Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tobacco Free St. Louis Warning Letter

Dear Tobacco-Free St. Louis Directors and Officers,

All this year the singe focus of Tobacco Free St. Louis has been its escalating lobbying campaign meant to induce County municipalities to pass strict smoking bans, and to force the St. Louis County Council to eliminate all exemptions from St. Louis County's Indoor Clean Air Code. This lobbying campaign has culminated
in an attempt by Chairwoman Fraser, detailed this week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to enlist a federal agency to pressure the Council on this matter:

Clearly a 501c3 educational charity such as Tobacco Free St. Louis is not allowed to devote itself to influencing legislation in this way:,,id=163392,00.html

While I do not wish to limit the speech or tactics of any group trying to influence St. Louis County government, it is wrong for any group lobbying to restrict the freedom of County businesses to enjoy the advantage of 501c3 tax-exempt status unavailable to the threatened businesses. I therefore ask that Tobacco Free St. Louis either abide by the lobbying rules governing 501c3 charities, or voluntarily give up its tax-exempt status. All I am asking for in this matter is fairness.


Bill Hannegan

Home phone: 314.367.3779
Cell phone: 314.315.3779