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Seneca Tribe Targets Senator for Support of Cigarette Shipping Bill

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The reelection bid of freshman Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is being challenged by the Seneca Nation, which may spend $250,000 to oppose her because Gillibrand backs the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act — a measure that would ban the U.S. Postal Service from delivering cigarettes.

The Buffalo News reported Jan. 25 that the tribe, a major seller and shipper of tax-free cigarettes — is considering spending the money on a “voter education” campaign targeting Gillibrand for her stance on the PACT Act. The Seneca tribe uses the U.S. mail to ship about two-thirds of the cigarettes it sells.

Tribal officials said Gillibrand had made no effort to listen to its concerns about the bill.

“Sen. Gillibrand's No. 1 priority is economic development and the Seneca Nation is a partner to our efforts to create jobs and grow our economy,” a Gillibrand spokesperson said. “However, Sen. Gillibrand remains committed to preventing the illegal trafficking of cigarettes to children.”

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