Policy

Boehner Joins Tobacco Company Board

Ex-Speaker likes to puff on the product

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner, center, is a longtime smoker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner has parlayed a habit into a paying gig: The longtime smoker is joining the board of tobacco company Reynolds American Inc.

The Ohio Republican will serve as a Class II director on the board’s governance, nominating and sustainability committee, Reynolds announced Thursday. Reynolds is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the second-largest tobacco company in the United States.

Boehner and another newly elected board member, Jean-Marc Levy from Europe, “bring valuable new experience and insights to the board in a dynamic environment,” Thomas Wajnert, the board’s chairman, said in a statement. Boehner smokes Camel cigarettes, a brand of R.J. Reynolds.

[Boehner's Office Has Spent $100K Since Retirement]

The company “is striving to transform the tobacco industry through innovative strategies that include speeding the decline in tobacco use among young people and reducing the harm caused by smoking,” a spokesman for Boehner said via email. “These are objectives Speaker Boehner supports and looks forward to helping RAI advance through his service on the board."

Most of the company's outside board members received a fee of $60,000 per year and 4,000 deferred stock units annually, according to the company's 2015 compensation summary.

Boehner stepped down from his leadership post and left Congress last October, after leading the Republican majority since 2011. 

He has long been considered close with the tobacco industry. He remains the industry’s second-biggest recipient of political money, dating back to 1990, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, with about $475,000.

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