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 cash-for-comments economist from West Virginia Tech who worked for the tobacco industry. —
John David appars to have been the only member of the network to be fired for objecting to the Tobacco Institute's sub-editing of his op-ed article, and refusing to make the required changes.
Tobacco lobbyist James Savarese and Professor Robert Tollison of George Mason University collaborated in the 1980s to provide the tobacco industry, through the Tobacco Institute, with networks of academics in various disciplines who would be willing to write and sprout propaganda material ... always provided the payments for these services were not directly tracealble to the Institute or to any of the cigarette companies.
The idea was simply that these academic 'sleepers' would be available on a cash-for-services basis when needed to counter attempts to increase excise taxes or to ban public smoking ... or just to appear as 'independent experts' at Congressional hearings and promote the industry causes.
Economist were by far the most useful of the acolyte academics because the distinction between economics and politics was never clear: so support of the cigarette companies could always be portrayed as support for free-market economics including the rights of individuals to make public choices ... small government ... or even the first Amendment to the Constitution.
The economist working for Savarese, always claim to be 'independent' 'professionals' and ' academics', and they exploited the fact that they came from some credible university. They never revealed the source of their funding in their op-eds or letters-to-the-editor.
If ever put under cross-examination, they must be able to claim (with weasel-word imprecision) that they had "never received a penny from the tobacco industry". Therefore all payments were laundered, either through tobacco industry lawyers ( usually Covington & Burling),) the principle organisers James Savarese & Associates, or through Bob Tollison's Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University.
The aim was to have, in each State, at least
willing to jump into action and write op-ed articles for their local newspaper or to appear at local ordinance or legislative hearings. Copies were always sent to any local Congressman who sat on some important (to the tobacco industry) committee.
- one academic economist,
- one academic lawyer, and
- one academic from a business management, business law, marketing or advertising discipline
The academics were always expected to wave their own and their university's credentials vigorously, and loudly proclaim their "independence' from any crass-commercial motives. And those who could boast of being 'non-smokers' were especially prized — since without this addiction, their non-dependent-on-tobacco status was thought to be proved beyond any doubt!
Unfortunately, it worked.
Some key documents
• Professor of Economics, West Virginia Tech.
1986 Jan: The early list of network economist in 1986 doesn't have the name of John David, or any entry for West Virginia.
1987 Feb 6: This is the Tollison/Saverese network list of economists recruited until the end of 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 David
Department of Economics, West Virginia Institute of Technology
Montgomery, West Virginia 25136, 304-442-3157
1987 Feb 6: James Savarese has finalised his list of compliant economists, and sends them to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. He then lists 38 existing cash-for-comment economists [39 with Tollison himself]
Previous network list: plus a few new ones.
Lee Anderson, Terry Anderson, Dom Armentano, Cecil Bohanon, Thomas Borcherding, Henry Butler, JR Clark, John David, Allan Dalton, Arthur Denzau, Clifford Dobitz, Robert Ekelund, David Gay, Anne Harper-Fender, Dennis Hein, John Howe, Wm Hunter, Joe Jadlow, Michael Kurth, Suuner LaCroix, Dwight Lee, C Matt Lindsay, Dennis Logue, Chuck Mason [Masen], Charles Maurice, Fred McChesney, Robert McMahon, Arthur Mead, Wm Mitchell, Allen Parkman, Wm Peterson, Thomas Pogue, Barry Poulson, Raymond Raab, Simon Rottenberg, Mark Schmitz, Richard Vedder, Richard Wagner
Greg Niehaus, Mario Rizzo, Roger Riefler, and Boon Yoon.
[None of these four provided any actual services, and all dropped off the list shortly after. They may have been from Savarese's 'hopeful' list, sent along just to impress the Tobacco Institute.]
1987 May: 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..
1987 May: The Tobacco Institute has instructed its Regional Directors to meet
and evaluate each Economist in their area.
They then cull the unproductive and those proving not to be good witnesses.
1987 June 22: Savarese has sent the Tobacco Institute a "Schedule of Payments — Excise Tax Op-Ed Project." It details the name and affiliation of the cash-for-comment economist, the State, the targetted newspapers, and both past and current payments — with a separate column labled "Total Earned to Date".
