This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
— A short-term cash-for-comments economics professor from Kansas State University. He worked briefly for the propaganda arm of the tobacco industry. —
The cash-for-comments economists network was set up by Professor Robert Tollison with lobbyist and consultant to the Tobacco Institute, James Savarese. It's purpose was to provide propaganda and lobbying services to the tobacco industry in all 50 US States, utilizing trusted and prominent academics at the local universities. It was:
The principle organisers included the:
- Funded and controlled by the Tobacco Institute.
- Organised and influenced by the Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University and the Public Choice Society (neo-con economists).
- Operated on a day-to-day basis through Ogilvy & Mather and then by James Savarese & Associates a lobby firm based in Washington.
It employed only Professors of economics at well-known State universities, and secretly commissioned them to:
- Tobacco Institute staff — Peter Sparber, Susan Stuntz, Carol Hyrcaj, Fred Panzer, Jeff Ross and Calvin George.
- Economist organizers — Robert Tollison, William Shughart, Dwight Lee, Richard Wagner, Gary Anderson, Robert Ekelund, Henry Butler
- Organizers from the GMU Center — Anna Tollison (wife of Robert), Elizabeth Masaitis, Carol Robert
- Organizers from Savarese & Associates. — Jim Savarese, Leslie Dalton, Kelleigh Varnum
- Organisers from Ogilvy & Mather— Richard Marcus, Marcia Silverman, Patricia Milita
If they could claim to be a disinterested 'non-smoker' or even 'anti-smoking' — and " just a concerned citizen" expressing an expert academic opinion — this was seen as further enhancing their value in promoting the industry's positions and policies.
- Write op-ed articles for their local newspapers (after they had first been sub-edited and legally cleared by the Tobacco Institute). This earned them $2-3,000.
- Appear as 'independent' witnesses at local ordinance hearings, or at State or Federal legislative hearings.
- Make public statements to the broadcast or print media, or write letters to the editor supporting the tobacco industry's position [but concealing their connections]
- Make submissions to academic/scientific conferences. This could earn them $5,000.
- Write letters to their Congressmen — which had often been rough-drafted by the tobacco industry.
Some payments were laundered through Savarese & Associates, and some seem to have passed through the Center for the Study of Public Choice. Other means of hiding the sources of payment were probably via tobaco industry lawyers.
Some key documents
• Professor of Economics, Kansas State University
There are 104 documents (some multiple copies) carrying the name "Michael Babcock" in the tobacco industry archives. [A few are for a store owner with the same name as the Professor.]
1986: This is the Tollison/Saverese network list for 1986. It has 64 names, but it still doesn't cover all 50 States. Some States have two or three network members, so newspapers [and sometimes Congressmen] need to be specified for each member to ensure there is no accidental duplication.
Telephone numbers (office and home) are often included in case an urgent op-ed or ordinance hearing is needed. These are grouped by State:
Professor John Howe School of Business, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, 913-864-3536
Prof Michael Babcock
Department of Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, 913-532-7357
1988 April 25: NorthWest Airlines had just implemented the first ban on short domestic flights (formalised by the FAA on April 23rd), and the Tobacco Institute was turning out its lobbyists to convince the other airlines that smoking bans of any kind were a bad idea. The economists were central to this propaganda project.
- Michael Babcock (Kansas Uni) wrote "Good service, not gimmicks win fliers" for the Topeka Capital-Journal which suggested that Northwest was a dangerous and unreliable airline, and that it should concentrate on maintenance and safety rather than persecuting smokers.
- Michael Kurth (McNeese State) wrote "Market forces are the best way to guarantee freedom" for the Shreveport Journal. He saw it in personal freedom terms:
The political remedy to social conflict is to ban "offensive" behavior. In a democracy, that usually means the behavior of a minority. That is what the Federal Aviation Administration did when it banned smoking on all airline flights lasting more than two hours. Some air travelers were offended by the smoking of other passengers, even though the smokers were isolated in the back of the plane.
But by what criteria were their preferences elevated and satisfied over the preferences of smokers?
- Ryan Amacher (Clemson University) had "Eliminating choice failed marketplace test" He claims that the Northwest Airlines experience had been a disaster (in fact it was highly successful). He also suggests Northwest was a dangerous airline to fly.
- JR Clark (Uni of Tennessee) had "Focus on service would help airlines most" in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
- Michael Davis (Southern Methodist University) had "Smoking ban gets good test" in the Times Herald
- William Hunter (Marquette Uni) had "Airline smoking ban example of free-market conflice resolution" in the Capital Times.. He damns the Northwest policy for "failing the market test" and praises those airlines which were competing without smoking bans.
