Last year, attorneys general across the country watched state lawmakers snatch up $207 billion in settlement money from the tobacco industry for potholes and tax refunds, often with less than 10 percent of the hard-won cash actually going to the anti-smoking programs they advocated. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and his peers envisioned campaigns to discourage underage smoking, encouraging smokers to quit and snuff out costs of tobacco use.

Now, a new wave of lawyers — led by the Connecticut firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder — is attempting to wrest the billions from the lawmakers and pay it directly to poor Medicaid recipients.

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