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.
Robert Burton ('Bob') Ekelund
[ Jr Prof]
— An economist with Auburn University who supplemented his income writing pro-smoking newpaper opinion pieces for the tobacco industry and helping Robert Tollison organise the cash-for-comments economists network. —
Ekelund was one of the tobacco industry's most valued economists through the main Tollison/Savarese network, and the organiser of his own sub-network through Auburn University in Alabama.
During the 1980s and early half of the 1990s, the Economics Department at Auburn University was virtually a lobby-shop for the tobacco industry. A group of academic economists were organized to attract tobacco industry research commissions by Robert Ekelund who working extensively for the Tobacco Institute.
In fact, with the tobacco and alcohol industry lobbying work-load that Ekelund and his associates took on (some via Ekelund & Associates) it is difficult to see how they would have had time for teaching and the normal functions of running a university department.
Ekelund's group of Auburn University economists, Richard Ault, David Saurman, John Jackson, Robert F Hebert, J Keith Watson, Mark Thornton andRichard Higginsall became highly skilled at generating scientific propaganda. They all worked diligently on a commission basis — sometimes with Ekelund and sometimes alone.
The tobacco archive index lists 2,540 documents with the "Ekelund" name (not all for Robert). A lot of these come from the citation of articles and pseudo-studies written by Ekeland specifically to help the tobacco industry create its climate of doubt and give its bribed politicians some semblance of credibility when they rejected common-sense health measures. Some of these studies were used to bolster the parallel opinions of other economists also employed as cash-for-comment op-ed propagandists by the tobacco industry. It was a cosy conspiracy involving mutual citation exchanges.
Ekelund also appears to have been closely associated with the "Wise-Use" group and with Senator W. Phil Gramm, with whom he co-authored many articles. Ekelund and Gramm were so closely associated that this must have featured strongly in the Tobacco Industry's support and long association with him.
He was also closely associated, both earlier, and at a later time, with the Texas A&M University, and with Robert Tollison, the George Mason University, and the "Public Choice" movement — all central to the cash-for-comments networks.
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!
Ekelund was particularly energetic in his pursuit of the tobacco dollar, and there was nothing about the tobacco industry that Ekelund didn't like ... and certainly no problem it faced that he couldn't find an economic reason to oppose it on the industry's behalf. Never has an industry had a more devoted servant. Most people wouldn't expect this zealous devotion from their dog.
He worked assiduously for the tobacco industry, above and beyond the call of duty. Not only did he feed generously at the teat of industry dollars, he also acquired his own sub-group of Aurburn economists.
Note: Ekelund was one of three academic economist [along with Mitchell and Parkman] who was also recruited into the cash-for-comments network of legal academics also run by James Savarese.
Ekelund's own sub-network at Auburn University included James E Long, Richard Ault, David Saurman, John Jackson, RF Hebert, JK Watson, and Mark Thonton — all from the Economics Department at Auburn University who all worked at various times for the tobacco industry.
There are a couple of Ekelund in the tobacco archives.
• Lars-Goran Ekelund (aka Lars) does physical fitness/heart research via University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
• Others in Scandinavia
Some key documents
• Lowder Professor of Economics at Auburn University, Alabama
Also credited as "Lowder Eminent Scholar at Auburn University" in 1988.
• He also ran his private consultancy RB Ekelund and Associates, 404 Blake Stã Auburn, Alabama which was used to launder tobacco industry payments [despite his exploitation of the Auburn University credentials]
See C/V page 6
• The tobacco archives register 2,500-odd documents carrying the name "Ekelund" (some of which are a Swedish researcher).
• Wikipedia carries a long puff piece on Ekelund written without mentioning his role as a tobacco industry lackey.
See a more truthful and revealing piece at SourceWatch.
| At various times Ekelund has been a visiting scholar or fellow at the Hoover Institute and policy advisor to the Heartland Institute and a consultant to The Heritage Foundation. He is also a research fellow at the Independent Institute, and an adjunct faculty member of the Mises Institute (along with his friend and close associate, Mark Thornton).
He appears rarely to have come across an uber-libertarian, unfettered free-market, Randian think-tank that he didn't wish to work for... provided the cash was available.
1940 Sep 20: Born at Galveston, Texas
1962: BBA in Economics, St Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas
1963: MA in Economics, St Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas
1967–79: Instructor-Tutor [claimed Assistant/Associate Professor], Texas A&M University
1967: Finally completed his PhD in Economics through Louisiana State University
1979: Associate Professor of Economics at Auburn University. Moved to Alabama
1981: Writing with Robert Tollison (who was at Texas A&M Uni) — reviewed by David Gay.
1982–83: Ekelund lists in his C/V "Consulting to the Bureau of Economics, FTC, Washington DC"
[At this time the FTC is at war with the tobacco industry]
1983: > 'Present' He lists "Consulting to the Heritage Foundation, Washington DC"
1983: elevated to the chair of "Lowder Professor of Economics at Auburn University."
1984: 'Present' He lists in his 1984 C/V as "Consulting for Ogilvy & Mather, PR, Washington DC" [JAMES Savarese worked for the Tobacco Institute via O&M at this time]
Also in the 1992 update of his C/V he says that he is "Consulting for Savarese and Company, Washington DC"
[But he makes no mention of the Tobacco Institute]
1984 Jan: Although the documentation is scarce, it is quite clear from that available that the Cash-for-Comments Economists Network had begun to operate by this time.
Kenneth Greene and Harold Hochman had originally joined forces with James Savarese to help the Tobacco Institute lobby in New York State. Then Robert Tollison and Richard Wagner, who had been working for the international ICOSI organisation, had then transfered over Tobacco Institute control to expand the network to other US States.
1984 July: (or slightly earlier) Ekelund appears to have been recruited around this time for the Savarese/Tollison cash-for-comments economists network.
1985 Jan 31: Hurst Marshall has distributed this Tobacco Institute list of economists from the cash-for-comments network. It has been organise by State, and includes the names of Congressmen they wish to influence.
Attached for your information are the names of economists who have been identified by PR to assist TI on the federal cigarette excise tax issue. This economist will be detailed to make the contact with Congressmen [by sending him/them the published op-ed]:
These people are also available to testify at the state level.
If you feel that this type of witness can be of assistance to you on state cigarette tax issues, please contact Fred Panzer for details and arrangements.
Please notify your lobbyists as to the availability of these people. At the same time, you may wish to ask them for their ideas or suggestions for other economists within their states.
ALABAMA (Rep. Flippo)
• Professor Robert B. Ekelund, Jr
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
1985 Jan 31: A Tobacco Institute list of about sixty economists from the cash-for-comments network. It has been organise by State, and includes the names of Congressmen they wish to influence. This economist will be detailed to make the contact [by sending him/them the published op-ed]:
The details of the politicians the economist has been detailed to contact are:
ALABAMA (Rep. Flippo)
Professor Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
1985 Feb 21: Roger Mozingo of the Tobacco Institute is sending his state directors a list of resources available to fight against excise taxes in their states. Robert Ekelund heads their state list of available economic witnesses for Alabama.
1985 Mar: Tobacco Institute document "Federal Markets" on the likely allies the industry has in opposing the earmarking of cigarette excises for healthcare.
Positive Actions by Local Allies:
Academics: Professor Robert Ekelund (Auburn University) wrote an op-ed article on tax reform that appeared in the Huntsville Times on March 3 (newspaper in home district of Ways & Means Member Flippo). Copies were sent to Flippo. [Congressman Ronnie G Flippo]
[This was one of two articles this year. A later list shows he published another for the Tobacco Institute in Alabama's Huntsville Times — circulation 63,000.]
|Genuine opinion... or fabricated propaganda?|
|There should be no question that these were genuine expressions of economic opinions rather than confecting distortions. Membership of the network ensured that these economists were factional warriors of the 'unfettered free-market' type.
But we can question what prompted this sudden urge to express their views... and whether this was part of a well-paid outreach program aimed at supporting the tobacco industry?
The chanting of the mantra "These opinions are my own." loses validity when commercial promotion of dangerous substances is the intent, and when payments for these services is concealed.
1985 Mar: Tobacco Institute document "Federal Markets" on the likely allies the industry has acquired to oppose the earmarking of cigarette excises for healthcare. It also includes a record of their successful activities in each state
Positive Actions by Local Allies:
Academics: Professor Robert Ekelund (Auburn University) wrote an op-ed, article on tax reform that appeared in the Huntsville Times on March 3 (newspaper in home district of Ways & Means, Member Flippo). Copies were sent to Flippo.
See page 4
See Success List
1985 Mar 18: Congressman Ronnie G Flippo writes to thank "Robert" Ekeland for...
... contacting my office and sending me your suggestions for tax reform.
It is a standard brush-off letter. However Ekelund sends a copy to the Tobacco Institute as proof of his activities.
I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughtful comments and recommendations. It is very helpful to me to have the benefit of your insight and advice on this matter.
1985 Mar 20: -23 [The report is dated Dec 18 1984] Jim Savarese, as subcontractor to Ogilvy & Mather, has set up seminars for some of the industry's cash-for-comments economists under the auspices of the Southwestern Social Science Association and the Eastern Economic Association. Jim Savarese writes to Trish Milita of O&M who refers this to the Tobacco Institute:
Attached are the panel sessions that were accepted by both the Southwestern Social Science Associations and the Eastern Economic Association in March, 1985.
[There can be little doubt as to what is meant by "their mission", and it is inexcusable for a genuine academic of this standing to submit a paper, about to be presented to an academic conference, to a PR company for vetting in advance of the conference.
These are very strong academic panels and add a great deal of depth to our list of consultants for future use.
I know all of these individuals personally except for Henry Butler who is a friend of Bob Tollison's at Texas A&M. They all understand their mission and will be submitting papers for us to review well in advance of the meetings.
This is lobbying... pure and simple. These are lobbyists, not economists.]
All of the speakers here were employed by the tobacco industry to promote their Social Cost and Taxation agendas.
- The SouthWestern Social Science Association seminar run by O&M in Houston (Mar 20) was on "Taxation and Social Process. It had Robert Ekelund in the chair, and papers by Henry N Butler, Joseph M Jadlow and Richard E Wagner. Keith Watson was a discussant.
- The Eastern Economic Association seminar, run by O&M in Pittsburgh (Mar 21) was on "Perspectives on Tax Reform". It had Robert Tollison in the chair, and papers by William Shughart, Gary Anderson, and a joint paper by John Bowman/Michael Pratt. The discussant was George Hoffer.
1985 Apr: /E The Tobacco Insitute files contain a copy of the March 3 article and a summary with key quotes [which may prove useful in future articles or submissions.]
- "...the current personal and corporate income tax system leads to a distortion of production by diverting resources from productive efforts toward avoidance of taxes."
- "Armies of lobbyists are employed by industries to get special loopholes from Congress."
- "Excise taxes on tobacco products are highly regressive in nature and are known to have little effect upon consumption. This means that the burden of them falls heavily on the lower and poverty income segments of society..."
- "..government generally provides no corresponding services in return for cigarette tax."
1985 May 29: Fred Panzer writes to other issues-executives at the Tobacco Institute praising the success of the Op-ed Article Project on Excise Taxes.
So far, sixteen op-ed pieces of twenty-three submitted have either appeared or have been accepted for publication.That's a..700 batting average!
The authors of these clippings are Thomas Pogue; A James Heins; Paul Menchik; Domenick Armentano; Todd Sadler; Joseph Jadlow; Henry Butler; Fred McChesney; Ryan Amacher; Robert Ekelund Jr; who all parade their university credentials, and who all forget to mention that the Tobacco Institute paid them to write these columns.
We're looking for about 35 of our economists to participate. They're the ones in states represented on the two tax writing committees of Congress.
Attached are clippings of ten of the articles:
Des Moines Register, Chicago Sun-Times, Muskegon Chronicle, Hartford Courant, Caspar Star-Tribune, Tulsa Tribune, Austin American-Statesman, Atlanta Journal, Greenville (S.C.) News, and Huntsville (Ala.) Times. You may agree that it would be a natural follow-on to arrange for sending the article to the approriate member of the state legislative tax writing committee. This would help create the impression that we have more support "out there" than expected. If nothing else, the exercise would give our lobbyists more credible and positive material to leave behind with state legislators.
[This a variation in what became known as a 'Big Chill' tactic of letting legislators know that you had the money and power to challenge them in campaigns and Congress if they didn't fall into line.]
1985 June 30 to Sep 6: The Tobacco Institute have arranged the weekly syndication of a series of Opinion pieces, comparing statements of four economists (varied weekly) on various subjects. These have been picked up and run by newspapers; presumably in the belief that they are worthy articles of economic opinion. The economists quoted are:
[It's great to see newspapers publishing such a diversity of economic opinion!]
- K Celese Gaspari (Uni of Vermont) — a cash-for-comment economist
- David N Laband (Uni of Maryland) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Fred McChesney (Emory Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Dean Tipps — nominally a union official — actually Citizens for Tax Justice lobbyist
- Allen M Parkman (Uni of New Mexico) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Richard Vedder (Ohio Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Roger Faith (Arkansas State Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Lee Alston (Williams college) — a cash-for-comment economist
- William Hunter (Marquette Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Dennis Logue (Dartmouth College) — a cash-for-comment economist
- William Shughart (George Mason Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Harold Hochman (City Uni of New York) — a cash-for-comment economist
- David Wilhelm (Citizens for Tax Justice) — think-tank lobbyist
- Joseph Jadlow (Oklahoma State Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Robert Ekelund (Auburn Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Thomas Borcherding (Claremont Grad. School) — a cash-for-comment economist
There's also published articles on tax reform by Todd Sandler (Uni of Wyoming); Michael Crew (Rutgers Uni); Robert Ekelund (Ashburn Uni); Joseph Jadlow (Oklahoma State Uni); Ann Harper-Fender (Gettysburg College); Thomas Pogue (Uni of Iowa); Lee Alston (Williams College), Paul Menchik (Michigan State Uni); Henry Butler (Texas A&M Uni); Burton Abrams (Uni of Delaware)
1985 June 6: James Savarase & Associates has submitted its bill to Peter Sparber at the Tobacco Institute. The billing shows that some economists were paid via Robert Tollison, and that an Emory University Symposium had been held with Congressman [Wyche] Fowler.
