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."
(Dr. Koop's Signature here)
C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D.