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Tina A. Walls

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

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Tina A. Walls, an African American woman, held the positions of Regional Manager of the Government Affairs Department at Philip Morris (PM) USA in 1986 [1]; Director of PM Government Affairs in 1990 [2]; Vice President of Government Affairs in 1995 [3]; and Vice President of Corporate Affairs at PM's subsidiary, Miller Brewing, in 2001 [4]. In 2003, Walls was Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris. [5]

In 1993, Tina Walls gave a revealing internal presentation titled Grasstops Government Relations in which she described how PM typically exerts influence over legislators.[6] Walls' presentation indicated that PM has analyzed every part of a legislator's world and misses no opportunity to exert influence, even to the point of influencing legislators through their spouses. Walls stated,

"...We also make sure that we know the legislator's -- and his or her spouse's -- favorite philanthropies and try to support them."

Walls described PM's strategy of keeping its own name out of the media by using third parties to "carry its baggage":

"...we try to keep Philip Morris out of the media on issues like taxation, smoking bans and marketing restrictions. Instead, we try to provide the media with statements in support of our positions from third party sources, which carry more credibility than our company and have no apparent vested interest..."

Walls described the third party technique:

"...we create coalitions of third party sources to help carry our baggage on issues. For example, on excise taxes, we work with state and local CARTS, the acronym for Committee Against Regressive Taxation...restaurant owners on smoking bans...retailers on the minimum age issue...and influential groups like the Association of National Advertisers on marketing restrictions."

Walls described PM's strategy of eliminating discussion of health and safety issues with regard to cigarettes by shifting the focus of discussions on these topics:

"...Finally, we try to change the focus on the issues. Cigarette tax become[s] an issue of fairness and effective tax policy. Cigarette marketing is an issue of freedom of commercial speech. Environmental tobacco smoke becomes an issue of accommodation. Cigarette-related fires become an issue of prudent fire safety programs. And so on."

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