TOTAL A/C was for $56.733.81
- Robert D. Tollison (includes services of four economists and expenses) Completion of 40 States' Economist List. . . . . .  . . . . $6.055
- Emory University Symposium with Congressman Fowler (Robert Tollison and Fred McChesney + $1,500 to Emory Law School). . . . . . . $10,006
- Public Choice Society Session. . . . . . . . . . . Total $17,326
- Robert Tollison ($6863),
- William Shughart ($2908),
- Fred McChesney ($2748),
- Thomas Borcherding ($3033)
- Dwight Lee (DRL Inc) ($1773)
- Op-ed Project Professional Fees and Expenses. . . . . Total $23,346
- Robert Tollison (also laundering payment to four economists) — $15,346
- A James Heins, Richard Vedder, Todd Sandler, Ryan Amacher, Joseph Jadlow, Henry Butler, RN Ekelund, Fred McChesney — (each $1000)
1985 June 21: James Savarese submits his bill to the Tobacco Institute for the academics who have written articles or made speeches for the Tobacco Institute.
- Op Ed Project — $1000 each in 'professional fees'
for Abrams, Alston, Armentano, Harper-Fender, T Anderson, Denzau, Bohanon, Jadlow, Wagner and Menchik.
- Southwest Social Science Meeting — Houston
- Keith Watson ($1,000),
- RB Ekelund Jr ($2,003)
- Joseph Jadlow ($2,605),
- Richard Wagner ($2,716)
- Robert D Tollison ($5,000)
- Henry N Butler ($2,070)
- Eastern Economic Assoc, Meeting — Pittsburgh
- George E Hoffer ($1,431)
- Gary M Anderson ($2,450)
- Robert D Tollison ($6,375)
- Bill Shurghart III ($2,529)
- Michael D Pratt ($1,288)
- John H Bowman ($1,000)
1985 Aug 1: The Tobacco Institute report and backgrounder on the Excise Tax Issue includes copies of his articles
1985 Sep 3: Another Ekelund article is published in the Huntsville Times: "The Forgotten Taxes: Excise Taxes Hit Poor the Hardest". The Tobacco Institute has a copy of the article and has extracted some key quotes for later use.
1985 Sep 6: Acey at the Tobacco Institute has sent a bundle of newspaper clippings along to their printer/copier.
Enclosed are 15 original newspaper clipings (don't lose them!) some in better shape than others.
We'd like these articles on seperate sheets so the lobbiests (sp) can make up their own individual packets. They will also be including some publications too.
This brings us back to the infamous Tax Folder... To hold all these clippings, publicatiosn and information on tax articles.
Size should be a 9 x 12 folder to fit in a 9x 12 envelope. You know what I mean. Good looking folder, not too slick. Articles should be in black & white.
[This economist's article is to be circulated.]
1985 Sep 10: Congressman Flippo replied to Ekelund with a "Dear Robert" letter thanking him for his input on tax reform.
You were thoughtful to take the time to share your comments with me. It is very helpful to me to have the benefit of your insight and advice about this issue.
You may rest assured that I will pass your recommendations along to my colleagues. Again, thank you for providing me with the benefit of your views.
1985 Nov: The Tobacco Institute's Public Relations Resource Catalogue ["compiled for field staff and lobbyists"] for this year concentrates on defeating restaurant smoking bans.
Local economists are available to provide economic testimony on the public smoking issue.
Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed on the potential cost to Government of implementing smoking restrictions.
Robert B. Ekelund Jr
Lowder Professor of Economics
Auburn University, Auburn, AL
1985 Nov 6: Ken Arnold of Ogilvy & Mather PR writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute.
Fred, here is a summary of the Economist Op-ed and Economic News Service projects.
This chart list all the important Congressmen they want their economists to influence, including:
With regard to the Economist Op-ed project, we have submitted a total of 34 op-ed articles, and 18 of them have been published. Recent articles appeared in the Huntsville Times on September 11, by Robert Ekelund and in the Providence Journal on October 25, by Arthur Mead (see attachments).
Enclosed is a revised op-ed chart, indicating House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committee Members impacted to date and the circulation of each newspaper publishing the articles. In most cases, the papers are the largest in the targeted district.
Congressman Ronnie Flippo
Huntsville Times (c. 63,000)
March 3 and September 1
Professor Robert Ekelund
Economic News Service:
Ogilvy & Mather appear to have organised a separate syndication system for economic articles which did not carry the names of the cash-for-comments academics, but which were simply distributed to these newspapers as if they were news. However, the titles show that they were carefully crafted to suit the local prejudices and interests — so they were probably written anonymously by the same academics..
1985 Dec 12: Annual Report of the Tobacco Institute's Public Relations division lists him as having:
We believe that the active and creative use of experts — our scientists in particular — gives us an edge. But without question, public smoking is our toughest challenge.
A close second is taxation. In 1985, most of our resources in this area were focused on the federal situation.
That being the case, we concentrated almost exclusively on the home districts and offices of the 56 members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees.
We identified and utilized economists from universities in 48 of those districts. Some testified at the four federal tax hearings in which had interest. Others participated in academic symposia attended by Congressional staffers. Others communicated directly with their Congressmen.
And 34 of them wrote op-ed articles on the need to consider excises as part of tax reform. Many of these articles appeared in the principal newspaper in the targeted districts which have, by our estimation, a total circulation of nearly 4 million.
The economists were of great help. [SNIP]
Professor Robert Ekelund (Auburn University) wrote an op-ed article on tax reform that appeared in the Huntsville Times on March 3 (newspaper in home district of Ways & Means Member Flippo). Copies were sent to Flippo,
1985 Dec 19: The Wall Street Journal runs an overview of President Reagan's tax-plan reform, which he and the Democrats had pushed through the House, and which was now in the hands of Senator Packwood - who promised that a Senate version would be delivered by the following August. Reaganomics was back on the track.
1986: Co-author with Robert Tollison on a book "Economics" (Boston: Little Brown & Co)
1986 Jan: Public Relations Resources Commitee of the Tobacco Institute lists him in their Resource Catalog as a witness for hire.
Robert B Ekelund Jr, Lowder Professor of Economics, Auburn University, Auburn, AL He is avilable either as a "Public Smoking: or as a "Taxes" witness. As such he will
"explain why excise taxes are regressive and unfair to consumers and unsuitable and unreliable as a means to increase the federal revenue."
Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed on the potential cost to government of implementing smoking restrictions.
1986 Jan: The Tobacco Institute's Public Relations Resource Catalogue for their Regional Directors, lists documents, booklets, article, posters and people who can help them fight local public smoking ordinances and threats to raise the excise taxes on cigarettes.
It provides a long list of economists who are willing to speak at hearings, write letters to the editor, or create op-eds for the newspapers to counter any threat to public smoking or possible increase in excise taxes.
The Tobacco Institute offered their Regional Directors the C/Vs of all of these economists, and said
"Requests for economists should be made ASAP. Allow at least one week. PR approval needed." He is listed [along with 50 other economists] as a contact in:
He is available on two weeks notice as a witness for hire.
- Robert B. Ekelund. Jr.
Lowder Professor of Economics, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Public Smoking/Witness: Local economists are available on two-weeks notice to provide economic testimony on the public smoking issue. Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed on the potential cost to government of implementing smoking restrictions.
Tax witness: [He will] "explain why excise taxes are regressive and unfair to consumers and unsuitable and unreliable as a means to increase the federal revenue."
Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed on the potential cost to government of implementing smoking restrictions.
1986 Apr 3: This is an approved copy of the letter on "New Research Proposals" that Jim Savarese sent to his long list of network economists. This letter leaves no doubt that these academic economist knew that they were being paid to protect the interests of the tobacco industry.
The economist were also being given outline "rebuttals" developed by Tollison and Wagner to help them in writing their counter-attacks to an an Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) anti-smoking report.
I would like to thank you for all of your cooperation and diligence in handling the projects we have worked on together. I am taking this opportunity to alert you to some new research opportunities that may be available in the upcoming weeks. The scent of possible research money on top of the op-ed writing must have generated substantial academic enthusiasm. Ekelund is listed as one of the recipients of this letter on the "Brainstorming - Research Ideas" project. And his name has been ticked, indicating that he has replied with a proposal.
As you know, the tobacco industry is exposed continuously to a barrage of attacks on economic issues. Many of these attacks involve a serious perversion of the concept of social cost. The Tobacco Institute is interested in considering research proposals which would establish a much more realistic examination of the social cost issue as it relates to the smoking issue.
I have attached a report prepared by the staff of the Office of Technology Assessment which is representative of the kind of "research" being put forth by anti-tobacco activists. I have also included the rebuttals developed by Bob Tollison and Richard Wagner to the OTA report.
The Institute would like to examine proposals for research that test, in a quantitative way, a number of propositions on the relevant cost considerations that apply to the smoking issue.
If some aspect of this interests you, please provide me with a brief (1-2 page) description of any project you have in mind by April 30. Please include a cost approximation.
1986 April 16.: Robert Ekelund writes to "Jim" [James Savaese] about
"your memo of April 3, 1986 regarding new research opportunities relating to the tobacco question.
They wanted $45,000 for a three month effort.
I am enclosing a research proposal developed by me, Richard Ault and John Jackson entitled "Is Absenteeism Related to Smoking? An Empirical Study" for your consideration.
I think that an answer to that question would be a valuable handle on which to rebut the conventional wisdom that it is. However, as we note in the prospectus, it does not relate directly to the question of whether the suggested "cost" is individual or social.
To do a first-rate job on this subject requires a theorist (Ault) and an empirical man (John Jackson is probably the best practicing econometrician I have ever known).
I have estimated very high on the budget, but this can be adjusted in any way you think appropriate if you decide you like the project. No matter what, we appreciate the opportunity you have given us to throw our hat in the ring.
[This exceptional study could be tailor-fitted to any budget the Tobacco Institute was willing to throw their way! It was entirely open-ended]
The original proposal by Ekelund, Jackson and Ault was for a study titled:
"Is Absenteeism Related to Smoking? An Empirical Study"
The name later changed subtly to
"Is Absenteeism Due to Smoking? An Empirical Study"
Don't confuse this with the later study done in 1990 called
"Smoking & Absenteeism"
which had the above three authors plus Saba and Saurman (all from Auburn University)
1986 May: /E A Tobacco Institute list of "Schedule of Payments - Excise Tax Op-Ed project" (April-May 1986) lists those academic economists who have already planted their article on a local newspaper, and the amount they are to be paid (generally $900 to $1100). However a number still have not completed their commission.
The George Mason (Uni) production staff of Bob Tollison, Bill Shughart, and Gary Anderson were paid for "rewrites, editing and research, 18 articles", and Carol Robert for the "production of final product. " A total of $18,000 + $1067 expenses [or $1000 per article to make them into saleable propaganda for their local newspapers]
Ekelund at Alabama has been given the target of planting his article on the Birmingham News and was due for payment of $900.
A later Schedule of Payments increases this amount by another "$1100.00 — Paid in Full"
The GMU production staff were also being paid another $9,500 for rewrites, editing and research on 9 additional articles, while Savarese seems to have been charging $5,800 + $235 in expenses for recruiting replacement economists in California, Montana, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.
1986 May: A bundle of 72 pages of information is being circulated by the Tobacco Institute to its Regional Directors. The data is predominantly on the tobacco-industry beat-up known as Sick Building Syndrome and on the general problems of Indoor Air Quality [all down-playing the effects of smoking in confined spaces]
Section 1 is headed
List of sources. Local and national experts you can call for quotes or background information. It promotes the services of three specialist lobbyists
They have also provided a list of the 52 Professors of Economics from various State Universities who can be called on to provide services for roughly $1000 a time: This economists name and address are included under "Tobacco & Taxation (listed by state, alphabetically)".
- Lewis Solmon - an academic who discounts problems of workplace smoking
- Al Vogel - who claims to be an expert in public attitudes to smoking
- Mike Forscey, a labor lawyer/lobbyist who helped the tobacco industry keep the union movement on-side.
1986 May 16: Jim Savarese and Bob Tollison have reviewed the "Social Cost' (OTA) research proposals received and they suggest to the Tobacco Institute those that "Merit Consideration for Funding:"
Although these can be improved in some regards to ensure they are most useful to the industry, three proposals seem to have a good deal of merit. They also want some revised and re-submitted:
- "Is Absenteeism Related to Smoking? An Empirical Study" by Robert Ekelund, Richard Ault, and John Jackson. This is a solid, well thought out proposal. I think they could show that smokers are not more absent from work, other things equal.
- "The Relevance of Consumption Benefits from Smoking: An Empirical Assessment" by Dwight R. Lee and Phillip A. Cartwright. This is a good proposal to estimate the benefits of smoking, which, strangely enough, has never been done. This research will be quite useful.
- "Employment Effects of Smoking Bans in Public Accommodations" by CM. Lindsay and M. T. Maloney. This is an interesting proposal about smoking bans and the impact on restaurants.
They propose rejecting the Kurth-Coats proposal; the Lindsay-Maloney proposal; and one from Henry Butler.
- "Improving the Accuracy of the Assessment of Social Cost Associated with Smoking" by Barry W. Poulson.
[There is also a scathing criticism of the Kurth-Coats project and heavy criticism of one from economist Cotton Lindsay. They have gone back to Henry Butler to give him a chance to revise his proposals. Dennis Logue, Barry Poulson and the Cartwright & Lee proposal also aren't up to the standard required.
On the whole, the economist's network scored fairly low by their standards.]
1986 May 30: Fred Panzer of the Tobacco Institute was contacting British-American Tobacco's PR executive, Tom Humber [also Burson-Marsteller and National Smoking Alliance] sending him some of the examples of the network economists.
Enclosed are: (1) The first wave of 27 op-ed reprints, (2) A second wave of 32 op-ed articles (21 published and 11 unpublished), sent out on Packwood's first tax reform proposal.