In WEST VIRGINIA Also there were payments to George Mason production staff ( Bob Tollison, Bill Shughart and Gary Anderson) for rewrites ($27,500) and a $5,800 payment for replacement of five economists (presumably because they were unproductive or unsatisfactory). Tollison's secretary, Carol Roberts was also paid for the final production. ($5,000)
[John] David for Charlestown Gazette —Owed $1200 — Total to date $1200
Expenses were $33,810 on top of the $40,525 paid to the network economists.
1987 July: a selected group of the economists have been commissioned to write op-eds about cutting the deficit — and to de-emphasise the value of excise taxes. Generally they follow the line of listing four possibilities approaches
In this bundle are very similar articles planted on their local newspaper in the March-April period by
- a general consumption tax (efficient but regressive)
- increased excise taxes (inefficient and regressive)
- a national lottery (regressive and competitive with State lotteries)
- increased income taxes (unpopular)
- Dwight Lee (2 of),
- Dominick Armentano (3 of),
- John Howe,
- Joseph Jadlow,
- S Charles Maurice (2 of),
- Thomas Pogue,
- Cecil Bohanon (2 of),
- Chuck Mason,
- JR Clark (2 of),
- Allen Parkman.
- Robert Ekelund Jr. (2 of),
- William Mitchell,
- Cliff Dobitz (2 of),
- Barry Poulson,
- William Hunter,
- Michael Kurth,
- John David,
- David Gay,
- Lee Anderson,
- Robert McMahon,
- Craig McPhee,
- Brian Goff (2 of),
- Dennis Logue,
- Thomas Wyrick,
- Arthur Mead,
- Richard Wagner.
[This was one of their most successful projects. Professor Dominick Armentano writes to Anna Tollison [wife of Robert] that "... the article went national"]
1987 Aug 21: Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute has prepared a consolidated summary of "Field Staff Evaluation of Economists" for his superiors, William Kloepfer and Peter Sparber. They have been asked to look at 34 of these academics. This includes an outline of their recent achievements.
Professor John David
West Virginia Institute of Technology Montgomery, WV
• Excise Tax Op Eds: Charleston Gazette — 05/20/87
Field Staff Contact: Meeting scheduled 05/28/87.
Field Staff Evaluation: None.
1987 Aug 31: Peter Sparber [Issues Manager] to Bill Kloepfer [PR head] at the Tobacco Institute:
Jeff [Rose] has done a good job of summarizing the economic consultant situation and I am attaching my copy of his report with some marginal notes. I think he should consider sending a collection of all of the published op-ed pieces to each of the consultants for the sake of inspiration.
[This memo leaves no room for doubt that these economists knew precisely who they were working for, and why they were being paid (about $1000 per article) by the tobacco industry.]
In the case of those who have not had an article accepted for publication I would like to know whether they submitted one.
The economists were visited by State [regional] tobacco staff, and subject to an evaluation of their work and their prospects. Not all measured up. Jeff Ross reported:
Two general comments from field staff warrant some consideration. Michael Brozak recommended a political orientation to prepare witnesses for potentially politicized hearings.
We agree and recommend that State Activities consider advising field staff to conduct such briefings as appropriate. Richard Scanlan suggested that an economist from the state capital city is much more valuable. We have asked Savarese and Tollison to see if they can identify a candidate.
1988 Jan 15: Jim Savarese and Associateswho are joint subcontracts with Ogilvy & Mather,has outlining the arragements for handling the economists and the labor unions for the Tobacco Institute.
Nineteen eighty-seven was a banner year for the Tobacco Institute in its fight against excise tax increases at the federal level.
He then outlines a couple of problem areas before dealing with the "Economists Program."
Through careful coalition building and effective message dissemination, the Institute was able to fight the battle on its own terms and secure a substantial victory.
In reviewing your 1988 plans, we found many areas where Ogilvy & Mather and Savarese and Associates can continue to provide services. There are also new areas where we have expertise which have not been fully explored.
