TOBACCO $$ FOR ANTI-SMOKE POLS
NO matter how much some politicians enjoy bashing Big Tobacco, their pious concern for the lungs of tomorrow doesn't prevent them from accepting tobacco-stained money.
Sen. Hillary Clinton won't accept campaign contributions directly from a tobacco company, but she has no problem banking checks from the Tisch family, whose Loews Corp. is the parent of Lorillard, the maker of Newport and Kent cigarettes.
Sen. Clinton is a leading Big Tobacco-basher whose brother Hugh Rodham made a killing in the historic 1998 multi-state settlement over increased health care costs blamed on smoking.
But records show Hillary's Senate campaign received the maximum $1,000 from Loews Hotel CEO Jonathan Tisch.
Her Senate colleague Charles Schumer, meanwhile, accepted $1,000 from Loews exec and former Lorillard CEO Andrew Tisch, and another $2,000 from Jonathan and Loews co-chair Preston Tisch.
Spokesman Bradley Tusk said Schumer has never said publicly that he won't accept money from tobacco companies.
Schumer seems to feel that since he has always voted against tobacco companies, he has no qualms accepting money from them.
"He's got a 100 percent voting record against tobacco companies and I think that speaks for itself," said Tusk.
The Tisches, who own nearly one-third of Loews Corp. shares, have donated to both parties. Not only have they made donations to specific candidates, they have also given hundreds of thousands of dollars in "soft money" to the Democratic Party, according to Evan Gahr, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
"We have never said we won't take tobacco money," said Tovah Ravitz, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has accepted $20,000 from Loews CEO James Tisch, and $4,000 from his son Andrew.
"Some people are uncomfortable taking money from those companies, but others aren't. There are some that come from tobacco-growing areas," Ravitz said.
Tobacco PACs donated nearly $86,000 over the past six years to North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge, and $73,850 in the same period to Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon. Both are friendly to tobacco.
But the donations extend to the hostile northern climes of New York, according to the recent report by Common Cause and other anti-smoking groups. Democratic New York Reps. Joseph Crowley, Edolphus Towns, and Charles Rangel have accepted $7,750, $30,500, and $32,390 respectively from 1995 through 2000 from the tobacco industry.
A FORMER top officer of the Church of Scientology has launched a crusade against the organization. Arnie Lerma is sending out "Scientology Lies" postcards and has launched a web site, www.lermanet2.com, showcasing testimonials from people who have "escaped" from Scientology. Rev. John Carmichael, president of the Church of Scientology of New York, claims Lerma is disgruntled, having been "thrown out of the church because of drug use." Lerma calls the charge "bullbleep! I was never thrown out." Lerma says he left after Scientologists threatened him for planning to elope with L. Ron Hubbard's daughter Suzette.
WE HEAR . . .
THAT high society art dealer Sam Green is suing the New York Academy of Art for $2 million over a piano he loaned the school that once belonged to John Lennon. The academy unloaded it for $4,500 in 1999 . . . THAT crashers are already scheming to get aboard the Kremly Vodka cruise Wednesday on Princess World Yacht which will take VIP guests to the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's "Dralion" on Liberty Island . . . THAT Belmont Lounge owner Guy Jacobson is opening a French brasserie, Cafe Deville, in the building on Third Avenue and 13th Street where he plans to open the 100-room Hotel Regina.
THE legendary thieves of Naples lived up to their reputation when Timothy Greenfield-Sanders opened a show of his photographic portraits there recently. He waited anxiously at the gallery where 20 years worth of portraits - ranging from Orson Welles, Willem de Kooning and Allen Ginsberg to Yves St. Laurent, David Bowie, Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman - were going to be hung. The photos were en route in a truck when bandits, alerted by all the publicity and hundreds of posters featuring Lou Reed, hijacked the show. Inquiries were made. Presumably, a ransom was paid. The photos reappeared. "For me it was a happy ending," Greenfield-Sanders said. "A thousand people came to the opening night."
STORE SNICKERS OVER CATHOLIC BELIEFS
THE Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights is calling for a boycott against Abercrombie & Fitch over the tasteless humor in the sportswear chain's spring catalogue. On page 61 of the $6 catalogue - which carries a warning label advising "parental consent for readers under 18" - collegiate types are advised they can decorate their spring break rooms with "palm fronds" that can be taken "for free if you crash a Catholic mass on Palm Sunday." On page 110, a piece on cult movies warns that one viewing of "Cemetery Man" is enough, "but learning to make wry comments after bashing a dead nun's head to a pulp couldn't hurt either." Catholic League president William Donohue, who doesn't care at all for the catalogue's Bruce Weber photos of naked boys, said, "It doesn't take any guts to bash Catholics these days. Indeed, it's sport with the sexually-free crowd that A&F likes to target. In any event, we're going to give Abercrombie & Fitch some free advertising: we're going to let Catholics know exactly what the bad boys at A&F think of their religion. We'll then see who gets the last laugh."
"THE doll is the closest I have ever seen to me - and that's scary. Seeing yourself in plastic is very bizarre. I can imagine someone taking the head off, or sticking it upside down in the mud - doing the things I would do to a doll" - Angelina Jolie, who plays Lara Croft in the upcoming movie "Tomb Raider," discussing the first time she saw her action figure . . . "YOU should be proud of whatever you do. If you're not, you really shouldn't be doing it at all. I'm a very pro-choice pot smoker, and I wouldn't dream of telling my children that I didn't smoke pot. In fact, I wouldn't care if the whole world knew" - Jade Jagger in Tatler.
HIP hotelier Vikram Chatwal isn't too busy with his various ventures to do a little modeling work. The turban-topped proprietor of the Time Hotel appears in an 18-page spread in the new L'Uomo Vogue called "The Magic of Kitsch," shot by his fashion photographer pal Sante D'Orazio in Chatwal's native India. In it, the handsome hotelier, who has been linked to lots of models, is pictured draped over a couple of doe-eyed beauties, hobnobbing with local poohbahs, and dressed in the latest designer duds.
GRETHA: COGNAC CUTIE
GORGEOUS Gretha Cavazzoni hails from Modena, Italy, home of Luciano Pavarotti. But these days, this beguiling brunette is more associated with France. She's the sexy centerpiece of the ad campaign for Martell cognac. Like other mannequins, Cavazzoni is betting her flawless features will aid her acting career. The Marilyn Agency eye-catcher has appeared twice on the ABC sitcom "Two Girls and a Guy," and is the lead in the new Italian flick, "Everyman Left Is Lost."