Dale Florio

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

Dale J. Florio was one of Philip Morris International's lobbyists who worked out of PM's New York Corporate Affairs office before setting up his own PR/grassroots lobbying business (obviously with PM's blessing). His outfit, Princeton Public Affairs then ran one of the tobacco industry's product-liability/tort reform scams -- the New Jersey CALA operations.

Florio had joined Philip Morris' domestic company, PM USA in April 1980 as a specialist In Public Affairs, and he also served as Manager of State and Local Government for Philip Morris Incorporated. [1] His previous experience was with the National Association of Manufacturers, an umbrella organisation which maintains the worst traditions of lobbying and corruption, equal, in many cases, to the tobacco industry.

Documents & Timeline

1984 Mar Copy list.   Philip Morris's disinformation executives (Smoking & Health):[2]
James C. BowlingJames Botticelli Vincent R. Clephas
Christopher Cory Michael A. DeMita Ms. Jeannine Dowling
Dale Florio William Gamble Paul Gibson
Ms. Cynthia Hammett Donald Harris Alex Holtzman
Ms. Elizabeth Hopkins Michael Irish Roy Marden
Alan Miller Frank Moreno John Nelson
Fred Newman Ms. Diana Platts Ms. Susan Puder
Ernest P. Quinby J. Bernard Robinson Timothy Rothermel
Frank A. Saunders Stanley S. Scott Ms. Mary Taylor
Andrew WhistMatthew Winokur William Ruder

Biographic details


Dale Florio holds a Batchelor of Science from Alleghany College.

Before 1980 he worked as a PR/lobbyist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

Philip Morris

In April 1980 he joined Philip Morris USA (the domestic company) as a public relations operative, and in September of that year he attended the Tobacco Institutes "College of Tobacco Knowledge" indoctination sessions. At this time he was in charge of PM's Legislative Tracking Program and he reporting to their Committee on Public Affairs and Social Responsibility. [3] He also dealt with the annual Surgeon-General's report.

In 1984 Florio was studying part-time for a Juris Doctorate (JD) at Seton Hall University, with Philip Morris paying to put him through law school. [1]. The JD qualification is a common ambition for those who see their future in political lobbying and corporate corruption. This trade-mark identifies to their clients that they can correspond freely both ways: any documents or conversations with the lobbyist as a lawyer are automatically protected from discovery in the courts by the old principle of attorney-client privilege.

By1986 Florio is a trouble-shooter dealing with anti-smoking legislation and product liability problems in the various states (at the State level) [4] [5] and handling advertising campaigns to oppose anti-smoking activities. He is also in charge of PM's side of the coordinated political-campaign funding program run through the Tobacco Institute. [6] He appears to have played an organising role in this coordination activity for New Jersey. [7]

As Director of State Government Affairs for Philip Morris in 1987 (the year he started his own PR firm), Florio oversaw lobbying activities in all 50 states. And like any clever lobbyist and covert program operator, Dale Florio culled his files and passed many of them over for destruction when he was leaving. [8]

Princeton Public Affairs

In 1987 Dale Florio cofounded an independent public relations company in Princeton with Peter J McDonough Jr. [9] who went into politics himself at a later date. They also maintained an office in Washington, and the Tobacco Institute and Philip Morris became the firm's major client. [10] They had a couple of specialities:

  • Insider information: They had some insider knowledge of the National Governor's Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National League of Cities (NLC) meetings.
  • Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse: The term CALA is both a specific and a general term applied to a range of 'pretend-grassroots' organizations (astroturfs)which were set up to oppose or limit product-liability claims. They were also trying to block the proliferation of class-actions. CALAs were established in many states, initially by Philip Morris funding which was passed through ATRA, the American Tort Reform Association. ATRA was run in the early 1990s by Neal Cohen from APCO & Associates, Philip Morris's own private grassroots lobbying firm. Some CALAs had slightly different names, but all worked to emasculate tort reform in their states.