Our work with the network of forty-two economists should continue into 1988. In 1987, the network was effective in producing op-eds and submitting and presenting testimony. These activities should continue in 1988. In addition, the economists network can be used for editorial board briefings, presentations at conferences and the placement of articles on this issue with major media outlets.
In order to make the most of the new opportunities for the economist network, several factors must be taken into consideration:
The opportunity exists to place economists on key economic programs, panels, and at national and regional tax policy conferences. As an addendum to this effort, it is possible to have their comments reprinted and distributed.
- only 7 or 8 of the economists within the network have the potential to make presentations to editorial boards and conferences.
- those economists selected to make presentations to editorial boards and conferences need a training program. This program may include media training through Michael Sheehan and briefings by Jim Savarese and Bob Tollison.
[Editorial board briefings involved persuading the editors and top journalists of publishing companies to meet with tobacco lobbyists, supported by these academics.]
- the editorial board program is a limited strategy with applicability mainly at the federal level with some use at the state level.
- when implementing the editorial board program, Ogilvy & Mather can assist with pitch materials, press kits, and a placement program.
They also want to commission studies. They suggest:
They also propose to work with a number of right-wing tax groups, some corrupt executives of left-wing labor groups, minority groups, senior citizens, agricultural groups, and advertising companies. They propose to sponsor conferences, and make a video on excise taxes.
- Effects of an excise tax increase on the federal budget (and its fairness)
- on bootlegging "and come up with some strong conclusions" [The conclsuions were predetermined. State excise taxes increase the number of cigarettes bought over the border from states with lower taxes. If you make high-enough assumptions, you can argue that the State will lose more than it can gain.]
- In addition, Savarese and Associates can locate a conservative economist to make the argument that there is an acceleration of government spending when taxes are increased. The program will include placement in an economic journal. [You can always find an economist willing to say anything, provide you pay him to look foolish.]
A national Excise Tax Op-ed Program will target various important members of the Congress and big businessmen (e.g. Lee Iaococca) on the National Economic Commission (NEC). The network economists will be required to target specific newspapers, and a few key political figures. The target for this member of the network is:
Targeted paper: Charleston Gazette
Economist: John David, West Virginia Inst. of Tech.
[Why selected:] Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd is from West Virginia.
1988 Mar 31: Jim Savarese is writing to Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute re the National Economic Commission (NEC) and their Excise Tax Op-Ed Project using selected members of the cash-for-comments economists network.
I have listed below areas that we should target that would be beneficial in reaching members of the NEC. Also attached are the materials that we will send out to the authors.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd is from West Virginia.
Targeted paper: Charleston Gaette
Economist: John David, West Virginia Inst. of Tech.
1988 May: Savarese has sent the Tobacco Institute a bundle of clippings of the articles planted by this and other economists in their newpapers. This is proof of service, required for payment.
John David has managed to plant "Taxes will target the poor" on the Charleston Gazette (June 29). It's the same old plea to keep cigarettes cheap so the unemployed and underpaid can smoke more.
1988 June 2: James Savarese has advised the Tobacco Institute on the current status of the "NEC Excise Tax" project. The cash-for-comments economists involved were Abrams, Armentano, Clark, Dalton, David, Davis, Howe, Logue, Maurice, Mitchell, Parkman, Sandler, Tuerck, Wyrick, and Miletello
As it now stands, 5 articles have been published, 2 articles (New Mexico and Missouri) are forthcoming, 6 articles have been submitted for publication, and 5 articles are in the revision stage. We have contacted the authors of the articles which are in the revision stage and those articles should be submitted by the end of next week.
1988 June 23: Debbie Schoonmaker at the Tobacco Institute receives a memo from contract organiser James Savarese with "an update status on the NEC Op-Ed Project: [NEC = National Economic Commission, the group they were trying to influence.]
As it now stands, 9 articles have been published, 4 articles (New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and Idaho) are forthcoming, 4 articles have been submitted for publication, and 2 articles are in the revision stage. It lists the network economists by the state in which they operate together with the academics's successes in planting articles on their principle state newspapers.
1988 July 5: A Savarese update on the NEC Op-Ed project shows that three more articles have been published by:
- Professor Thomas Wyrick in Springfield Leader-Press on Sunday June 26 1988
- Professor Allan Dalton in the Idaho Press-Tribune on Tuesday June 21 1988
- Professor John David in the Charleston Gazette, Wednesday June 26 1988
Clipped copies of a number of articles are included.
