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Transparency as a remedy against racketeering: preventing and restraining fraud by exposing Big Tobacco's dirty secrets
  1. Monique E Muggli1,
  2. Howard M Crystal2,
  3. Kim Klausner3
  1. 1Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, International Legal Consortium, Washington DC, USA
  2. 2Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, Washington DC, USA
  3. 3University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Monique E Muggli, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, International Legal Consortium; 1400 I (Eye) Street NW, Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20005, USA; mmuggli{at}tobaccofreekids.org

Abstract

The 1990s state litigation that resulted in the tobacco industry's initial document disclosure obligations fully expired in 2010. These obligations have been extended and enhanced until 2021 through a federal lawsuit against the tobacco industry over violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In this special communication, we summarise and explain the new legal framework and enhanced document disclosure obligations of the major US tobacco companies. We describe the events leading up to these new requirements, including the tobacco companies’ failed attempt to close the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository, the release of 100 000 documents onto the companies’ document websites discovered to have been publicly available at the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository but not online, and the addition of over 2300 documents to those websites, which are also now publicly available at Minnesota after being secured for years in a separate, non-public storage room at the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository. We also detail the document indexing enhancements and redesign of the University of California, San Francisco's Legacy Tobacco Documents Library website, made possible by the RICO litigation, and which is anticipated to be released in September 2014. Last, we highlight the public health community's continued opportunity to expose the US tobacco industry's efforts to undermine public health through these new search enhancements and improved document accessibility and due to the continuously growing document collection until at least 2021.

  • Litigation
  • Tobacco Industry
  • Tobacco Industry Documents

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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