The New Jersey CALA was controlled but not headed by Dale Florio.[2] According to Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, it was "no secret" that Dale Florio was the driver of the CALA coalition and represented Philip Morris in New Jersey.

By 1993 he was leading the Tort Reform legal team fighting against New Jersey Assembly's legislation [11] Ken Silverstein says (in March 1996): [12] [3]

Although he had no formal ties with CALA, Florio ran the outfit and the overall liability limits oampalgn, an effort which earned him $300,000 from Philip Morris.
Three other tobacco companies, American Brands, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard, tossed in $24,000 each.

In Feb 1995 Florio's company registered as a lobbyist for Lorillard. [13] It had now expanded enormously, and was coordinating the tobacco, food and retail merchants lobby and controlling the amendments to legislation being placed before the New Jersey State Assembly. [14] Judging from the way New Jersey lagged behind the other states in getting abord the "Clinton's anti-smoking bandwagon", Florio had been highly successful. A local survey found 84% of stores still sold cigarettes to minors, also. [15]

Common Cause revealed in August 1993 that Philip Morris had paid $300,000 to Florio's company over the last two years, and that the $187,000 it paid in 1993 was the largest lobbying fee paid by any firm in New Jersey. [16] Note that this was Philip Morris payments only.

The End Game

By 1997, the war between the tobacco industry and the government over the Master Settlement Agreement had shifted decidedly to Washington, and the battles at State level with the Attorney-Generals for compensation was just beginning -- but it was now a legal fight.

In July of that year, Florio wrote to an old friend David Laufer, who now ran PM's State Government Affairs lobbying division offering a new coalition of PR/lobbying companies called Winning Strategies Communications, and the services of two of his staff with long-term Washington (and media) connections: [17]

Gary Davis who heads our advertising agency was employed at one time by Bozel. In addition, Jim McQueeny, who heads our public relations agency was Senator Lautenberg's state director and remains a close advisor to the Senator as well as Senator Torricelli both of whom are on the Congressional Tobacco Task Force.
Both agencies along with our government relations firm are part of Winning Strategies Communications. We would be excellent additions to the strategic thinking of the plan necessary to deal with the future.

Leo Brent Bozell III was known by the far right as their "Media Watchdog". He was president of the (Scaife-, Olin-funded) Media Research Center [18] and a former director of the National Conservative Political Action Committee. It is not known how well they succeeded with influence through such obvious channels, or whether this would have been worth the effort. However, with the two Senators, they had less success. [19] and [20]

Their tobacco work appears to have deteriorated to the point where they were just reporting on the imposition of new local council anti-smoking ordinances. [21] [22]


  • John Sheridan of Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti who worked for R.J. Reynolds. (ex Covington & Burling)
  • Peter J McDonough was his foundation partner in Princeton Public Affairs, and he later added the title Hon. [23]
  • The Hon. John Russo also joined the partnership. Dale had lobbied for campaign contributions in 1986, and later for support of Russo's actions in the Congress. [24] [25]

Possible relatives

  • James J Florio was a New Jersey Democratic Representative in Congress who was decidedly anti-smoking. [26] [27]
- in 1976 Rep. JJ Florio was on the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce
- in 1982 he was a member of the Health and Environment subcommittee
- In 1987 he was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Competitiveness. [28]
- In Feb 1991 Jim Florio was Governor of New Jersey [29]
  • Robert (Bob) L Florio joined Philip Morris at about the same time that Dale Florio left to set up Princeton Public Affairs. There doesn't seem to be any link with the PR or lobbying work.

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search_term=Dale Florio</tdo>[Category:Tobaccowiki articles in need of cleanup]]

  1. The Times 6/12/94
  2. Princeton Times, 10/7/94. Also see Bates: 513874590 (1994 Advocate Institute Report)
  3. Peter Page and Dan Zegart,"Tobacco, asbestos firms quietly move to limit suits" The Times (Trenton, New Jersey), June 12, 1994, p1