1988 Dec: At the beginning of 1988, Northwest Airlineshad successfully banned smoking on all US domestic flights. Then in April 1988 a two-year trial smoking ban on all domestic flights of less than two hours duration had been introduced by the FAA.
The tobacco industry had flown into a panic since their own polling showed that a majority of airline passengers (smokers and non-smokers) were reasonably happy with such bans. They therefore instructed the cash-for-comments network economists to write articles attacking the financial stability of Northwest, attack its safety record, and preaching the need for smoking 'tolerance'.
The resulting articles generally took the line that Northwest Airlines was suffering financially... when in fact, the ban had been generally successful. This was, in fact, a clear attempt at influencing the stock-market to put pressure on airline management.
Involved in this disinformation exercise were
[Many of the writer knew so little about the smoking ban that they confused the Northwest Airline ban with the later FAA trial.]
- Michael Babcock, Kansas State Uni (Topeka Capital-Journal) "Good service, not gimmicks win fliers"
- Michael Kurth McNeese State Uni, letters to the editor. (Shreveport Journal)
- Ryan Amacher, Clemson University (unknown) "Eliminating choice failed market test
- JR Clark, Uni of Tennessee, Martin (Memphis Commercial Appeal) "Focus on service would help airlines most.
- Michael Davis, Southern Methodist Uni (LA Times Syndicate/Times Herald) "Smoking ban gets good test."
- William Hunter, Marquette Uni (The Capital Times) "Airlines smoking ban example of free-market conflict resolution."
1989 Jan 11: The Tobacco Institute's Scientific Consultancy Activity 1988-89 This is an 80 page mixed bag of files dumped together. [Theirst is from 1990]
- Pages 3 to 23 It begins with Witness Appearances in 1988 and 1989 involving both "Indoor Air Quality experts" who work for the Tobacco Institute, and three economists [ Bob Tollison, Richard Wagner and Dwight Lee]
- Pages 24 to 31 Labor IAQ Presentations in 1988 and 1989 which involves key figures in the labor movement and a few "IAQ experts."
- Pages 32 to 39 IAQ/ETS conferences attended by tobacco industry disinformation experts in 1988 and 1989
- Pages 40 to 41 Academic and Unaffiliated Scientfic Witnesses
- Pages 43 to 53 Smokers Rights Legislation in various states.
- See page 54: Tobacco Institute "Confidential" memo on "Tax Hearing Readiness" which is their battle plan to counter earmaking of cigarette excise taxes to fund health programs. It lists a large number of organizations and a few congressmen who can be relied on to help. It also has both primary and secondary lists of economists from Tollison's "cash-for-comments" network willing to give testimony.
The Tobacco Institute's list of cash-for-comments professors and senior academics who were available to write op-eds and give evidence at Congressional hearings, etc. had grown extensively.
- Bill Orzechowski, Tobacco Institute
- Robert Tollison, George Mason University
- Richard Wagner, George Mason University
- Dwight Lee, University of Georgia, Athens
- Michael Davis, Southern Methodist University
- Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge
- William Prendergast (resource: Prendergast/Solmon papers)
- Other Network economists [see Secondary attached list below]
"Due by mid-year is a book examining earmarking and "user fees" from a public choice perspective. The treatise will contain 8-10 chapters written by respected economists, including, Henri LePage and Nobel laureate James Buchanan."
Kansas now has two:
- Prof John Howe, School of Business, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
- Professor Michael Babcock, Department of Economics, Kansas State Univers, Manhattan.
[TI budget papers show that each op-ed now earned the economists $3,000. Presentations to conferences earned them $5,000. Savarese was paid $70 to $100,000 pa for this project, and Ogilvy & Mather $250,000.]... See page 5
1989 Feb: The Tobacco Institute's report on its Communications Activities [with a a focus on blocking smoking bans on airlines] says:
The 2/9/89 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published a report on smoking aboard aircraft.
The Institute responded and issued a press release (copy enclosed). Aggressively promoting the position that the study does not support a total airline smoking ban, TI speakers pressed our position in a number of interviews with print and broadcast media. Press reports and transcripts are enclosed.
Three reviews (copies enclosed), giving Northwest Airline's smoking ban a failing grade, were published [by network members]:
- Michael Davis, visiting assistant professor of Economics at Southern Methodist University, in the Dallas Times Herald;
- William Hunter, association professor of economics at Marquette University, in the Capital Times (Madison, WI); and
- Michael Babcock, professor of Economics at Kansas State University, in the Topeka Capital-Journal.
