Congressman Helped Make Tobacco Institute a Force on Hill

Horace Kornegay served from 1961 to 1969 in the House before becoming a tobacco lobbyist.
Horace Kornegay served from 1961 to 1969 in the House before becoming a tobacco lobbyist. (By John Page -- Associated Press)
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Horace Kornegay, 84, a North Carolina Democrat who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and became a tobacco lobbyist, died Jan. 21 at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C. No cause of death was reported.

After four terms, Mr. Kornegay moved in 1969 to the Tobacco Institute, an industry trade group that assembled a team of lobbyists and built a reputation as one of Capitol Hill's most powerful forces. There, he continued to push back against increased taxes and regulations dogging an industry that he cast as one of the country's best.

In 1986, Mr. Kornegay ardently fought against a surgeon general's suggestion that the nation ban cigarette advertising. Such advertising "does not cause smoking any more than soap advertising causes people to bathe or detergent advertising causes people to wash their clothes," Mr. Kornegay said at the time.

He retired from the Tobacco Institute that year to join a Greensboro law firm. The Tobacco Institute was dissolved after the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement that placed specific marketing restrictions on the tobacco companies.

Horace Robinson Kornegay was born in Asheville on March 12, 1924, and raised in Greensboro. After Army service during World War II, he graduated from what is now Wake Forest University and its law school. He worked as a prosecutor for nine years before running for Congress in 1960.

His wife, the former Annie Ben Beale, died in 2004.

Survivors include three children; two sisters; and nine grandchildren.

-- From wire and staff reports

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