Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement

Koop Urges AG To Reject Proposal

November 16, 1998

Joseph Curran, Jr.
Attorney General
State of Maryland
200 Saint Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Mr. Curran: It has been several months since we last spoke at the March press conference aimed at encouraging legislation which strengthened Maryland's lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

I was pleased to assist you on that day and indeed was proud to be a Maryland resident. I understand that you are considering joining several other states in accepting a "settlement" from the tobacco industry. This would be a grave mistake. I know from your deep personal involvement in the case that you are passionate about protecting the health of all Marylanders -- accepting a settlement now would be an egregious breach of your commitment.

Due in great part to your diligence, Maryland's case is the strongest of all the states. Yet, if you joined in the latest settlement, you would be receiving paltry cents on the dollar compared with what other states which settled individually received. Your hard work, particularly in getting special legislation passed last Spring, would be for naught.

The tobacco industry wants to limit the public's knowledge of its thievery and deception. If you decide to push on with your case, it is likely that you will not only recoup more of Maryland's money but you will also make more of big tobacco's misdeeds public.

In addition, Governor Glendening's promise of a substantial increase in Maryland's cigarette tax was applauded across the state. Residents of Maryland clearly want the tobacco industry to be held accountable for their sins -- and you, as their elected representative, now have the chance to insist that the industry get more than a slap on the wrist while they continue to reap enormous profit off of killing our children. The people of Maryland want you to say no to the settlement.

Finally, the settlement sends a signal to Congress that you accept the industry's group settlement as acceptable punishment, thereby stunting further federal legislation. And the more states that accept the settlement, the stronger that signal will be. I know that you truly care about what is best for Maryland, and I know that this settlement might be "quick" but it is no "fix."

Sincerely yours,
(Dr. Koop's Signature here)

C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D.