He also lists 21 of the economist (including this one) and provides copies of many of their recent articles.
I've also included one on the Chase [Economtrics] study. There are a few others being rounded up, as well as a syndicated excise tax feature series we developed. Out of all this should come something useful for your people.
1986 July 9: Robert Ekelund's private economists network at Auburn University is now well established, and it is jointly attacking the decision of the General Service Administration to ban smoking. They say they are bothered by economic considerations only:
- Our general concern is that the costs of such a regulation will ultimately fall on taxpayers.
- The most obvious costs of the regulation are those for physical alterations to the several thousand buildings that will be effected by the regulation. We would imagine that No Smoking Except in Designated Areas" would have to be placed at all entrances, and that "Smoking" and 'No Smokirrg" signs would have to be posted throughout GSA-controlled buildings.
- A major cost of this regulation would result from a loss in productivity of federal workers.
- Implementation of this regulation would require a great deal of time by
administrative personnel. The regulation would of course lead to disputes
which would also involve valuable time of both employees and administrative
- In addition the regulation will be disruptive and lead to discrimination against minorities and low income employees.
[For some reason, this 'cost-benefit analysis' left off all the benefits — both for the workers and the building maintenance...?]
The signatories were Robert B Ekelund, Richard Ault, David Saurman, John Jackson, RF Hebert, JK Watson, and Mark Thonton — all from the Economics Department at Auburn University — and all, independently, members of the cash-for-comments network in subsquent years.
Ekelund was the lead economist here.
Ekelund was also seconded by Savarese to fill in gaps in his cash-for-comments legal network, made up of compliant academic lawyers from various state universities
1986 Aug 12: James Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute who has complained that the tobacco industry needs more academic lawyers willing to provide comment in the media in support of the industry. They are beginning a new project, and so Savarese deals with the top man rather than the middle-manager level (Peter Sparber and Susan Stunts). This must be an extension of some previous project — perhaps the beginning of the Tobacco Ad-ban project — and, as with the academic economists, they want at least one paid-behind-the-scenes lawyer on-call in each state.
The idea is to have these academics promote the tobacco industry's causes by writing op-ed articles for their local newspapers, and acting as 'independent' witnesses at State legislature hearings or local government ordinarnce hearings, etc. Their academic [rather than crass-commercial] status is the important factor. Savarese writes:
There are 19 people on the list, 16 are lawyers and 3 are economists. The three economists are Bob Ekelund in Alabama, Bill Mitchell in Oregon, and JR Kearl in Utah.
We have used both Ekelund and Mitchell on other projects with the Tobacco Institute.
- Professor Ekelund is an expert on the economics of advertising and knows the law.
- Professor Mitchell is a political scientist tuned into the constitution and an expert on first amendment arguments.
- Professor Kearl is probably the only person in Utah who will make these arguments.
We are still having problems with New Jersey but have calls in to several people. I'll let you know as soon as we get someone there. As you can see, the majority of these people are new with the exception of Ekelund, Parkman, and Mitchell. They all understand the issue and will be on call should we need them.
This is an extension of the economists networks and uses some of the same cash-for-comments academic economists (even though they are not lawyers). Savarese also attaches the annual report from the Public Choice Center at George Mason University.[This was Tollison's money-laundry service]
1986 Aug 12: The second network run by Savarese was that of academic lawyers at various law and business colleges who were willing to work under-cover for the tobacco industry. His initial list included three economists
enclosed is the academic lawyer list. There are 19 people on the list, 16 are lawyers and 3 are economists.
[The two copies of this list of cash-for-comments lawyers have minor differences, probably reflecting the date of recruitment of the academics. See both below.]
We are still having problems with New Jersey but have calls in to several people. I'll let you know as soon as we get someone there.
As you can see, the majority of these people are new with the exception of Ekelund, Parkman, and Mitchell. They all understand the issue and will be on call should we need them.
- ALABAMA, Professor Robert Ekelund, Dept of Economics, Auburn University [Also economists network]
- Los Angeles/Southern California — Professor Donald P Lyden (Woodland Hills, CA) Don is a business law professor at California State University at Northridge
- San Diego — Lloyd R Cohen, JD. PhD — California Western School of Law, San Diego.
- COLORADO, Professor John C Ruhnka, University of Colorado, Graduate School of Business Administration, Denver
- FLORIDA, Professor Marvin Newman — Rollins College in Winter Park, Clearwater,FL
- ILLINOIS, Professor Randy E Barnett, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago
- IOWA, Professor Paul Lansing — Department of Industrial Relations, Phillips Hall, University of Iowa
- KANSAS, Professor Douglas Whitman — University of Kansas School of Business, Lawrence KS
- MARYLAND, Professor John A. Gray — Loyola College, School of Business and Management, Baltimore,
On vacation until 8/18/86
- MICHIGAN, Professor Steven B Dow— Michigan State University, Dept of Business Law, East Lansing/Detroit
- MINNESOTA, Dr David A Reese, Gustavus Adoiphus College, St Peter, MN
- NEW JERSEY/Camden/Rutgers, Professor William Clarritt — Rutgers University, Department of Business and Accounting, Newark, NJ
- NEW MEXICO, Professor Allen Parkman — School of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, [Also economists network]
- NEW YORK
- New York City, Anthony Wiener, Professor of Management, Polytechnic University of New York, Brooklyn
Tony will be out of the country during August. He was very enthusiastic about the free speech arguments. Harvard J.D., with strong economic emphasis in his teaching and research.
- Rochester, Professor George M Sullivan — Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Business, Rochester, NY
George would like to see a legal brief on the subject he is arguing.
- OHIO/Cincinnati, Prof Richard Nathan, Ohio State University, Columbus ohio
- OREGON, Professor William Mitchell — Department of Political Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, [Also economists network]
Bill will be in Washington in late August for the American Political Science Association meetings. He would like to go to lunch with us on August 28.
- PENNSYLVANIA, Professor John Bagby, State College, PA
John is a business law professor at Penn State, which is about halfway between Pittsburg and Philadelphia.
- UTAH/Salt Lake City, Professor JR Kearl — Department of Economics, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Jim is Mormon, so he has a problem with most Tobacco Institute issues; however, he says he would probably be comfortable with a 1st Amendment op-ed on the advertising ban.
- TEXAS, D Bruce Johnsen— Department of Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
1986 Aug 29: The Wall Street Journal carries a Letter to the Editor by Robert Ekelund and David S Saurman (credited as President Ekelund and Associates)
We vigorously protest the arguments by Joe B. Tye for a ban on cigarette advertising (editorial page, Aug. 5)..
They trot out the old shibbolith that an ad ban would block the promotion of 'safer' cigarettes.
Advertising is only one factor — and in aggregate terms not a very important factor — in explaining total cigarette consumption.
|1986-87 Tobacco Advertising projects|
| 1986 Sep 27: The New York State Bar Association enacted by overwhelming voice vote, a resolution to ban-any form of media advertising of tobacco products. This was the second serious attempt to ban tobacco advertising from the press (first two years earlier).
In the same month, columnist Jack Anderson reported that the ACLU had struck a secret deal with the tobacco industry. They had struck a deal where the tobacco industry was to pressure its ally, Sen Jesse Helms (R-NC), into dropping his planned amendment outlawing dial-a-porn phone calls. The pornography measure which the ACLU opposed, would be attached to a privacy bill protecting citizens from electronic surveillance. In exchange the ACLU would openly support the tobacco industry's 'Constitutional' right to retain advertising.
James Savarese was immediately asked to recruit a number of academic lawyers who would be willing to lend their support in opposition to any advertising bans on 'Constitutional' grounds.
This is only one small part of a massive project funded by both tobacco, advertising and publishing interests, in what was known as the Freedom to Advertise Coalition (FAC)
1986 Dec 1:
An internal Tobacco Institute memo from Anne Duffin
The first of what could be multiple 1987 advertising hearings could occur as early as mid-January in the Senate, a week later in the House. Hearings in the House are more likely, however, in February or March, unlikely in the Senate in the near future. But we must explore options quickly and adopt an overall plan.
She anticipates a well-resourced attack on the industry from Reps Waxman and Synar
TI has neither manpower nor funds to develop and utilize all of the following resources. Nor do I recommend we try to do so.
1986 Dec 16: Jim Savarese
But all should be considered and preparations taken for action, depending on what sorts of restrictions are proposed in coming months,: and by whom:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Freedom of Expression Foundation
[founded by Senator Bob Packwood and run by UCLA Professor Craig Smith]
- Tobacco lawyers, Covington & Burling, and TI staff are working with a task force of AAAA, AAF and ANA Washington executives [all advertising agency groups] to head off the NYSBA resolution on its way to New Orleans [annual conference] in February and/or win affirmative action from ABA.
- Placement of op-ed page articles and letters to editor by law-oriented professors of business in target cities and states, with judicious distribution of reprints Status
Twenty-plus such professionals have been identified and ready to start. Awaiting amunition on all-text regulation from Covington [& Burling], and draft copy from Ogilvy & Mather, due Dec 15.
- Jean Boddewyn [Baruch College, CUNY] is also working on another possible op-ed piece and [C&B's David] Remes will investigate editing down [Roger] Blackwell and/or [Scott] Ward's Aug 1 testimony [at Congressional hearing] for other articles.
writes to Anne Duffin
at the Tobacco Institute:
Attached are three prototype Op-Editorials that address the advertising issue. I realize that some of the arguments made will not be acceptable, but I wanted to see exactly how far we could push.
In-addition, these prototypes are too lengthy for most newspapers and need to be cutback.
I have also attached a page of quotes from which excerpts can be drawn.
Please let me know how you want to proceed.
- Advertising Ban On Tobacco: A Costly Economic Mistake
- Economics, Free Speech, and the Cigarette Ad Ban
- An Advertising Ban On Tobacco: A Threat To Freedom
1986 Oct 3: A Tobacco Institute report on the economists network, lists the Congressmen they are expected to influence, and the economist's various academic specialities.
This early list is probably the most detailed of all. A later section of this 43 page document also runs through the 28 main states giving the names and details of witnesses willing to speak to legislators on Taxes (almost exclusively economists), and those available as witnesses for the tobacco industry on Public Smoking issues (economists and a range of others)
A major effort had also been made recently to enlist fire officers and brigades to counter demands for a 'fire-safe' cigarette which had low ignition propensity.
ALABAMA, (Rep. Flippo)
[Economist:] Professor Robert B. Ekelund, Jr, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 205-826-5186
[Speciality:] Public utilities regulation; regulatory agencies and regulatory.processes.
| Tax Witnesses: ||Materials available|
|Robert B Ekelund Jr|| Alabama data card|
"Excise Taxes: The Fairness Issue"
"More Taxes on Tobacco...."
Earmarking topic sheet
Letter writing brochure.
| Media Relations: |
|Contacts are in place in Birmingham and Montgomery. Contact Bill Toohey for assistance.|
1986 Oct 3: The State Directors for the Tobacco Institute have been reviewing all economics network witnesses in their territories, and culling those who are not actively participating. The Washington DC office is now circulating to its State Directors a list of the economists available who...
"...have been identified in several states by J. Savarese as available and hopefully capable to testify in our behalf, or aid in our defense against proposed state of local legislation, from an economic aspect. This list differs from others in providing a list of the economic specialities of each network economist, along with the Congresmen they were designated to influence. He is listed as specializing in:
ALABAMA (Rep. Plippo)
Professor Robert B. Ekelund, Jr
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 205-826-5186
Public utilities regulation; regulatory agencies and regulatory processes.
1986 Dec: /E A Tobacco Institute propaganda booklet "Is Absenteeism Due to Smoking? An Empiracle Study" on smoking restrictions says:
Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., and fellow economists at Auburn and San Jose State Universities [Ault and Jackson], found most studies on absenteeism to be flawed because they are "incapable of determining whether higher absence rates by smokers are attributable to smoking or to other factors such as gender and job type which differ between smokers and nonsmokers and which affect absence behavior."
In a recent study, the economists note, "attempts by employers or by government policy to reduce absenteeism by changing smoking behavior will not succeed." In fact, such policies may have the opposite effect. They further note, "To the extent that they result in reduced job satisfaclion, they may cause workers to be absent more often."
1986 Dec 8: Sam Chilcote is summing up the Tobacco Institute's activities in fighting the Packwood Tax Plan which attempted to impose special excise taxes on tobacco, alcohol and fuel (in the oil crisis years) to reduce use. Packwood also wanted to make these taxes and tarffs non-deducatable for federal income tax purposes.
The document bundle (219 pages) includes:
- Pages 2 to 34: A major study done for the TI by Policy Economics Group
- Pages 35 to 50: Another major study commissioned from DeSeve Economics for the Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (CART) [funded by tobacco to act as a front]
- Pages 51 to 57: A couple of papers done for Covington & Burling
- Pages 58 to 100: A long document which has deliberately NOT included the name of the organisation which produced it within the document itself. (But done by deSeve Economics Associates Inc).
- Pages 101 to 129 : A paper on the "Burden of Tobacco Taxes on Selected Demographic Groups"
- Pages 130 to 144: Some booklet trying to rabble-rouse the Hispanic and Black communities and make them believe Packwood is attacking them racially.
- Page 145 to 177: A Citizens for Tax Justice 'poll' on attitudes. and Coalition Against Regressive Taxation document
- From Page 178 on: many of the op-eds they have had published in newspapers by the cash-for-comment academic economists,
There are a number of pieces by Ekelund in this pile of newspaper cuttings, and also see pages 210 to 219 of the bundle which have multiple Letters-to-editor/commentary from 17 cash-for-comments economists — William Hunter, Dennis Logue, William Shugart, Harold Hochman. David Wilhelm, Joseph Jadlow, Robert Ekelund, Thomas Borcherding, K Celeste Gaspari, David Laband, Fred McChesney, Dean Tipps, Allen Parkman, Richard Vedder, Roger Faith, Lee Alson, and William Hunter,
They had obviously managed to plant these multiple-author pieces on a number of newspapers.
