From the NY Times-
lawyers at Davis Polk were permitted to decline work on the tobacco cases if they had a moral or ethical objection to the work, Mr. Chang said.
So Did Kirsten turn down the work? Nah…and I know what you’re gonna say – so what – she was an attorney who represented her client.
The deal is the Tobacco dealers and their attorneys were a little closer than that -the tobacco dealers used their attorney’s status as a shield to
try to conceal scientific information that was damaging to the industry. The lawyers, for example, participated in overseeing scientific research projects that they could then keep confidential
So, when someone claims to have been “just” an attorney for tobacco dealers, it begs further questioning. Kirsten agreed to an interview with the Times; regarding her work with Tobacco dealers; then bailed at the last minute.
It was only 30 million pages of documents she also worked to keep hidden from legal review, though. So, no big deal.
Gillibrand said she became an expert in attorney-client privilege while working for Philip Morris.
I’ll bet she did, considering it was key part of Phillip Morris’ business model.
Gillibrand states she was little more than a modest junior attorney – when she actually led up her own team of associates.
She was also one of the primary contacts when Tobacco knocked on her firm’s doors.
There was also her work
on a high-level Philip Morris committee whose work included shielding certain documents from disclosure, …. alongside some of the country’s top tobacco industry lawyers.
Oh wait, I already said that.
Then there was the
Institute for Biological Research, a laboratory that Philip Morris had set up in Cologne, which has been criticized by antitobacco activists and cancer doctors. The establishment of the lab overseas, where topics of study included the role of tobacco in cancerous tumors, had allowed the company to keep conducting research there, beyond the reach of the United States government, news media and plaintiffs’ lawyers.
She learned so much about the lab that she was the person who provided Phillip Morris with questions to prep company witnesses in 1997. So – she was privy to what was going on in a lab set up for the purpose of avoiding having to expose how dangerous manufactured tobacco is, and she helped teach the boys and girls how to get by in cross examinations.
A judge cited the German lab specifically as a tool for evidence suppression.
The super-tight bond between Phillip Morris and Davis Polk, Gillibrand’s listed employer, is further evidenced by the extent to which Davis Polk handled matters far beyond..they also
advised the company on business strategy, including how to protect the image of the cigarette company and how to deal with concerns about the effects of its products.
In 1998, Kirsten was asked by Roger G. Whidden, Philip Morris’s vice president for worldwide regulatory affairs, to review a letter he wrote based on conversations with her and others regarding proposed responses to reporters about nitrosamines, a cancer-causing agent in cigarettes online buy.
the document also makes an assertion that experts say is highly misleading. The document declares flatly that the amount of nitrosamines in cigarette smoke had been reduced through filtration. That assertion was not in keeping with what was known about limitations of certain cigarette filters at the time
Kirsten claims Phillip Morris was a small part of her career. I don’t see how a client you represented for a majority of your career through two law firms can be called small. Particularly, one that demanded so much from her in so many ways. You don’t get cozy with the brass of your law firm’s whale client by doing “small” work.
Kirsten likes to point out her pro bono work, which is admirable. I’m not sure exactly how much she actually did, but I doubt it outweighs the services she provided Phillip Morris. She worked at a high powered corporate firm, not legal aid. I worked at a law firm for a few years, and there are clients you clear your desk for; then there are clients’ files that never see your desk.
People ask if or assume I have a problem with Kirsten Gillibrand…in general…no, I have a problem with discounting representing the work she did for marlboro cigarettes sale dealers as a small part of her career, when it was her career.
And not only that, but being an attorney for tobacco was more like being a consiglieri or a division chief than legal defense.
UPDATE – To those that say her congressional record on cigarette votes is all that matters. No it’s not. Her behavior prior to that matters as well. It defines who she is. She certainly hasn’t renounced her time with Phillip Morris. Her pliability predicts future behavior. She’ll be just as progressive as she has to be to maintain office and still rake in campaign money.
When one CHOOSES to represent Tobacco dealers that says something.
When one CHOOSES to work as an “attorney” for Tobacco dealers who use their attorneys as bag men, that says something.
When one CHOOSES to take Tobacco dealers’ money when other Democrats refuse it, it says something.
I find it curious that another potential primary candidate is summarily dismissed by Gillibrand supporters for supporting Single Payer, because of it’s limited chances of passage.
These very same people then choose to ignore Gillibrand’s extensive work for Tobacco dealers by using her votes on Tobacco as a blindfold, when her vote on those bills were no less politically motivated and unnecessary for passage or defeat as Maloneys’ support of Single Payer is. To further apply Kirsten’s supporter’s logic:
So, yes, of course she’s going to vote Yes on anti-tobacco bills. She and her last client know her vote is immaterial and it allows her the image of credibility. The fact is, the major Tobacco bill she voted for was also supported by Altria(Phillip Morris’ parent company). It wasn’t exactly a strong stand against her former employer. If she votes for tobacco she’s stuck in NY-20. If she votes against it, she gets to move along where she can have greater influence in shaping legislation that affects them. She’s an investment.
You see it’s not just voting for or against Tobacco specific bills. There are other issues like Medical Marijuana that negatively affect the Tobacco dealers’ market share. Where has Kirsten stood on that particular issue or others like it that don’t have Tobacco in the title but directly impact it and Altria’a products other nonetheless? Oh, that other product is alcohol…hmmm
And Altria is big business – One of her largest contributors, Law Firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett
represented various underwriters on U.S. dollar and euro-denominated bond offerings aggregating over $20 billion for Altria and its former subsidiary, Philip Morris International Inc., in six transactions over the last twelve months.
Debevoise & Plimpton who works defending Big Tobacco gave her campaign $25,0000.
Another Phillip Morris defender, Paul, Weiss et al did likewise.
Of course there are her former law firm’s who’s whale clients were Phillip Morris and Parent Altria –
Boies, Schiller & Flexner $390,784
Davis, Polk & Wardwell $212,850
Just wait until the Senate race really gets going. Not that it’s a major concern. Our Congress has proven time and time again, that campaign contributions are not an influencing factor.
Her father in law Sydney Gillibrand was the former chairman and a major shareholder in BAE Systems and AMEC. BAE and AMEC are major players in defense contracting and Oil drilling, and coal and gas.
- Ex-smoker drops Philip Morris lawsuit for $1,000
- Altria Client Services spent $3.1M in 1st qtr lobbying federal officials for tobacco company
- DOJ, Tobacco Lawyers Back in Court Over Injunction
- Many Kentucky farmers being told their tobacco is no longer needed
- Altria Group reiterates full-year earnings outlook