Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letter to Tobacco Free St. Louis Directors

Tobacco Free St. Louis Directors:

In late 2010, the St. Louis County Department of Health signed a $545,000  contract with Saint Louis University for the services of Tobacco Free St. Louis, a 5o1c3 nonprofit anti-smoking organization based on its campus. Please find the  scope of work for this contract attached. 

In exchange for $545,000, Tobacco Free St. Louis agreed to:

"Develop and implement an education and advocacy plan to educate St. Louis County Council members about the need to remove exemptions for St. Louis County's current smoke-free ordinance, which becomes effective in January, 2011.

By January, 2012, amend St. Louis County's current smoke-free ordinance to induce all workplaces, restaurants and bars."

Yet according to a statement today by Tobacco Free St. Louis Director Charlie Gatton, "Tobacco Free St. Louis (TFSTL) is a volunteer organization. Money comes from dues and fund-raising, such as the annual Trivia Night event. It IS NOT funded by the CDC grant."

If Director Gatton is right and Tobacco Free St. Louis has received no money from St. Louis County's CDC grant, then where did the $545,000 actually go and what has it been used for? $545,000 is a lot of money and should be accounted for.

Also, members of the Tobacco Free St. Louis Board of Directors have in the past week begun directly lobbying and publicly pressuring St. Louis County Councilmen at Council hearings, as well as in print, on the radio and on television, to revise existing legislation in violation of 501c3 lobbying rules. I have no desire to ever stifle free speech, but those who directly lobby lawmakers should pay taxes on their funds as do ordinary citizens seeking legislation change.,,id=163392,00.html


Bill Hannegan
Home phone: 314.367.3779
Cell phone: 314.315.3779