1986 Dec 11: James Savarese sends Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute a summary of the activities of his network of economists. This is effectively the beginning of the main cash-for-comments economists network.
There are now 62 names on the list (Some states have 4 or 5) not counting himself and Bob Tollison. The details given for each consist of State, Regional Division [of the TI], Name, Address and Telephone number. Added to this is a list of the 'Projects' they have completed (in later lists, also the names of Congressmen they have contacted.)
I have attached a list of all the economists we have used along with the projects they have worked on in behalf of the Tobacco Institute.
Virtually all of these cash-for-comment academics have been generating op-ed articles for newspapers, or have, in some unspecified way, opposed the Packwood Excise Tax plan — or perhaps helped fake up one of the 'Chase' [Econometrics studies]. A few participants have attended Congressional or government inquiries ['Treasury I') or local ordinance hearings as 'independent witnesses' while secretly acting for the tobacco industry. Two of the 64 members (Ann Harper-Fender and Gary Anderson) were acting termporarily as advisors to Ronald Reagan's Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations— which sought to bring pressure on the FDA, EPA and OSHA and stop them being pro-active with smoking bans.
Other participants have been promoting the industry line at various academic conferences and fora [mainly as keynote speakers at economic society meetings] , and a few of the core-team were involved in brianstorming sessions with members of the tobacco industry looking for new angles for their PR, and for possible research project which might generate some economic propaganda for the industry.
Many of them have joined in with the industry's orchestrated letter-writing campaigns opposing workplace smoking bans.
- GSA = Government Services Administration.
- 'Ways & Means' = Congressional committee on finances
- ALEC = American Legislative Exchange Council (a formalised way for big business to directly influence Congressional and State politicians)
- Chase Econometrics = A company that did economic impact studies for the tobacco industry in various locations to 'prove' that smoking bans would destroy local economies.
The references for this network member were:
Alabama [Region VII]
Professor Robert B. Ekelund Jr.
Lowder Professor of Economics, Economics Department, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36831, 205-821-1404
- original excise tax op-ed
- brainstorming/research proposal
- academic forum
1987 Jan 6: -12 Jim Savarese advises the Tobacco Institute that some economists were no longer working for his network. However Ekelund is still being listed as their main Alabama economist-for-hire.
In order to keep this project straight with respect to the economists, we were specifically assigned to go back to all 42 names on the original list to check to see if the economists were still interested in working for us, still in the same state, and available to meet with representatives from state activities.
[The invoice is missing, and he gives no details of the current project.]
We have 34 who fit this criteria and have been contacted. The list is attached. The states that we once had that are currently missing are Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The attached invoice covers the project of re-contacting the original 42 economists and coming up with the present 34 people.
An internal memo within the Tobacco Institute explains to Regional Directors why they had had Savarese check on availability:
The primary purpose of this contact is to determine if a given economist is capable of testifying effectively before a legislative body.
They have been informed that someone from TI will be in contact with them.
We request that an initial contact be made by telephone immediately. Please let me know when this initial contact has been made. Personal meetings should be arranged and completed no later than May 1, 1987.
1987 Jan 6: Savarese is charging the Tobacco Institute $3,200 to update the cash-for-comments economists list (with Ekelund still active)
1987 Jan 6: Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute about the new cash-for-comments lawyers network.
Attached are the three op-ed articles and the current lawyers list. As you know, the Institute has paid for the lawyer list. These three op-eds were sent to Anne and you before the holidays. The attached invoice is for production of the three pieces.
['Anne' is probably Anne Duffin, but could be Anne Tollison.
Production of three advertising opinion editorials..... $3,000
The list is the same as the longer version above.]
1987 Feb 6: James Savarese has finalised his list of compliant economists, and sends them to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. It lists all the familiar cash-for-comment economists
Old faithfuls: 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.]
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:
Prof Robert B Ekelund Jr.
Lowder Prof of Economics, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36831, 205-821-1404
1987 Mar 17: The Status report on the Tobacco Ad-Ban project has numerous comments about the editing, changing and submissions of the various cash-for-comments lawyers involved in this scam. [See actual]
They are still filling in some important states in the network:
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — We are working to find a good academic-minded lawyer in the state of Pennsylvania. Anna Tollison, who signs herself "Assistant to Mr Savarese" has updated the Status Report. For this member she writes:
(Ekelund) 3/31 — Sent back to TI for second approval
1987 Mar 31: Savarese writes to Fred Panzer about the Tobacco Ad-Ban Project
I have attached clean copies of the Ruhnka and Dow articles which incorporate your changes. They have been returned to the authors for newspaper submission.
I have also attached the Ekelund and Kindt articles which have been revised and retyped. I'll await legal clearance from you on these.
1987 Apr 13: A list of quotes excerpted from major newspaper editorials and op-eds from the TI's cash-for-comments economists about the Packwood tax plan.
The Birmingham News, April 13, 1987
"Efficiency, fairness, and traditional Arneridan principles all make the case against an excise tax increase."
Robert B. Ekelund, professor of economics at Auburn University
1987 Apr 14: Jim Savarese sends payment details for the "Tobacco Ad Ban Project" to the Tobacco Institute.
| ALABAMA ||Ekelund|| Montgomery Adv.|| $400 |
|LA Herald Ex.|
San Diego Union
| COLORADO|| Ruhnka|| Denver Post || —|
| FLORIDA||Newman||Orlando Sentin|| —|
| INDIANA||Lanfvardt||Indianapolis St|| —|
| ILLINOIS||Kindt||Chicago Tribune||$400|
| IOWA||Lansing||Des Moines Reg.||$800|
| KANSAS||Whitman||Kansas City Star||$700|
| MARYLAND||Gray|| Baltimore Sun || — |
| MICHIGAN||Dow|| Lansing St. Jrnl || —|
| MINNESOTA||Reese||St. Paul Pioneer || —|
| NEW JERSEY||Clarritt||Newark Star|| —|
| NEW MEXICO||Parkman||Albuquerque Jrnl || —|
| NEW YORK||Weiner|
| (not spec.) |
| — |
| OHIO||Eagle||Toledo Blade||$800|
| OREGON||Mitchell||Oregonian|| $800|
| UTAH||Kearl||Salt Lake Trib|| — |
| TEXAS||Johnsen||Dallas Times ||$700|
GEORGE MASON PRODUCTION STAFF
Bob Tollison, Bill Shughart, Gary Anderson & Carol Roberts
re-writes, editing, and research, — 11 articles + production
|. || TOTAL|| $16,450|
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 not proving to be good witnesses.
1987 June 9: The Tobacco Institute's Phase II - Excise Tax Op-Ed project involved an article-writing campaign by cash-for-comment economists was run by James Savarese & Associates. It was secretly directed by Robert Tollison from George Mason University with Savarese as the organiser and front.
In the mid 1987 period, the project was controlled by Jeff Rose [under Peter Sparber] at the Tobacco Institute and it focussed on defeating cigarette excise tax increases — and especially the threat of such taxes being 'earmarked' to bolster health care budgets.
Saverese and Tollison appear to have been in some form of loose partnership, because Anna Tollison, the wife of Bob Tollison, was employed by James Savarese & Associates to keep a record of the articles generated by their large contingent of academic economists and to organise payment.
She reported that
"In sum, 41 economists were solicited to write editorials. We have publications in 20 states, 14 articles have been written and submitted, and 7 articles are still outstanding." [Others were in the offing] She included a long list of the economists who wrote the articles, the newspapers in which they were published, together with their circulation figures [eg. the potential number of readers they may have influenced] and the publication date. This economist is featured on her list.
ALABAMA, Ekelund, Birmingham News, [circ.] 181,000, [pub date] 4/13/87
1987 June 22: The Tobacco Institute has been sent by Savarese a "Schedule of Payments — Excise Tax Op-Ed Project" It details the name of the cash-for-comment economist, the State, the targetted newspaper, and both past and current payments — with a separate column labled "Total Earned to Date".
In ALABAMA 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 unsatisfactoy). Carol Roberts was also paid for the final production. ($5,000)
Ekelund for Birmingham News — Owed $1100 — Total to date $2000
Total here with expenses was $33,810 on top of the $40,525 paid to the network economists.
1987 June 23: Savarese writes to Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute sending along a list of Democrat members of the House Ways and Means Committee...
... along with the economists we use in those areas. Nine of these are good, solid hits which we should be able to count on to do the job and get a publication. I have *ed these on the attached list. The remaining 6 are all people we have used in the past, but who have not been consistently successful.
[This proves, beyond doubt, that under their arrangement with the network economists, they were only paid if their op-eds were published in local newspapers, and if they actually sent letters to their Congressmen.]
Since I'm under a new financial arrangement with the Tobacco Institute and I need to get these costs cleared in advance, I'll make my best effort here to budget this proposed project.
If all 15 would get published, which is highly unlikely, the cost of Phase II Excise Tax Op-ed Project would run $45,000.
More than likely we'll get 8-10 placements and 3 to 4 others who won't get placed, but will still send letters to their members on the Ways and Means Committee. In that case, the cost will be $37,000.
The attached list showed who was considered reliable or unreliable:
|DEMOCRAT WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE PROJECT|
|STATE||Democrat Congressmen||Economist ||Reliability |
| Illinois||Dan Rosenkowski|
|Fred McChesney ||Unreliable |
| Florida||Sam Gibbons ||Richard Wagner ||Unreliable |
|Texas ||J. J. Pickle|
Michael A. Andrews
|Charles Maurice ||RELIABLE |
|California ||Fortney H. (Pete) Stark|
Robert T. Matsui
|Gary Anderson ||RELIABLE|
|Indiana||Andrew Jacobs ||Cecil Bohanon ||RELIABLE|
|Tennessee ||Harold E. Ford ||Brian Goff|
|Georgia ||Ed Jenkins ||Dwight Lee ||RELIABLE |
|Missouri ||Richard A. Gephardt ||Tom Wyrick ||Unreliable |
|New Jersey ||Frank J. Guarini ||JR Clark ||RELIABLE |
|Arkansas ||Beryl Anthony, Jr ||David ER Gay ||Unreliable |
|Alabama ||Ronnie Flippo ||Robert Ekelund ||RELIABLE |
|North Dakota ||Byron Dorgan ||Cliff Dobitz || RELIABLE|
|Connecticut ||Barbara Kennelly ||Dominick Amento ||Unreliable |
|Pennsylvania ||William J. Coyne ||Ann Harper-Fender ||Unreliable |
|Wisconsin ||Jim Moody ||William Hunter ||RELIABLE |
1987 June 25: [For the Feb 1987 Ad-Ban Campaign] Members of the academic lawyer-advertising network run by Jim Savarese were planting op-ed propaganda articles on their local newspapers.
This list gives the dates of publication and the newspapers in the various states:
Robert Ekelund — Montgomery Advertiser — 6-25-87
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 July 19: Ekelund has written another article for the Huntsville Times "Excise Taxes Hurt the Poor the Most" which re-hashes the retrogressive argument once again. He calulates that 12,000 jobs will be lost as a result of Congressional excise tax increases.
He is listed now as the "Liberty National professor of economics at Auburn University"
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 Robert B. Ekelund, Jr. Auburn University Auburn, AL
Excise Tax Op Eds: Birmingham News — 04/13/87
Economic Witness/Testimony: Prepared testimony in opposition to an excise tax increase. Did not have an opportunity to deliver.
Field Staff Contact: Yes.
Field Staff Evaluation: Very positive.
1987 Aug 21: Savarese and the field staff of the Tobacco Institute have now finalised their lists of useful economists — those who have been productive and compliant. This is the current functional list (they now have coverage in 41 states). For this state they say:
Professor Robert B. Ekelund, Jr.
Auburn University Auburn, AL
Excise Tax Op Eds: Birmingham News — 04/13/87
Economic Witness/Testimony: Prepared testimony in opposition to an excise tax increase. Did not have an opportunity to deliver.
Field Staff Contact: Yes.
Field Staff Evaluation: Very positive.
1988: Bob Tollison and Dick Wagner [both cash-for-comment, tobacco economists from George Mason University] are giving evidence on Worksite Smoking Policies for the Tobacco Institute. They quote 'misleading accounting data' as the reason why smokers are believed to have higher absenteeism rates [See Weis], and quote Ekelund et al as establishing that:
"when such factors are taken into account, smoking per se has no impact on worker absenteeism. (Ault RW, RB Ekelund, JD Jackson, RS Saba and DS Saurman, Smoking and Absenteeism : An Empirical Study, Auburn, Alabama — 1988).
[There is no sign of this study report in the Tobacco Institute files. Yet we would expect them to have both funded and celebrated this one]
1988: Evidence given during a Supreme Court hearing (Oct 1994) lists as an authorative study: Ekelund, Jr. & Saurman, Advertising and the Market Process : A Modern Economic View (1988) which was apparently done for a FTC report, but probably funded by the alcohol industry. It found
... no causal link between alcohol advertising and increased levels of alcohol consumption.
Although price advertising does not increase consumer demand for alcoholic beverages, it usually leads to one thing all consumers desire: lower prices
[However, apparently even the lower prices do not lead to more alcohol consumption! Since the tobacco industry owned many of the large alcohol companies, this finding is not unexpected.
See a later study c 1996 also for the alcohol companies]
1988 Jan: The plans and budgets for various sections of the Tobacco Institute include a section on the "Social Cost Issue" to be handled by Jeffrey D Rose and Carol Hrycaj.
This is an attempt to counter the argument that the society has a right to institute cigarette excise taxes and introduce public smoking bans because smokers impose a substantial additional burden on non-smokers through additional medical costs, cleaning, general pollution, etc.
Implementation of our 1988 "social cost" plan is well underway. A network of "social cost" economists has been identified and held an organizational meeting in Washington, D.C. Also, several projects are underway to demonstrate the significant historical and economic contribution of tobacco to our nation's heritage.
Highlights: We have identified an initial group of economists to work on the "social cost" issue. They include:
We held an organizational meeting to review "social cost" issues and to brief the economists on our issue plan.
