Boehner hands out ‘tobacco checks’ on floor of House

John Boehner: For Sale To The Highest Bidder  


Republican Minority Leader John Boehner explains why he handed out bribes on the House floor

In late June of 1995 then-GOP Conference Chairman John Boehner handed out “about a half-dozen” checks from the political action committee of tobacco company Brown & Williamson Corp. to fellow Republicans on the floor of the House.

Boehner’s chief of staff Barry Jackson stated, “We were trying to help guys who needed to get their June 30th numbers up, their cash-on-hand numbers up. All leadership does this. We have to raise money for people and help them raise money.”

Boehner was forced to stop handed out the checks when two freshmen Republicans, “appalled by it,” confronted him and voiced their displeasure. Boehner’s reaction was one of tempered apology, “I thought, ‘Yeah, I can imagine why somebody would be upset. It sure doesn’t look good.’ It’s not an excuse, but the floor is the only place you get to see your colleagues. It was a matter of convenience. You make a mistake, admit it and go on. I just feel bad about it.” (Associated Press, 5/10/96)

John Boehner

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