1988 July 6: /E Jim Savarese has sent the newspaper clippings of the National Economic Commission (NEC) Excise Tax Op-ed Program along to the Tobacco Institute. Following the second term of the Reagan Administration, the budget deficit had blown out to such an extent that it was obvious that the next President would need to find new revenue streams — and cigarettes were the obvious target. NEC was charged with making recommendations for deficit reduction.
The Tobacco Institute instructed their tame network economists to write op-eds for their designated local newspapers attacking the idea of increased excise taxes. These are newspaper clippings:
- Dom Armentano, Uni of Hartford (New Haven Register) "Reagan's successor must resist temptation to raise taxes."
- Burton Abrams, Uni of Delaware (Sunday News Journal) "Equitable and efficient ways to raise taxes."
- Dwight Lee, Uni of Georgia (The Atlanta Journal) "Tax increase won't cut budget deficit."
- Allen Dalton, Uni of Idaho (Idaho Press-Tribune) "Federal tax hike destined in 1989."
- Todd Sandler, Iowa State Uni (Cedar Rapids Gazette) "The Shape of Taxes to Come"
- John Howe, Uni of Kansas (The Capital-Journal) "Less spending, not more taxes, is the only real budget solution."
- David Tuerck, Suffolk University (The Boston Globe) "A sinful proposal".
- Thomas Wyrick, Southwest Missouri State (The News-Leader) "Higher taxes can't solve budget crisis."
- JR Clark, Fairleigh Dickinson Uni (Daily Record NJ) "Excise tax: Bitter medicine for economy."
- William Mitchell, Uni of Oregon (Register-Guard) "Tax increases not solution to reducing deficit."
- Michael Davis, Southern Methodist Uni (Dallas Times Herald) "Excise taxes are far from painless remedy."
- Charles Maurice, Texas A&M Uni (Houston Post) "Economic panel lets officials dodge the deficit bullet."
- John David, West Virginia Tech (Charleston Gazette) "Taxes will target the poor."
1989 Jan 11: The Tobacco Institute's Scientific Consultancy Activity 1988-89
This is an 80 page mixed bag of files dumped together [Well worth perusing]. The first document is from 1990 [ordered in reverse]
- Pages 3 to 23 begin 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.
"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."
- 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]
Professor John David
Department of Economics, West Virginia Institute of Technology
Montgomery, West Virginia
[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 April 18: Susan Stuntz (Issues Manager) at the Tobacco Institute memos 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
Economists' Network [is now] 64 Strong [and 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 lists 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.
John David is on the list for
We should start getting drafts of the op-eds around the first of the year.
[newspaper] Charleston Gazette.
1990 Feb: John David has written his op-ed for the Tobacco Institute.
2/90 Excise Tax "user fee" op-ed published in The Charleston Gazette He is now available for general consultation. (as a witness etc.)
1990 Feb 24: Clipping of an op-ed by John David which has been bylined as by "one of the Gazette's contributing columnists." It is in
The Charleston Gazette "Tax structure needs revamp." (attacking West Virginia's tax structure)
1990 May 7: The Tobacco Institute's "1991 Tax and Social Cost Plans."
This is an updated list with the current locations of each, and giving phone numbers and addresses in case the Regional or State lobbyist needs their help urgently.
- "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 David
Department of Economics West Virginia Institute of Technology
Montgomery, West Virginia 25136
1990 Aug: This long document has Media Tour records being conducted by Fleishman-Hillard. These experts are toted around the country and generate press conferences, and speak to the local media.
The Tobacco Institute now has networks for six different cash-for-comments expert types — all developed following the success of the economist's network.
The economist's media tours are to promote the Wagner and Tollison book "Smoking and the State" which attacks the Social Cost of smoking argument. It had been written for the Tobacco Institute and it was then reviewsd by many of the cash-for-comment network members with reviews planted on their local newspapers or magazines.
- economists network
- ventilation network — members (mainly ACVA/HBI and staff) — Sick Building Syndrome is the news peg.
