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See New YouTube Video on the $250 Billion Backroom
November 20, 2008—The notorious tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)
was signed 10 years ago this month by 46 state attorneys general and major
tobacco companies. The deal imposed a $250 billion hidden tax on smokers
and set up a cartel between the states and Big Tobacco, all without any elected
official openly taking responsibility.
A new video by the Competitive Enterprise Institute
re-imagines the backroom deal.
>>VIEW THE VIDEO <<
CEI is challenging the tobacco
settlement in federal district court, on the grounds that states failed to get
Congress to approve the deal. Article I, Section 10 of the U.S.
Constitution forbids states to enter into compacts with one another without the
consent of Congress.
“The tobacco Master Settlement
Agreement is a corrupt, unconstitutional agreement between state attorneys
general and Big Tobacco,” said Sam
Kazman, CEI General Counsel. “It represents the highpoint of using lawsuits and settlement agreements to impose new
taxes and regulations on citizens, and it should be halted by the courts.”
In the 1990s, state attorneys
general launched massive, unprecedented lawsuits against major tobacco
companies, claiming the companies owed the states for the past costs of
treating sick smokers. The tobacco
“Master Settlement Agreement” was signed in November 1998 by 46 state attorneys
general and major tobacco companies. Four states reached separate settlement
>View CEI’s list of the Ten Worst State Attorneys General .