1989 April 18: Susan Stuntz (Issues Manager) at the Tobacco Institute memoes her boss Sam Chilcote. She is sending him material previously used for a two-day "Gerry Long" presentation. He wants to use it in a shorter one-day (unspecified) briefing session.
[Gerald H Long was the CEO of RJ Reynolds who in 1988 had just taken over as Chairman of the Tobacco Institute's Executive Committee and wanted to make changes.] This document has the speaker's powerpoints, including a list of network economists divided on a State-by-State basis. Note the document is 117 pages
The outline for the Powerpoint slides is here in full, together with the names of the politicians they were required to influence. It boasts that the..
Economists' Network 64 Strong [is] Targeted to Congressional Tax Writing Committees [and utilizing the] Production of Op-Eds on Federal Tax Policy.
[List of economists]
1989 Dec 14: Jim Savarese is listing the economists taking part in their new Excise Tax Op-Ed project.
I have also listed the newspapers we plan to target and a package of the materials we are sending to the economists.
This economist is featured:
We should start getting drafts of the op-eds around the first of the year.
[to plant on the] Kansas City Kansan.
1990 Feb 16: Babcock has written another article, here in draft form. The cover note from James Savarese and Associates shows that this article had been cleared by BOTH of the main tobacco law firms, Shook Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, and by Covington & Burling in Washington DC.
[Generally the articles were cleared by the internal staff at the Tobacco Institute, and only refered to an outside lawyer if there was likely to be some legal problem.]
This draft document has a small number of additions and deletions made by the Tobacco Institute and/or its lawyers.
1990 Mar: /E Babcock's tobacco-industry article "Excise taxes — the right solution?" was published in The Manhattan Mercury.
It also appears to have been re-written and published in a slightly different form in the Topaka Capital-Journal on March 9 [presumably earning him a double fee from the Tobacco Institute]. There is no mention that this was written for the Tobacco Institute of course.
See pages 7 and 18
[As with all of the articles written for the tobacco industry by these Public Choice economists, they show exaggerated concern over the 'regressive' nature of excise taxes. They shed crocodile tears on how cigarette taxes impact on the poor [who also have higher health costs if they smoke.]
The same economist fight against health care reform and are in favour of cutting income tax rates for the rich! The inconsistency of this position doesn't seem to dawn on them.]
1990 March: Tobacco Industry — Resources available. He was responsible for
Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Topeka Capital-Journal
Clipping of article
1990 April: The monthly Tobacco Institute report for March from Carol Hrycaj who is in charge of the issues surrounding Excise Taxes, says
The consulting economist's excise tax/"user fee" op-ed program continues to generate results. We reviewed several draft articles and returned them to the authors for placement.
Published articles in March include: Dwight Lee, Macon Telegraph and News; Michael Babcock, The Topeka Capital-Journal: and Clifford Dobitz, the Grand Forks Herald.
1990 May: This is a list of the newspapers designated to certain economists on the network for another Excise Taxes article. They are to attempt to plant an op-ed article on "Excise Taxes" on this local newspapers.
KANSAS [probably a typo].
Michael Babcock, of Kansas State University has been given the Kansas City Kansas.(sic) newspaper.
1990 May 7: The Tobacco Institute's "1991 Tax and Social Cost Plans" have sections on
This is an updated list with the current locations of each, with phone numbers and addresses.
- "Social Costs" Hearings Readiness (preparation for fielding witnesses at Congressional hearings.) They list here the arguments that the Institute and its allies must be prepared to present.
- "Tax" Hearing Readiness (as above, but for excise tax increases, State and Federal)
- List of cash-for-comment network economists in each State.
Professor John Howe
School of Business, University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas 66045 913-864-3536
Prof Michael Babcock
Department of Economics, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506 913-532-7357
1990 Aug: /E Clipping of an op-ed by Babcock for the Tobacco Institute which appeared in The Manhattan Mercury "Excise Taxes — the right solution?" (attacking President George Bush I and excise taxes.)
1990 Aug: This long document has media tour records [being conducted by Fleishman-Hillard] for the cash-for-comments
The economist's media tours are to promote the Wagner and Tollison book on the Social Cost of smoking which had been written for the Tobacco Institute. and reviewsd by many of the cash-for-comment economist network members.
- economists network
- ventilation network members (mainly HBI)
- biological scientists network,
- academic lawyers nework
- labor network and
- advertising academics network
Also there is attached a list of Savarese's network economist triumphs which has the intriquing heading "Consulting Economists — Not on Philip Morris List" which suggests that PM was running a parallel operation to that of the Tobacco Institute.
This list holds the recent successes in planting op-eds on local newspapers, and a few appearances of economists at State hearings, conferences, etc.
