Blank Check is a front group which was created to defeat the state of Oregon's ballot measure 50, voted on November 7, 2007. The measure would have created an additional 85 cent sales tax on cigarettes to fund health care for uninsured children in Oregon. Measure 50 was defeated thanks to $12 million in spending by Big Tobacco, led by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, that amounts to "about $3.33 for every Oregon resident, or $24 a vote", the New York Times reported. 
A press release from the national group The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids dated November 8, 2007 explains, "Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds opposed this initiative because they know that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among children, and they also know that the public strongly supports increasing the cigarette tax. These tobacco companies knew they couldn't win by arguing against the cigarette tax increase, so they spent a record $12 million to change the subject and deceive the voters of Oregon. In fact, the tobacco companies made this election about anything but the cigarette tax increase, which is the one issue they truly cared about." 
Oregonians Against the Blank Check's website's pressroom page includes an August 9, 2007, article from USA Today that details how increased cigarette taxes directly decrease smoking rates. "As Congress weighs the biggest federal cigarette tax hike in history, a USA TODAY analysis finds that higher state taxes on smokers have produced sharp declines in consumption. The amount of decline in smoking is directly tied to the size of the tax increase, the analysis shows."
The website for OABC was, according to the the Joker.com Internet domain database, registered on August 1, 2007 with the registrant listed as being the Salem, Oregon office of Public Affairs Counsel. 
Oregonians Against the Blank Check Committee
PO Box 12945
Salem, OR 97309
Email: Info AT Reject50.com
- "Big Tobacco Defeats Sick Kids" editorial, New York Times, November 8, 2007.
- "Tobacco Industry Puts Profits Before Kids in Defeating Oregon Ballot Initiative", Media Release, November 7, 2007.
- "reject50.com, Joker.com, accessed November 2007.