- biological scientists network,
- academic lawyers network — mainly related to countering workplace smoking bans
- labor network (a few corrupted union officials)
- advertising academics network — saying that advertising doesn't influence children!
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, West Virginia Tech
• 2/90 Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Charleston Gazette
[Also attached is a list of Savarese's network triumphs which has the intriguing heading "Consulting Economists — Not on Philip Morris List" which suggests that PM was running a parallel operation to that of the Tobacco Institute.]
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. They are offering 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)
- Some more minor network academics, together with their recent achievements.
- Cash-for-comments legal and business academics from Savarese's network list.
- Cash-for-comments 'risk assessment' academics and promoters.
- 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
West Virginia Tech
• 2/90 Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Charleston Gazette
1990 Oct: /E 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:
Professor, West Virginia Tech
• 2/90 Excise Tax/"user fee" op-ed published in The Charleston Gazette
See page 32-5
[TI budget papers show that each op-ed still earned the economists $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 4: The Tobacco Institute's draft EPA/OSHA Strategic Plan to attack the regulators from implementing workplace smoking bans and other regulations after having assessed ETS (second-hand smoke) as a "Group A carcinogen and attributed approximately 37000 nonsmoker lung cancer deaths per year to ETS."
The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) review committee met in Washington December 4 and 5, 1990, to consider the draft risk assessment and policy guide. At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee chairman announced during a news conference that the SAB had reached a consensus that ETS is a cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. One tactic being planned to counter the expected regulation by the EPA was for the Tobacco Institute to
Commission op-eds on the economic consequences of risk assessments in general from economic consultants who have expertise in the federal regulatory process. With the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OSHA) the focus was on having the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) block the regulation of smoke, and focus instead on the whole indoor air quality question.
[This involved the labor unions, another area of Savarese's specialized lobbying skills.]
1993 Mar 23: Jim Savarese is proposing to Cal George at the Tobacco Institute a new Op-ed program.
This economist is listed as one of the proposed lucky recipients of $3,000 in largess from the Tobacco Institute for slashing out a quick op-ed. He was to submit the article to Charleston Gazette.
|Outlined below is our proposed op-ed program in opposition to the use of excise taxes to finance health care [called 'ear-marking'].|
| Op-ed article by Robert Tollison to be submitted to Wall Street Journal || $ 4,000|
|Rebuttal article by Bob Ekelund, Auburn University, to be submitted to the Birmingham News
|"Monster" tax op-ed project using twenty economists (list attached) to submit articles in opposition to using excise taxes on cigarettes to finance health care reform - to be submitted to twenty newspapers in twenty different states || $60,000|
| TOTAL ||$67,000|
1993 Aug 3: This is a series of lists dated from March to August 1993. which Savarese's staff have sent these to the Tobacco Institute. Collectively they give us a good idea as to how the network worked and how litte they managed to plant on the major newspapers (the smaller local papers were obviously easy.) However they must have seen even this as an achievement because they financially supported this network for about 8 years.
It's also interesting to observe the mechanical processes and the tight control the tobacco industry and its lawyers exerted over these academic lackies — and how easily they betrayed the public trust inherent in their position with the University. The process was:
Clearly, by 1993, many of the original network members were dropping out. The Tobacco Institute also appears to have had problems getting even those academics who stayed loyal to write articles that justified their $2000 to $3000 payments. [Perhaps some of them developed a conscience!]
- The articles were either rejected, revised or passed by Jim Savarese and his staff
- They were then sent for checking and alteration by Calvin George [Cal] at the Tobacco Institute.
- The lawyer David Reemes who worked for the industry's main Washington lawfirm Covington & Burling then cleared them for publication.
- Sometimes the articles would be returned to the economist for a rewrite if it didn't satisfy the tobacco industry's needs.
- After checking and upgrading, the revised copies were returned to the economist for onward transmission to the selected newspapers (designated by the TI). If this newspaper rejected the article, the economist was obviously free to choose a secondary market in his region.
- Copies of any published article would then be sent by the economist (with a personal letter) to two or more local Congressmen [obvioulsy without mentioning the tobacco industry's contractual arrangements.]