- Bob Tollison, George Mason University;
- Richard Wagner, Florida State University;
- Dwight Lee, University of Georgia;
- Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Auburn University;
- Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge;
- Richard Higgins, Howrey & Simon; and
- James Savarese, Savarese & Associates.
Research needs presented to the economists included:
. We will receive research proposals in the next few weeks and will select projects to begin immediately. Robert Ekelund already has submitted a proposal concerning absenteeism.
- review and critique of existing "social cost" literature;
- productivity and absenteeism;
- insurance costs;
- social security/Medicare cost; and,
- application of "social cost" economics to other industries
Bob Tollison is preparing a proposal for an academic symposium on the "social cost" issue to be held once initial research is complete. The economists also are indentifying opportunities to deliver presentations on the issue before regional and national economic conferences.
The Tollison and Wagner "social cost" book is scheduled to be published in March. We met with Tollison and public affairs counsel to discuss a media tour and other promotional ideas.
We are negotiating with Chase Econometrics and other economic consulting firms on updating the Chase study on the economic impact of the tobacco industry. We will coordinate the project with State Activities Division's new economist once he comes on board.
1988 Feb 2: James Savarese reports to the Tobacco Institute on a meeting with a "core group of economists"...
To exchange thoughts and ideas on the social cost issue with the goal of determining projects and making assignments for 1988.
The core group consists of
[In order to attack] Anti-smoking activists [who] have distorted the issue of social cost. Even though economists ridicule their statistics, politicians and the press believe them.
with the support of PR/lobbyists from
- Gary Anderson
- Bob Ekelund
- Richard Higgins
- Dwight Lee
- Jim Savarese
- Bob Tollison
- Richard Wagner
Conclusions: This is lobbying pure and simple: The conclusions of their report expose numerous outright admissions as to the scientific and academic subterfuge these people are knowlingly engaged in.
- Leslie Dawson, Karen Hochberger, Richard Marcus.- from Ogilvy & Mather and James Savarese & Associates
- Mike Forscey - lawyer from Wunder and Diefenderfer, working for the Labor Management Committee of TI
- Jeff Ross, Carol Hyrcaj and Paula Duhaime from the Tobacco Institute
Primary assumptions that need to be countered.
- The higher rate of illness of smokers is a 'private cost' not a social cost [and therefore should be ignored.]
- It is not politically useful for us to argue the primary health statistics.
- Up to this time, ETS has not been translated effectively by the opposition into cost numbers. Rather, it is a regulatory issue. We cannot afford to lose the argument among people who think they are being harmed by ETS. If ETS causes harm, it becomes a classic case of real social cost.
- We must make sure that primary costs of smoking be kept out of any social cost calculation. We must separate primary smoking statistics from ETS statistics.
- More research is needed on ETS in order to deny health consequences
They then allocated Research projects to the economists and disussed additional research ideas which might prove useful to the industry. Both the Southern and Eastern Economic Association presented forums at which the economists could present papers and...
- Insurance and Health Costs: Health problems exist for smokers. The cost for health care due to excess illness or death of smokers equals smokers' cost to society.
- Insurance premium — Discounts for non-smoker (not justified?)
- Pension Plans — Increased mortality rates saves money
- Productivity and Absenteeism: Smokers are absent more frequently than non-smokers.The time spent by a employee smoking on the job is time spent not working. These factors make the smoker a less productive member of society than a non-smoker.
- The worker bears the cost of absenteeism via fewer raises, less advancement, or termination. Society bears no burden.
- Social Security and Medicare: [Death benefits argument]
- Based on lifetime calculations, smokers should be getting a rebate. We should propose a rebate program, rather than a tax program.
- If non-smokers live longer, when the baby boomers reach retirement age, very high tax rates will be necessary to finance Medicare and Social Security. If smoking is banned, it would cause some serious problems in future years.
- Fires: It is not a social cost for a smoker to burn his house down, just a private cost. Social cost only exists if a neighbor's house burns down (a much smaller number).
- ETS: Blanket smoking.restrictions raise costs to private employers. If restrictions are cost effective, individual companies will adopt them.
As a result of this meeting, we should devise a specific plan and timetable- of implementation with assignments for specific projects.
We need to review and critique existing materials and develop our own core of research.
Tollison is looking for one or two others. Major session of a university to bring together all relevant research on social cost will be planned after research projects are completed. Proceedings will be published in a monograph.
1988 Mar: Robert Ekelund has represented the proposal for "Is Absenteeism Due to Smoking? An Empiracle Study" Both Richard Ault and John Jackson are still listed as co-researchers.
Their aim is to use a "regression-based analysis of covariance" to discount the 1985 Rice and Hodgeon study that concluded smokers lost 32% more work days list due to smoking and smoke-related illnesses.
The advantage of this approach is that, in addition to being technically correct, its results can be easily explained in terms which are clear to a general audience.
It is suspected, for example, that smoking is related to alcohol consumption, to job type (blue collar) and to sex (males). Our study will provide a manner of testing whether smokers miss work due to smoking or to different "endowments" such as these."
[Take a guess what they would find?]
[Network economists Richard Saba and David Saurman (San Jose State University) later joined the team.
This is one of the few studies where funding credit is given to the Tobacco Institute.]
1988 Mar 31: The Tobacco Institute's list of available economists, with details of their target for a review of Robert Tollison and Richard Wagner's "Smoking and the State" book (secretly funded and published by the tobacco industry). Jim Savarese writes to Jeff Ross who looks after the cash-for-comments network:
I have listed below potential areas where we could place book reviews for the Tollison/Wagner monograph.
Targeted paper: Birmingham News
Economist: Robert Ekelund, Auburn University.
1988 May 26: Savarese advises the Tobacco Institute that
We have initiated the book review project. A copy of the book and a short summary were sent out today to 17 economists across the country with instructions for writing a brief review suitable for newspaper publication.
Ekelund's name was on the list.
I have attached a list of the economists. I'll keep you up to date as soon as the reviews start rolling in.
1988 June 16: The TI's Susan Stuntz speech on "Indoor Air Quality Programs" and Jeff Ross on the issue of "Social Cost."
A few months ago we initiated a comprehensive new program to address the social cost issue.
I'm sure you all know the often quoted remark from Fletcher Knebel "It is now proved beyond doubt that smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics" Nowhere are those statistics more prevalent or more ludicrous than in Social Cost Economics.
The overall objective of our program is to show there are no Social Costs of smoking.
And as a corallary objective, to reveal the absurdity of Social Costs Economics and its implications on individual choices.
We're off to a good start in implementing this new program and we'd like to go well beyond what we originally planned. Let me summarize these new activities.
- First, we've established a core group of Social Costs Economists from respected academic institutions across the country.
They will take the lead in arguing against social cost economics.....testifying..... dealing with the media.... conducting briefings.... and producing research.
- A new wave of research will be ready by the end of August.
- To promote Japan. with its smokers as highly productive — and therefore evidence against these social cost arguments
- To compare tobacco with coffee, sugare and beef etc, and so generate support from other industries [Slippery slope argument]
- Study on absenteeism to absolve smoking illnesses and blame job boredom and income levels as causes.
- Tollison/Wagner Book and author media tours.
- Our team of Economists will be addressing their colleagues at the Atlantic, Southern and Western Economic Association meetings. we will promote the final reports from these meetings.
- Also, an academic symposium on the Social Cost Issue will be held this fall at George Mason University. The symposium will feature findings of research projects currently underway.
- Another facet of our program focuses on the business community. We're establishing a coalition of businesses concerned with the slippery slope implications of social cost economics. The US Chamber Foundation has agreed to take the lead in organizing the coalition.
1988 Oct: A Savarese memo notes that his review was
1988 Oct 17: Jim Savarese, writes to Fred Panzer about their new Tobacco Ad-ban project. This is a different group to the economists, but William Mitchell serves in both capacities (as does Robert Ekelund and Allen Parkman);
I have attached a list of some of the lawyers who participated in the Ad Ban campaign in February 1987. These are the ones I would recommend to use again, but remember we haven't contacted these people since 1987 so I don't know if they are still available or still at the same schools. We should also try to find a couple for the Northeast Area. He lists 14 tame lawyers who wrote articles for them in 1987, and among the list was "Alabama, Robert Ekelund, Mongomery Advertiser — 6-25-87"
1988 Nov 1: Savarese is billing the Tobacco Institute for some work done [apparently a progressive payment]:
Robert Ekelund's critique of the Chetwynd study $1,800.00
This is payment for an attempted refutation of a New Zealand study into the use of cigarette advertising to attract new customers.
The study was researched by the Tobacco Institute (there are numerous files labled "Robert Ekelund's critique of the Chetwynd Study") and the study was finally published by the British Journal of Addiction in November 1989 as "The Influence of Advertising on Tobacco Consumption: some problems with Chetwynd et al.'s analysis" by John D Jackson and Robert B.Ekelund Jr
1988 Nov 28: Debbie Schoonmaker at the Tobacco Institute writes to Savarese about Social Cost Research Papers.
Enclosed are drafts of the Wagner and Ekelund social cost papers.
She also attaches three lists of cash-for-comments speakers who have been selected to talk at various meetings of local economic associations they wish to influence [See earlier list]:
Each has been reviewed and will not need further clearance provided the recommended changes are incorporated into the final versions of the papers.
The legal comments are fairly straight-forward. If you or the authors need an explanation or wish to discuss further, please call.
You'll also see that I've enclosed a copy of the California Health Department's "social cost" study. We can discuss this example in our "SWAT team" meeting.
- Atlantic Economic Assn., Philadelphia, Oct 6-9 , meeting on User Charges: has
- Dwight LeeChairman + paper, "Some Bureacratic Implications
- Richard Wagner"User Charges: Principles and Practice"
- Bruce Yandle, "User Charges: Evaluation and Critique.
- Discussant: Robert Staaf.
- Western Economic Association, Los Angeles, June 30 — July 3 meeting on Tax Earmarking and User Charges.
- Dwight R. Lee, "The Political Economy of Tax Earmarking"
- Richard Wagner, "The Fiscal Politics of Tax Earmarking"
- Paul Wilson,"User Charges and the Problem of Externalities"
- Discussants: Thomas Borcherding and Benjamin Zycher, Rand Corporation [unknown relationship]
- Southern Economic Association, San Antonio, Nov 20-22 on Excise Taxation
- Robert Ekelund, Chairman:
- Dwight R. Lee, "Political Economy of Corrective Taxation"
- Randall Holcombe, Auburn University. "Excise Taxes in Theory and Practice"
- Richard E. Wagner, "The Fiscal Politics of Excise Taxation"
- Discussants: Joseph Jadlow, and Henry Butler,
[Ekelund was already building up a team of economists; in effect creating a subsidiary network also working for the Tobacco Institute.]
1988 Dec 1: James Savarese reports to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute on his unit's activites during November (for himself and his employee, Leslie Dawson). His consultancy is specialising in coopting labor and economists, and countering the next Surgeon General's report.
Also attached are the accounts ($114,589 for the Tobacco Industry Labor Management Committee disbursement.
He also lists successes he has had with getting economists to plant op-eds on various local newspapers.
- met with officials of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) to discuss tax strategy.
- continued discussion with Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) re national convention
- continued work with National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) on development of training program and brochure.
- meetings with Citizens for Tax Justice, Leadership for the New Century, Citizens for Tax Justice, National Economic Commission.
- on the task force for Airline Cabin Air Quality (weekly meetings/ writing op-eds)
- Prof David Saurman - op-ed on Prop 99 with San Jose Mercury News
Also numerous reviews of the Tollison/Wagner book "Smoking and the State".
- Prof Ryan Amacher (Clemson Uni) in The State.
- Joseph Jadlow (Oklahoma State Uni) in Tulsa Tribune.
- Todd Sandler (Iowa State Uni) in Fort Dodge Messenger.
- Robert B Ekelund (Auburn Uni) Montgomery Advertiser.
- Dwight R Lee (Washington Uni) Regulation Magazine.
- Samson Kimenyi (Uni of Mississippi) in Jackson Clarion ledger.
- David ER Gay (Uni of Arkansas) in Arkansas Democrat.
1988 Dec 7: Robert Ekelund and his business partners have sent the Tobacco Institute a "Research Proposal" (through Savarese & Associates) a study: "The Economic Impact of a Ban on Tobacco Sponsorship of Sporting Events."
The objective of the proposed study is to uncover income, employment and other multiplier effects of a ban on cigarette company sponsorship of sporting and athletic events on local, regional, and national economic growth.
Included in our local-regional study will be an estimate of the sporting and other events that would become economically inEeasible without support and of the potential economic impact of such a ban.
Included in our research will be an assessment of the growth trend in the number of sponsored events in order to develop plausible estimates of the number and size of such events that would fail as a result of a ban. Our focus will be on the impact of failures on income and employment at the local, state and national.
Not the least, our analysis will provide an independent estimate of the potential tax revenue losses which might occur from advertising and sponsorship bans.
[Sadly lacking from this economic analysis is the 'profit' side of the public register — the money the nation saves by not promoting cigarettes. Professor Ekelund obviously decided not to include such public benefits.]
However Ekelund has writen a draft op-ed found in the Tobacco Institute files: "Assault on the First Amendment: Tobacco Advertising as Free Speech" which exploits his Auburn University status, while venturing out of his economic discipline into constitutional law.
1988 Dec 8: Savarese has billed the Tobacco Institute for
Phase II - Social Cost Research Project
First of three billings
- [Robert] Ekelund - "Revenue Substitution from Smoking Regulation and Taxation: An Econometric Analysis" $14,000
- [Robert] Tollison & [Richard] Wagner - "Rent Seeking, Bureaucracy and Public Health Regulation" $ 10,000
- [Dwight] Lee - a paper on "The Political Economy of User Charges and Tax Earmarking" $ 9,500
- [Richard] Higgins - "The Excess Costs to Smoking Employees of Employer-Provided Retirement Benefits" $ 9,500
1988 Dec 18: Robert Ekelund Jr has written another "Commentary" on "A Smokeless society; short $12 billion" for the Huntsville Times — a copy of which found its way back to the Tobacco Institute files. The article quotes Tollison and Wagner's analysis of the tobacco industry which provides "a persuasive argument that much of the accepted wisdom about the costs of smoking is simply wrong."