Professor of Economics, Kansas State University
3/90 Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Topeka Capital-Journal
1990 Aug 3: Sam Chilcote at the Tobacco Institute has advised the Members of the Executive Committee of plans to develop a celebrity speakers program using academics and other expert consultants. There are offer the speakers both money and personal promotion:
[W]hile it is clear that there are a number of individuals who can and are speaking out on our issues independent of The Institute, there also is much more that could be done. There are, for example, opportunities to develop higher profiles for those individuals with whom we enjoy an existing relationship, and to increase within the media an awareness of their availability.
He then lists:
There also are a number of individuals who have been identified who do not currently have a relationship with the industry, but whose views appear to be compatible with our own. Should the Executive Committee decide that it wants to proceed with an expansion of our speakers' program, these individuals would be contacted to determine their interest in our issues.
The addition of new speakers to our program will be expensive. Most of these individuals command substantial consulting fees; media and other activity will require a new commitment of funds, although an exact amount cannot be determined until candidates have been approached.
This economist, along with dozens of others, is thought to be a potential speaker and is credited with recent achievements:
- Authors, newscasters and newspaper columnists
- Well-known politicians, political aides, White House staffers, State authorities, agency administrators, etc
- Heads of various coalition groups (American Advertising Federation. etc)
- Cash-for-comments legal and business academics from Savarese's network list.
- Cash-for-comments 'risk assessment' academics and promoter.
- Cash-for-comment experts in indoor air pollution and ventilation systems.
- Cash-for-comment academic economists + some likely allies:
- BRUCE L. BENSON, professor of economics, Florida State University and board member, James Madison Institute, a Tallahassee think tank.
- DWIGHT R. LEE, professor of economics, holder of the Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise, University of Georgia
- JAMES C. MILLER, Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, Washington; former director of OMB
- WALTER E. WILLIAMS, professor of economics, George Mason
University, Fairfax, Va.
- BOB TOLLISON, George Mason University, Center for the Study of Public Choice
- Some more minor network academics, together with their recent achievements.
Professor of Economics
Kansas State University
3/90 Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Topeka Capital-Journal
1990 August 30: The Monthly Report of Carol Hrycaj includes the news that:
Consulting economists' anti-excise tax op-eds continue to appear in print.
- Clifford Dobitz's article was published in the Bismarck Tribune;
- Michael Babcock's op-ed appeared in the Manhattan Mercury[Aug 28].
- The Indianapolis Star published an op-ed coauthored by Cecil Bohanan and John Horowitz
1990 Oct: /E A Tobacco Institute document. It lists the services that academics and secret consultants have provided to the tobacco industry during 1989 and 1990 — both as witnesses and as authors of articles and letters.
- Pages 2 - 9 — Advertising: lawyers and advertising administrators
- Pages 10 - 30 — Science and Public Policy on ETS/IAQ
- Pages 31 - 39 — Taxation
This gives the dates of each of the services, and any 'Current Projects' they may be working on:
Michael Babcock, Professor of Economics, Kansas State University
3/90 Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Topeka Capital-Journal.
See page 34
[TI budget papers show that each op-ed earned the economists about $3,000. Presentations to conferences earned them $5,000. Savarese was paid $70,000 to $100,000 pa for this project, and Ogilvy & Mather $250,000.]
See page 5
1991 Jan: /E Tobacco Institute draft plan for 1991 with emphasis on "Taxes." These are the economist-related paragraphs:
To discourage reliance on consumer excise taxes on cigarettes to meet social and economic objectives by demonstrating that excise taxes are regressive and inconsistent with fair taxation.
Goals and Tactics:
- Commission two op-ed articles in 1991 from consulting economists. As articles are published, provide to other Institute decisions for promotion and submission to appropriate policy makers.
- Conduct at least 10 presentations by consulting economists on the excise tax issue before national, regional and state tax policy conferences.
- Continue to utilize consulting economists for testimony and briefings. Expand appearances to include presentations to business clubs and the business press. Conduct media refresher courses for public speaking appearance and delivery of testimony.
- Utilize the consulting economists for an op-ed program that addresses the national earmarking issue and state specific earmarking issues. As articles are published, provide to other Institute divisions and promote to appropriate public policymakers. Use field staff network to support distribution efforts.
1991 Jan 8: Savarese has sent the current list of network economists to Carol Hyrcaj at the Tobacco Institute. It contains three new names, but otherwise is essentially the same as the old list.
The old list still includes Michael Babcock at Kansas State University..
The records on the Tobacco Institute's activities with the cash-for-comments economists network disappears after early 1991 in most cases.
They appear to have dropped most of the smaller state university professors and concentrated only on the core group.