So despite later protestations, these are not 'independent' opinion articles. They were industry-shaped, manipulated propaganda pieces designed as advocacy vehicles to promote tobacco interests in political, media and public circles — even when they don't directly mention or promote cigarettes or smoking.
These lists are all headed
'MONSTER' Tax Op-Ed Project:
Prof. John David, Department of Economics, West Virginia Institute of Technology, Montgomery
- Mar 23 — [TI designated newspaper/s] Charleston Gazette
- Apr 9 — (No Information)
- May 12 — Received 5/10/93 — Sent to Cal 5/10/93
- May 18 — Returned for rewrite on 5/17/93
- June 2 — (as above)
- June 14— Returned for rewrite on 5/17/93
- Aug 3 — (as above)
1995 Dec 21: Savarese & Associate's Status report to Carol Hyrcaj at the Tobacco Institute on the FDA op-editorial program [Dec 8th].
As reflected in the status report, we have replaced Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Houston congressional district with three new states (California, Massachusetts and West Virginia). As you know, we have already received Robert Sexton's (California) article, as well as confirmation that the economist in Massachusetts is able to participate.Clearly some of their draft articles were not entirely satisfactory and required rewrites by Savarese's staff. The notes include some additional revealing items such as:
At this time, we are asking those economists that have published, to forward a copy of their article to their congressman/congresswoman.
[These last two were obviously a fill in for a Texas and a Wisconsin economist who had dropped out of the network.]
- Professor Cecil Bohanon — "Revised op-ed returned to economist 11/10"
- " Professor Pogue has been contacted. We are waiting to hear whether he will be able to particpate."
- Professor Kurth — "Will have op-ed to us by next week" [for checking]
- Professor Ridgway — "Will have op-ed to us in a week"
- Professor Gallaway — "Returned revised op-ed to economist 11/2"
- Professor Davis — "Returned revised op-ed 11/3"
- Clifford Fry, Resources Inc, Bryan Texas — "Had to identify new economist. Sent materials 11/14"
- Prof Charles Breeden, Marquette University, — "Had to identify new economist. Sent materials 11/14"
1996 Jan 5: This Status Report on FDA Op-ed Program is revealing about the master-servant relationship between the tobacco industry and their network economists. It lists 20 attempted newpaper plants of their anti-FDA propaganda and details about the 20 economists who wrote these articles on commission:
WEST VIRGINIA Attached in front of this document is a model letter to be used by the professors when sending a copy of their article to a local Congressman. Of course the cover letter to the Congressman makes no mention of the fact that the Tobacco Institute paid $3,000 to have the op-ed written.
John David, Department of Economics, West Virginia Institute of Technology, Montgomery
[No publication details recorded]
[Note says] "Sent materials 12/13. Notified us 1/5 that he is able to participate. [However he doesn't appear on the following list]
See also the earlier version of this report which notes which op-eds have been sent for revision before being submitted to the newspaper.
1996 Feb 23: The cash-for-comments economists network was still functioning under Savarese & Associates, and this economist was still listed as providing op-ed and Congressman-contact services for the tobacco industry. They were still trying to plant anti-FDA/Clinton op-eds on their local newspapers.
Savarese notes that he has returned David's article for revision 2/14
John David drops out of the network after nine years.
He is one of the longest active participants, although not very productive..
1996 Mar 1: The FDA Op-Ed Status Report shows that David had drafted his article and sent it to the Tobacco Institute for checking and legal clearance. However:
Based on our discussion, I sent John David (WV) a detailed memo addressing the problems with his article.
The revised article we received failed to correct many of the original problems. As a result, we have dismissed him from the program. We feel that he may have a problem with tobacco issues, but did not want to come out and tell us.
1996 Mar 8: Kelleigh Varnum, of Savarese & Associations advises Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute that:
We have located an economist to replace John David (WV). His name is Cliff Dobitz (ND). The status report reflects this addition.
Also attached is Ed Price's (OK) letter to Congressman Largent.
Doblitz was an old network contributor from North Dakota. But presumably he had not then been contracted to attack the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) which was the then-current project for both op-ed writing and contacting Congressmen.