He attacks the arguments about absenteeism and loss of smoker productivity and suggests that smoking restriction would adversely affect non-smokers financially, since the revenues gained from cigarette taxes will drop.
1989 /E: A number of articles have been collected by the Tobacco Institute into a research-data package labeled "Robert Ekelund's critique of the Chetwynd Study"
[See archive search for many more.]
- Standardisation of Epidemiology [pulmonary function tests] July 1978
- July 1976 ETS paper by JR White
- Peter Lee's April 1980 critique of White-Froeb'a ETS effect on physical fitness claims.
- Shook Hardy & Bacon's, June 1980 industry attacks on White-Froeb Study
- Feb 1981 TI Response to Hiriyama ETS study
Ekelund's tobacco-funded critique was finally published by the British Journal of Addiction in November 1989 as "The Influence of Advertising on Tobacco Consumption: some problems with Chetwynd et al.'s analysis" by John D Jackson, Robert B.Ekelund Jr
In a recent study of the relationship between cigarette advertising and the aggregate consumption of cigarettes in New Zealand between 1973 and 1985, Chetwynd et al. (1988) argue that quarterly data suggest that advertising affects overall consumption of cigarettes with an elasticity of +0.07. In addition, they argue that advertising has a 'carry over' effect of about four quarters on current consumption.
These results are potentially important for two reasons. Although the evidence is mixed, the conventional view [only of the tobacco companies] is that cigarette advertising affects brand choice among smokers but not aggregate demand for cigarettes. Chetwynd et al.'s results, (hereafter, Chetmynd) contradict this traditional view. [As did almost all other informed opinion — mainly because it is commonsense.]
Secondly, if advertising does increase the aggregate demand for cigarettes, then a public policy banning cigarette advertising might reduce aggregate demand for cigarettes.
Unfortunately, the Chetwynd, study is sufficiently flawed with conceptual and econometric problems that their inference that advertising increases cigarette demand is questionable.
[As the prostitute Mandy Rice-Davies said at the Profumo Inquiry: "Well, they would say that, wouldn't they ?"]
Certainly cigarette advertising may increase or decrease cigarette consumption. The point we wish to make is that, any inference one way or the other based on the results of Chetwynd, cannot be viewed as well-grounded in either scientific methodology or statistical principles.
These conclusion are contradicted by later independent studies. See
1989 Publication of Robert Ekelund et al. "Smoking and Absenteeism: An Empirical Study," This study made Ekelund into a celebrity economist among the cigarette companies.
1989 Jan: Ekelund and Associates, Inc. have sent the Tobacco Institute a "Draft, Part 1" report on "The Economic Costs of a Ban on the Public Entertainment Sports Advertising Outlays of Cigarette Manufacturers."
This report offers a measure of the aggregate economic costs of a proposed ban on the sponsorship of public entertainment sporting events by tobacco companies. If such a prohibition were to become law, events like the Virginia Slims Tennis Tournament, the Winston Cup NASCAR auto race series and the Premier Cup Senior PGA Tour—a series of thirty golf matches played around the country by golfing greats of the past — would vanish.
The calculated losses would be 7,000 jobs, $1.5 billion in lost income, and "More than $2.5 billion" in lost GDP.
The harmful economic effects of the proposed ban will be predominantly felt in the industries which supply the products and services necessary to stage these events.
[Part 1 of this Draft does not appear to have figured the cost savings through greater productivity, medical services, welfare costs, etc. from smoking reductions.
They cite this in later proposals as if it had been published in a peer-reviewed economics journal. But it doesn't appear to have been accepted anywhere.]
1989 Jan 4: Savarese sends his December Status Report to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. It lists dozens of projects that he is supervising — and meetings he is organizing to help the tobacco industry create coalitions with other industries and unions.
Entries most relevant to the cash-for-comments economists are:
- participated in strategy sessions on the National Economic Commission (NEC). [Later a general economists op-ed project]
- Agricultural Research project — began development of research proposals on the effect of excise taxes on farmers. [Later became an Ekelund and Long 'study'.]
- Airline Cabin Air Quality — continued op-ed project on Northwest Airlines. [They had been first to ban smoking on domestic flights] As of January 3, three op-ed projects have been published
- Shreveport Journal [by] Michael Kurth, McNeese State Uni
- Commercial Appeal [by] JR Clark, University of Tennessee at Martin
- The Greenville News [by] Ryan Amacher, Clemson University
- Began Ad Ban op-ed project. As of January 3 one op-ed has been published
- Chicaco Tribune [by] Lloyd Cohen, California Western School of Law.
- Social Cost Book Review Program [smoking and the State] - As of January 3, seven book review have been published.
Three are forthcoming:
- The State [by[ Ryan Amacher, Clemson University
- Tulsa Tribune [by] Joseph Jadlow, Oklahoma State Uni
- Grand Forks Herald [by] Cliff Dobitz North Dakota State University
- Fort Dodge Messenger [by] Todd Sandler Iowa State University
- Montgomery Advertiser [by] Robert B. Ekelund Auburn University
- Bryan-College Station [by] Charles Maurice Texas A&M University
- Columbus Enquirer by Dwight R. Lee Washington University
- Regulation Magazine [by] Dwight R. Lee Washington University
- Jackson Clarion Ledger [by] Samson Kimenyi University, Mississippi
- Arkansas Democrat [by] David E. R. Gay University of Arkansas
1989 Jan 11: The Tobacco Institute's Scientific Consultancy Activity 1988-89 This is an 80 page mixed bag of files dumped together. [Note the first is actually 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."
Dr Robert B Ekelund Jr
Auburn University, Alabama
[Ekelund created his own sub-network of professors and graduate students from Auburn University]
[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 Jan 11: Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute writes to Debby Schoonmaker on the "Promotion of Economic Conference Papers."
Of the six papers presented during those sessions, only two that were discussed at the Western meeting may be suitable for public consumption: Lee's paper, "The Economics and Politics of Tax Earmarking;'1 and Wagner's paper, "Fiscal Norms, Fiscal Practice and Tax Earmarking."
Paul W. Wilson, Thomas E. Brocherding and Bruce Yandle also submitted papers; their relationship with our consultants is unclear. Regardless, the Wilson, Brocherding and Yandle papers are technical treatments of the subject matter and would be difficult to repackage for the general public.
1989 Jan 23: Ms Joan Senter, the Director of the American Family Farm Foundation [wife and co-lobbyist of David Senter] has written to "Susan and Debbie" (Stuntz and Schoonmaker) at the Tobacco Institute with...
a proposed budget for your consideration to cover the costs associated with the preparation and distribution of the study entitled "The Impact of Excise Taxes on Rural America"
Based on our previous discussions, we have asked James Savarese and Associates to outline the methodology for this study and to identify the appropriate economists to undertake the study. Enclosed is the outline for the study prepared by Robert Ekelund and James Long from Auburn University, along with Mr. Long's resume.
Results demonstrating the damaging nature of excise taxes to rural America could best be made public through the creation of a brochure for targeted distribution
1989 Jan 24: The British Journal of Addiction has rejected Jean Boddewyn's critique of the Chetwynd (NZ) article. He tells Philip Morris:
"It is rather encouraging, but some revisions are in order, according to the editor and reviewer. May I have your suggestions in the near future?
PS Thank you for the European data from EEC Conference in Madrid.
1989 Jan 24: James Savarese and Leslie Dawson are reporting on a meeting with the Tobacco Institute. Their staff accompanying them were Leigh Payne and James Moeller. Decisions made:
- Dr Robert Ekelund's response to the New Zealand [Chetwynd advertising] study will be published in the Journal of Addiction.
- The op-ed program is on track. We are trying to place Cohen's Chicago Tribune editorial in the Congressional Record.
- Leigh Payne is continuing to meet with legal counsel to review the legal requirements of setting up the [Helping Youth Decide] foundation.
- Release of the Peat Marwick study is on hold
- The Freedom to Advertise Coalition (FAC) is preparing a press release on the AMA tobacco conference in Houston this weekend.
1989 Jan 24: James Savarese's monthly report to the Tobacco Institute refers to a New Zealand Study
"Dr Robert Ekelund's response to the New Zealand study will be published in the Journal of Addiction." He is obviously willing to write on any subject, for publication in any location, or any journal, anywhere, anytime.
1989 Jan 26: A memo from Jean Besques (PM EEMA) to Jack Nelson (Philip Morris NY) (ccd to Keith Ware) says that he has just received from Jean Boddewyn (New York advertising academic and tobacco lobbyist) comments from an unknown peer-reviewer for the British Jounal of Addiction, on the Ekelund attack on the Chetwynd Study. This is to
allow you to give Ekelund & Jackson the benefit of the remarks and criticisms on Jean's draft (to spare your time, I also include a copy) since the same points are found, among others, in both Jean's and Ekelund & Jackson's papers.
Jean Boddewyn must have been one of the peer reviewers, or involved at an editorial level with the journal,
1989 Feb: Ekelund has prepared for "Savarese and Associates" a paper on "The Literature on Advertising and the Aggregate Demand for Tobacco Products: A Bibliography."
At roughly the same time, along with Richard P Saba, he has prepared an 8 page report "Functions of Cigarette Advertising: Theory and Evidence — a Critique of Warner's Selling Smoke." It was an organised attack on one or the industry's bêtes noires.
Professor Kenneth Warner at the University of Michigan Department of Health Planning and Administration, had estimated that the economic costs of cigarette smoking in 1984 were $21 billion in medical care — more than seven percent of the nation's total direct health care costs — and $33 billion in productivity loss due to morbity, disability, and early death of cigarette smokers.
A few years later, JAMA published article by Warner which concluded
"that an 16 cent increase in the excise tax on cigarettes would encourage almost 3.5 million Americans to forego smoking habits in which they would otherwise have engaged. This figure includes more than 800,000 teenagers and almost 2 million young adults aged 20 to 35 years." This was followed by "Selling Smoke, Cigarette Advertising and Public Health." published by the American Public Health Association, which is an attack on cigarette advertising.
Along with Ekelund and Saba, Dr George Schaefer (MD), a consultant to the Tobacco Institute also prepared a 29 page document "The Smoking and Health Controversy: Another Side." which singles out Warner and maintains that his analysis was biased.
This Tobacco Institute-funded report by Ekelund and Saba is a draft document with the TI's sub-editors markups for minor changes. It concludes (with no conflict of interest statement), saying:
These issues will not be resolved to the satisfaction of the academic or scientific communities without the implementation of well-executed and accepted scientific methods of research. As in any rational, ordered inquiry, evidence is required. Hunches or "gut feelings" will not do to persuade any but the unknowing and unskilled.
Warner's total reliance on anecdotal evidence, together with a naive assault on statistical principles, is unconvincing and incapable of dealing with the issues he addresses.
[The skungy Auburn University pot was calling the honest Michigan University kettle 'black']
1989 Mar 8: Bob Ekelund and Eklund & Associates have floated another research proposal through Savarese & Associations "The Impact of Advertising on the Aggregate Demand for Cigarettes."
One of the most important issues facing the tobacco industry is the question of how tobacco advertising affects the demand for cigarettes. The propose to support those studies that...
concluded that cigarette advertising affected the market share for cigarettes, i.e., within the market, but not the total or aggregate consumption of cigarettes (e.g., Schmalensee 1972).
This was to counter...
The belief that advertising, in general, has no effect upon aggregate demand gained prominence (Ashley, Granger, and Schmalensee 1980) as did the view that cigarette advertising impacted only upon market share and not on aggregate consumption (Bishop and Yoo 1985).
a number of recent papers which purport to find a positive relationship between cigarette advertising and aggregate demand (Chetwynd, et. al., 1988; Seldon and Doorodian 1988).
The total price for their "independent analysis" was $52,000.
We propose to conduct our study in two parts:
• Stage (1): A formal and critical literature review, data collection and development of the methodology of our test.
• Stage (2): Conduct empirical tests, analyze results, present final study and draft article therefrom.
1989 Mar 14: James Savarese & Associates is billing the Tobacco Institute for
Tobacco Advertising Ban Project: Ekelund was now helping Savarese and Tollison with their second network of academics — cash-for-comments business law professors — willing to support the industry by attacking advertising bans.
Final of three payments $19,000
The attached list shows what each member of the cash-for-comments lawyers network has achieved with his op-ed articles. For this member it says:
Received by Savarese 12-16
Sent to Fred Panzer 12-19
Returned to Savarese 12-20
Returned to the Economist 12-22
Forthcoming — Montgomery Advertiser
1989 Mar 21: An Ekelund study was actually being done through the American Agricultural Movement (AAM) — run by a David Senter (note) — which Savarese serviced on behalf of the Tobacco Institute.
Federal Relations and AAM will meet with the Congressional Rural Caucus to explore the possibility that the Caucus endorse or adopt the study, thus increasing its impact on the Hill and nationally.
[It's always nice to know the results before you commission such an expensive study.]
A press conference sponsored by the Rural Caucus or AAM would be a good opportunity to get the details of the study to a targeted audience of tax, economic and agricultural reporters, including those from the Washington bureaus of farm state newspapers. in any case, copies of the study — along with an executive summary — will be.distributed to Members of Congress, farm organizations, organized labor and the general public.
If the Rural Caucus does not take the lead, David Senter and other selected AAM representatives will visit key Congressional Members and their staffs to discuss the results of the study.
Total costs for the project are now estimated at $77,900. The cost for the economic research for the AAM study itself is $32,500 [The amount to be paid to Ekelund and Long]. Production, promotion and administration costs are presently estimated at $45,400.
As the results will directly support and strengthen our position on the regressive nature of excise taxes, I recommend that we authorize payment for this AAM project.
1989 April: A Tobacco Institute report on its Communications efforts carries the statement that:
Freedom of speech and advertising ban proposals were the subject of two editorials (copies enclosed) this month:
- in the Atlanta Constitution, Professor Dwight Lee of the University of Georgia argued that "we should be no more tolerant of antismokers who would promote their view of virtue by denying the freedom of speech to others than we are of Ayatollah Khomeini, who would do the same."
- Professor Robert Ekelund of Auburn University wrote "For personal and individual freedom to exist in a society, government cannot regulate or suppress the free exchange of opinion between free people, be it news, literature, editorial commentary or cigarette advertising," in the Montgomery Advertiser and Alabama Journal.
1989 Apr 16: Ekelund is writing for the industry in The Montgomery Advertiser and Alabama 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 includes Ekelund]
1989 May: Letter about the "The Impact of Excise Taxes on Rural Americas" , prepared for American Agriculture Movement by Robert B. Ekelund, Jr and James E. Long of Auburn University.
[This would have been a tobacco industry commission.]
Rural communities also bear a disproportionate share of the excise tax burden. Not only are they predominantly low and middle income, but also, their income will fall directly as a result of lower demand for their products.
The study prepared for the American Agriculture Movement concluded that "in all, the excise burden on rural farm and other families is 49 percent higher on gasoline and motor oil, 41 percent higher on tobacco products, and 21 percent higher on utilities, fuels, and public services when compared to urban families...
Overall, our statistics show an aggregate 33 percent higher burden when all items are considered. We conclude that any attempts to reduce the deficit by increases in excise taxes would contradict the goals of policies designed to aid farmers and the rural poor".
[On April 20 1987 the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (Alabama), in a letter co-signed by James Long had asked the Tobacco Institute for a donation]
See also Press Release
1989 May: The final "Impact of Excise Taxes on Rural Americans" study of Ekelund and Long.
Euphemisms and masquerade have clearly found their way into the contemporary political environment. Until they become overused, terms like "revenue enhancement" are employed to reassure the naive that policies that really are tax increases do not sound like tax increases. Such sleight-of-hand is reaching new heights in the Bush administration.
A number of tax increases are being discussed by Congress and the Administration under such subterfuge. Chief among these are excise tax increases on gasoline, alcohol and tobacco, which are taxes, not "user fees" if used to reduce the deficit, and oil import fees, which are special kind of taxes called tariffs.
We have established that rural consumers (including farmers) bear a disproportionate burden of excise taxes and would most certainly be even more disadvantaged by increases in excise taxes or "user fees."
[There was no mention of Tobacco Institute funding, naturally!]
1989 May 8: Montgomery Advertiser Smokers sick of bad rap over job habits
Heavy smokers don't call in to work sick any more otten than those of us who never light up. Well, at least not much more otten.
[Just how gullible can a journalist get?]
Science has proved it.
An Auburn University professor, who puff on a pack-and-a-half a day, was delighted to deliver that news to his colleagues. His research blew rings around the theory that smokers are sickly.
"Smoking per se does not appear to cause absenteeism," concluded Dr John D. Jackson in his study, "Smoking and Absenteeism." He admits he's taken a lot of ribbing from fellow (non-smoking) professors at Auburn, who tease his results were suspiciously convenient.
He takes it in stride. In fact, among the four scientists participating in the study, only Dr Jackson and one other smoke while the other two don't — certainly a balanced group.
Dr.Jackson's study went on to conclude that to the extent smoking at work contributes to job satisfaction to smokers, that group might actually miss less work if they are allowed to smoke in their workplace.
[This newspaper article preceded the formal publication in an economics journal.]
1989 May 16: Ogilvy & Mather write to the Tobacco Institute about the AAM Tax Study Press Conference.
This morning we met with David Senter and Keith Stroup of AAM to put together the general scope of the event. (for May 24). David and Keith are working with some of their contacts to find an appropriate site. This afternoon we will be looking at room 1732 in the Longworth Building, which appears available.
To date, our known participants will be David Senter, Bob Tollison, and James Long, one of the economists who wrote the study. Congressman Ike Skelton may be available to make a statement, We have decided that AAM should create a list of a dozen or so of their strongest congressional supporters that they would like to invite to speak at the event. They will then send this list on to us so that it can be reviewed to make sure that each member is on the right side of the excise tax issue.
We are still toying with what kind of visual we may want to create for the event, but we do know that we will have some of the charts from the study blown up for display.
The Video News Release is under production; we have attached a draft copy of the script.
[Note Tollison's inclusion suggests that this was an economists' network operation.
They managed to get Rep Glenn English (D-OK) to provide some input, and Rep Ike Skelton (D-MO) wrote a "Dear colleague" letter to members of Congress for them.]
1989 July 14: Debbie Schoonmaker and Carol Hrycaj create a Tobacco Institute memo "Response to NCI "Fact Sheets."
As requested, this memo discusses the extent to which we are responding to NCI's allegations and recommends methods to assure that our messages reach the groups targeted by NCI.
To date, the majority of TI's activity on social costs has been in the economic/academic arena. NCI's target groups, however, are important audiences for TI to reach. For example, many state health departments are preparing their own faulty versions of social cost studies. NCI's generic information on the alleged cost of smoking may reinforce this activity.
Our consulting economists are establishing and building an economic record. In a broader sense, the Smoking and the State media tours educate the public on the issue.
Currently, we are approaching a transition phase with the presentation of the social cost material to a much larger audience, including those groups targeted by NCI.
In addition, our involvement with the Social Cost Council will ensure that our messages are carried to corporate America as well.
- Smoking and the State media tours began last fall. Markets have been se ected for tours through the end of 1989;
- The economist network critiqued and successfully placed several reviews of the Tollison and Wagner book;
- An op-ed on Smoking and the State (by Sandler) has been distributed by a matte service;
- Consulting economists have conducted social cost research, and presented related papers at economic conferences (publication in academic journals is pending).
- Upcoming Projects:We have several projects nearing the production phase; they soon will be available for distribution.
- Recommendations: Social Cost Council activity underway includes research, discussion of a Council journal in which relevant research and articles and a possible Council-sponsored conference on the issue.
- Produce and distribute a "popular" version of Ekelund's 1988 absenteeism study
- Promote Wagner's research concerning the use (and misuse) of phony statistics, as described in his paper, "Smoking and Productivity: Some International Comparisons;"
1989 Aug: Carol Hrycaj & Debbie Schoonmaker's monthly report to the Tobacco Institute on their "Excise Taxes" and "Social Cost" projects.
Overview: Under "Social Costs" it also lists:
Activity level on American Agriculture Movement (AAM) projects also was intense in August, as fairs got underway in several states.
AAM's 1989 state fair program got underway with state affiliates hosting information booths at agricultural events in Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado and Idaho. TI staff traveled with AAM representatives to events in Sedalia, Missouri, and Pueblo, Colorado. More than 150,000 pieces of anti-excise tax material was distributed during the six events.
We continued to make progress with our effort to take the findings of AAM's excise tax study to the states. An executive summary of the rural America study, which will be mailed to legislators nationwide, was forwarded for final approval.
Next month's issue of AAM's Reporter will feature an article discussing the group's tax study its promotion. In addition, we were instrumental in finalizing the AAM op-ed that will be distributed by a matte service to weekly and daily newspapers. Distribution will be increased in FRD [Federal Regional] and SAD [State Activities] priority states.
To further promote their study, AAM representatives will travel to Atlantic City, NJ, next month for the annual State Agriculture Commissioners meeting. They will brief ag commissioners from several states on the impact of excise taxes on rural Americans.
Robert Ekelund's social cost research paper, "Some Economic Consequences of the Koop Doctrine: National and State Revenue Shortfalls from Smoking Regulation," was sent out for legal clearance. This is the last of the four papers commissioned this year.
In advance of the scheduled August media tours, we provided background information to consultants on California and Alaska tobacco legislation. Tollison traveled to Sacramento and San Francisco; Wagner's Anchorage tour was cancelled at SAD's [State Activities Div] request.
We worked closely with Media Relations on an op-ed to be submitted by Bob Tollison to the Los Angeles Times in conjunction with next month's media tour.
Next Month's Goals:
Get legal clearance of Ekelund research
Work with Prendergast and legal counsel to complete monograph
1989 Aug 1: Jim Savarese's July Status Report to the Tobacco Institute. His operation is working on
- Women's Coalition Building (National Women's Political Caucus)
- Veterans - smoking policy for VA hospitals
- Smoker Discrimination Issues — with O&M and Mike Forscey for Massachusetts
- Labor Management Committee — AFL-CIO Convention
- Federal Excise Taxes
— Citizens for Tax Justice, Deficit Reduction Conference, Advertising Campaign, Economic Policy Institute
- Public Smoking
— Airline Cabin Air Quality, Safe Workplace Air Coalition, Boston Building Audit, National Energy Management Institute (NEMI), Texas AFL-CIO Convention
- Ad Bans — op-ed projects done by cash-for-comment economists and lawyers in the two networks, etc. Ten op-eds had been published:
Montgomery Advertiser, Robert Ekelund, Auburn University
Social Cost Proposals:
Four papers have been received. Three (Higgins, Tollison/Wagner and Lee) are in final form. The fourth paper (Ekelund) is being reviewed
1989 Aug 8: Leslie Dawson of Savarese & Associate gives a status report on the Social Cost Project
- Smoking & Absenteeism (Ekelund, Ault, Jackson, Saba, Saurman) — submitted to the Southern Economic Journal, then revised and resubmitted — no editorial decision yet.
- The Social Cost of Everyday Life (Gary Anderson) — submitted to Contemporary Policy Issues — no editorial decision yet.
- Smoking and the Problem of Social Cost (Tollison & Wagner — accepted by Journal of Public Choice (they controlled the journal)
- Smoking and the Wealth of Nations (Wagner) — submitted to Journal of Contemporary Business.
- Self-Interest, Public Interest, and Public Health (Tollison & Wagner) — submitted to to Journal of Public Interest and Public Choice
- Smokers' Subsidy of Nonsmokers' Retirement Benefits (Higgins and Gordon Sufford from Capital Economics) — submitted to Social Science and Medicine
- Social Cost and the Cigarette Excise Tax: A Misguided Rationale for an Inefficient and Unfair Policy (Dwight R. Lee) — Unpublished
- Some Economic Consequences of the Koop Doctrine: National and State Revenue Shortfall from Smoking Regulation (Ekelund) - still at TI for review.
1989 Aug 21: Freedom to Advertise Coalition (FAC) Task List
- New Zealand study on ad bans:. Develop rebuttal.
FP [Fred Panzer] to (a) make available the TINZ rebuttal and (b) work with the group in developing 2 pagers on attack points.
- Warner Study:. Develop rebuttal (FP)
Ekelund and Lund (via Savarese) have already dealt with theWarner's main attack. FP to review and enhance, if necessary.
- Children's susceptibility to tobacco advertising: Develop data including that necessary to refute "targeting charges (DJ)
- Peat Marwick Study: Simplify and summarize findings (D.J.)
- The Slippery Slope: Develop list of other potentially harmful/dangerous products for which the advertising is seen by children. For example: guns, gambling, cars, alcohol, "rated" movies, adult entertainment/recreation, adult magazines, power tools and appliances, fast food, selected o.t.c. drugs (Group Project)
1989 Sep: Carol Hrycaj & Debbie Schoonmaker's monthly report to the Tobacco Institute on their "Social Cost" projects.
The eighth, and final, paper in the existing body of social cost research was cleared by attorneys. The author will seek publication opportunities.
Social cost media tours hit a snag in September, but will be back on track in October, when Tollison and Wagner "hit the road" with two tours each.
Professor Robert Ekelund's paper, "Some Economic Consequences of the Koop Doctrine: National and State Revenue Shortfall from Smoking Regulation," has received legal clearance. The paper is the last in a series of eight social cost research projects commissioned since 1988.
Bob Tollison and Dick Wagner were scheduled in September to promote Smoking and the State in two of the nation's largest media markets, Los Angeles and San Diego, CA. However, the tours have been rescheduled for early October.
1989 Oct 17: Jim Savarese writes to Fred Panzer (Tobacco Institute) about their new Ad-ban project.
I have attached a list of some of the lawyers who participated in the Ad Ban campaign in February 1987. These are the ones I would recommend to use again, but remember we haven't contacted these people since 1987 so I don't know if they are still available or still at the same schools. We should also try to find a couple for the Northeast Area.
He lists 14 tame lawyers who wrote articles for them in 1987, and among the list was "Alabama, Robert Ekelund, Montgomery Advertiser — 6-25-87"
[Note Ekelund was actually an economist, not a lawyer]
1989 Oct 18: Shook Hardy & Bacon, the underhand and secretive lawyers for the combined tobacco industry have rendered a Statement of Accounts for services to the tobacco companies. Although the details of the accounts have been redacted, the indexing reveals that payments were made to Ekelund & Associates, and the NEMI (National Energy Management Institute — a union front)
1989 Nov: The British Journal of Addiction carries an editoral and a number of Commentaries on advertising and smoking. The Editorial is titled "Advertising and Smoking — A Smouldering Debate". The editor comments:
Advertisements which promote tobacco brands have been restricted to varying degrees. Fifty-eight countries or around one-third of the United Nations have banned certain kinds of advertising, 20 of them being complete bans. The industry has responded by a variety of ingenious ruses to counter such bans, not only by expanding advertising in exempt media but particularly by sponsoring popular sporting and cultural events. With the proliferation of 'hot' electronic media and international broadcasting, it has proved difficult to eliminate 'indirect' advertising of tobacco. The controversy in the pages of this journal were the result of the Chetwynd study.
The original study by Chetwynd et al. (1988), attracted attention both because of its extension of econometric analysis of smoking to another country and because it has purported to estimate the effect of industry advertising on consumption, a subject which remains controversial. It should be noted here that the data used by Chetwynd et aI. and re-estimated by Harrison er aI. (1989) was purchased by the New Zealand Department of Health which also made it available to researchers in another university who took a different approach but came up with similar results (Toxic Substances Board, 1989).
He goes on to publish commentary by some tobacco consultants and some anti-smoking advocates:
In retrospect it appears clear that the original Chetwynd study was seriously flawed for two broad reasons: poor data and inappropriate methodology. However, the response by that research group [under Robin] Harrison (1989 [Toxic Substances Board]) has been spirited and has removed many of the most obvious objections.
- "The Influence of Advertising on Tobacco Consumption: some problems with Chetwynd et al's analysis" by John D Jackson and Robert B Ekelund Jr. [both long-term tobacco industry lackies.]
- "The Influence of Advertising on Tobacco consumption: a reply to Jackson & Ekelund." by Robin Harrison, Jane Chetwynd & Roderick J Brodie. [They conclude that while some flaws were in the original paper, their model and their analysis is still robust]
- "There is No Convincing Evidence for a Relationship between Cigarette Advertising and Consumption" by JJ Boddewyn (another tobacco industry lackey.) [Boddewyn questions Chetwynd's ability to undertake impartial research... The pot calling the kettle black once again.]
- "The Influence of Advertising on Tobacco Consumption: a reply to Boddewyn", by Jane Chetwynd, Roderick Brodie and Robin Harrison.
- Simon Chapman, a prominent anti-smoking academic from Sydney University also chimes in with "The Limitations of Econometric Analysis in Cigarette Advertising Studies," He thinks these econometric studies are relatively useless, and points out that if advertising wasn't effective then the tobacco companies would not be the world's No. 1 advertisers.
- Glen Smith, an Australian tobacco industry consultant who ran the Children's Research Unit from London to prove that advertising had no effect on recruiting new smokers — especially on children — [And was well paid for his services] also added his piece "The Effects of Tobacco Advertising on Children".
- Luk Joossens, a Belgian Consumer researcher and control advocate adds "The Influences of Advertising on Tobacco Consumption: comments on Boddewyn & Chapman."
1989 Nov 29: Ekelund's note to the TI provides a short report of the meeting organized on the Economic Aspects of the Tobacco Industry at the Southern Economic Association conference in Orlando, Florida. It was organized by Tollison and chaired by Ekelund.
1989 Nov 30: James Savarese appears to have left Ogilvy & Mather and set up his own independent business running the stable of cash-for-comments economists for the Tobacco Institute (in addition to other disinformation activities). He is still organizing economics seminars through the same organisations using the same tobacco-funded economists:
"The Political Economy of Tax Earmarking" [ie the use of cigarette excises to prop up Medicare/Medicade] Chairman: Robert Ekelund.
Papers by: Richard Wagner, Dwight Lee and Robert Tollison, with J Keith Watson and Mark Thornton as discussants.
1989 Dec 4: Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute heads his memo to Ron Tully "Tye Rebuttal"
Here are some answers to your query on the article by Joe Tye, et al.
- I am unaware of any comprehensive TI rebuttal of the Tye, Warner, Glantz article. (Tobacco advertising and consumption: evidence of a causal relationship. Journal of Public Health.Winter 1987 8: p. 492-508.)
- There may have been internal analysis or statements prepared for possible press inquiries. I'll check for any these.
- The article itself did not find its way into the record of any Congressional hearing on advertising. Tye testified before the Luken subcommittee on July 25, 1989; Warner testified.before the Waxman subcommittee on July 18, 1986. Their testimony is attached.
- Two American economists, Ekelund and Saba, at Auburn University, looked at the basis for the Tye, Warner, Glantz article (Chapter 5 of "Selling Smoke: Cigarette Advertising and Public Health" by KE Warner. October 1986. American Public Health Association.)
Ekelund and Saba found Warner's research more than seriously flawed. (Copy attached.) The last sentence gives the full flavor of their unpublished critique:
"Use of data which appears to suit preconceived notions (with admitted selection bias) and neglect of all other contrary evidence is not only shoddy research — it is dishonest, research."
1989 Dec 5: James Savarese is sending a bill to the Tobacco Institute for his own fees ($18,500) and the detailed out-of-pocket expenses for his group of economists speaking at the "Southern Economic Association Meeting" Nov 19—22 in Orlando Florida.
- James Savarese — $1239
- Robert Ekelund — $1271
- John D Jackson — $1029
- Richard Saba — $843
- Richard Ault — $1002
- Mark Thornton — $428
- Henry Butler — $983
- Keith Watson — (will send later)
1989 Dec 11: Carol Hrycaj and Martin Gleason who are jointly running the Tobacco Institute side of the economists network at this time, memo Susan Stuntz about a Re: Treasury Department Task Force.
Rumors have circulated that a "Treasury-led task force" is considering recommending an increase in federal tobacco taxes.
[This matches the March 21 list below with Ekelund as chairman.]
In response, we plan to work with consulting economists and allies to maintain an anti-excise tax environment, stressing that cigarette excise taxes are not "user fees," and increasing these taxes would violate President Bush's "no tax" pledge.
Following is a description of four specific anti-tax projects:
- Op-ed Program: We have directed consultants to begin work on an anti-tax editorial program in key Congressional districts. [snip] Once the articles are published, they will be forwarded to the appropriate administration officials.
- Communication with Treasury Department Officials. We have identified a potential opportunity to communicate with Treasury Department officials concerning the recent statements on tobacco excises.
If we pursue this option, key Republican economists would send letters to Treasury officials debunking the connection between excise taxes and user fees. This effort would be similar to the exchange of letters between Robert Tollison and Office of Management and Budget Director James Miller in 1987.
- Earmarking Session. Consulting economists will participate in a session on earmarking during the Southwestern Social Science Association Conference in March 1990.
Robert Ekelund will chair the session, "The Political Economy of Tax Earmarking. Robert Tollison, Richard Wagner and Dwight Lee will present papers (draft chapters of the upcoming book on user fees/tax earmarking). A preliminary agenda is attached.
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 on the list for ALABAMA: Huntsville Times.
We should start getting drafts of the op-eds around the first of the year.
1990 Jan 4: Ekelund and Jackson now propose to the Tobacco Institute that they create a rejoiner to the Chetwynd reply to their original rejoiner about the Chetwynd study — for the British Journal of Addiction.
We believe that these, and other problems must be resolved since the editor (BJA, p. 1243) believes that Chetwynd and her colleagues have largely resolved the methodological problems surrounding statistical estimates of advertising's effect(s) on cigarette consumption. They have not. They don't give an estimate of cost [but see below].
1990 Jan 10: Jim Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute.
Attached is the article placed by Ekelund and Jackson in the Journal of Addiction.
Also attached is a memo to me on follow-up work that can be done.
Ekelund feels that this methodology is a joke - even worse than their original paper. They are willing to write up this critique and send it back to the Journal of Addiction to keep our side of the controversy alive.
The cost for producing and submitting the critique would be $8,500.
1990 Feb 1: Savarese's report to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute lists a number of projects involving the cash-for-comment economists:
- "Smoking and the Problem of Social Cost: A Survey" by Tollison and Wagner, published in Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice - reprints have been distributed.
- "Smoking and Absenteeism: An Empirical Study" by Ault, Ekelund, Jackson, Saba, and Saurman - submitted to Applied Economics.
- "Smokers Subsidy of Nonsmokers' Retirement Benefits" by Higgins and Shuford - submitted to Social Science and Medicine.
- "The Social Costs of Everyday Life" by [Gary] Anderson submitted to Contemporary Policy Studies.
- "Social Cost and the Cigarette Excise Tax: A Misguided Rationale for an Inefficient and Unfair Policy" by [Dwight] Lee - submitted to Contemporary Policy Studies.
- "Self Interest, Public Interest, and Public Health" by Tollison and Wagner - accepted for publication in Public Choice. [As you would expect, since they controlled the journal.]
- "Some Economic Consequences of the Koop Doctrine: National and State Revenue Shortfall from Smoking Regulation" by Ekelund - returned to Ekelund for submission.
- "Smoking and the Wealth of Nations" by Wagner - submitted to Journal of Contemporary Business.
Began Phase III of the social cost research. Proposals have been submitted to TI.
1990 April: The monthly Tobacco Institute report for March from Carol Hrycaj who is in charge of the issues surrounding Excise Taxes, says
Following the meeting in February on bootlegging cigarettes in the states, we received a proposal from consulting economists to conduct an in-depth analysis on the issue. We have commented on the plan generally, and await State Activities' assessment of the document.
Consulting economists made presentations on tax earmarking during the Southwestern Social Science Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Robert Ekelund chaired the session "The Political Economy of Tax Earmarking." Participants included: Richard Wagner, Dwight Lee and Robert Tollison. The presentations were based on material that will be contained in the upcoming treatise on earmarking.
1990 April: Social Cost overview by Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute says: [A] TI-commissioned social cost research paper on smoking and absenteeism, completed in 1989, has been accepted for publication by an academic journal.
"Smoking and Absenteeism," by consulting economists Robert Ekelund, Richard Ault, John Jackson, Richard Saba and David Saurman, has been accepted for publication by the academic journal, Applied Economics. The authors examine previous absenteeism and productivity studies and find that the "association of smoking and increased absenteeism is spurious."
Consulting economists will receive TI support for a presentation of academic papers during the Western Economic Association's conference to be held in San Diego in June. The session, "Smoking and Public Policy," will involve Dwight Lee and Gary Anderson in a discussion of smoking and social cost issues.
See page 30
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.
Prof Robert B. Ekelund Jr
. Lowder Prof of Economics, Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama 36831 205-821-1404
1990 Aug 29: Robert Tollison, as Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice has put a submission into the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its scientific exchange over Indoor Air Quality (ANR-445).
His submission is deceptive from the opening paragraphs. He says:
I come to the issue of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from a background as a professional economist. It is therefore the economic aspects of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed guide to workplace smoking policies which I will critically assess. This is an outright lie. In fact he comes to the ETS problem from the position of a well-paid lobbyist working for the Tobacco Institute and its global equivalent, the ICOSI/INFOTAB organisation.
He claims that the application of basic economic principles would result in the conclusion that...
... there are presently no uncompensated costs in the workplace arising from ETS; hence, there can be no cost savings from banning ETS in the workplace. The outright stupidity of this conclusion is mind-blowing. Not even the tobacco industry would claim such an absurdity. He compounds his mendacity by saying...
there is no persuasive evidence that smokers impose special costs on their employers or that smoking employees are more costly overall than nonsmokers. Second, to the extent smoking is an issue, employers and employees already have sufficient incentive to negotiate an efficient employment relationship. [In other words, the ill-health of workers imposes no costs, and non-smoking workers can learn to put up with tobacco smoke — or perhaps leave.]
In support of this ridiculous position he refers the EPA to material prepared by his stable of cash-for-comments economists, including:
Richard W Ault; Robert B Ekelund Jr, John D Jackson; Richard Saba; David Saurman, Richard E Wagner; [This submission was made on Center for the Study of Public Choice letterhead.]
1990 Oct 31: Ekelund has sent Savarese his "Proposed Program for SouthWestern Social Sciences Association Meeting" for approval. He will chair the session to be called "The Political Economy of Dedicated Taxes"
It will have papers by Dwight Lee, Robert Tollison and Richard Ault. Also Mark Thornton, John Keith Watson and John Jackson will be discussants.
[All cash-for-comments academics. Watson is now at the University of SouthWestern Louisiana]
1990 Dec 14: Lobby firm Powell Adams and Rinehart writes to Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute re the AAM 1991 Programs
[Powell Tate had merged with Ogilvy, Mather, Rinehart (the PR arm of the advertising agency)]
As requested, we met with David Senter to discuss his program ideas for 1991. David has mentioned several ideas to you including a rural summit, media tours and a new rural excise tax study. According to David, the mral summit, is at the top of his priority list for 1991. Senter apparently coordinates numerous rural organisation.
At the [Nov 1990] summit in Kansas City, David engineered the passage of a resolution opposing all consumer excise taxes (see attached).
He wanted $75,000 for a program of op-eds, radio and TV interviews, etc. to accompany the Washington meeting
Following the summit, participants issued a press release that mentioned the resolution opposing excise taxes.
Rural summit participants chose early March for the timing of the Washington, D.C, Summit [in 1991]. AAM believes that the D.C. summit will be important in setting the tone for discussions of farm issues in Congress next year. David is asking for strong financial support to ensure that AAM can "drive the train" and have a large degree of control over the issue agenda at the summit.
In addition to this, media tours should be a priority, and also a second AAM Rural Excise Tax Study
AAM is willing to re-release the study with more of a state-by-state emphasis, and then participate in state-specific as well as national media outreach. We believe a new AAM excise tax study would give AAM a fresh anti-excise tax message and a vehicle for opposing excise taxes at the state level, where much of the excise tax battle will take place in 1991.
1991: One of the most effective political arguments against State impositions of excise taxes was that it encouraged bootlegging. With the small US states, smokers would cross the borders to buy their cigarettes in the cheaper states.
Therefore, in reaction to a 25 cent hike in Massachusetts cigarette tax resulted in:
Economists Robert Ekelund and Richard Saba in a 1991 study found that New Hampshire cigarette sales responded sharply to price differences with surrounding states. According to these experts, "an enormous amount of bootlegging from the state of New Hampshire," can be predicted
1991: [In a document dated 1988 Oct ] This appears to be three papers from various journals republished by someone for the Tobacco Institute. It is labled Scelte Pubbliche - the quarterly Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice which has published the first monograph "Social Cost, Rent Seeking and Smoking: A Public Choice Perspective", by Robert D Tollison and Richard E Wagner of the Center for Study of Public Choice, GMU.
The war on tobacco is being waged on two fronts, one medical and one economic The medical front is filled with the images of war: of a continually spiraling body count along with many other smokers left with diminished physical capacities. The economic front is naturally less dramatic for it attempts to reduce the castulties of war to some dollar magnitude. What results is an effort to measure the social cost of smoking. The idea behind such measures is to construct some meaningful metric that can personalize the health toll thought to be exacted by tobacco.
The next 15 pages of this amazing academic paper then seeks to justify these social losses and social costs and attack claims that cigarettes are addictive. The motives of anti-smoking activists, they conclude is:
For instance, in its wide-ranging survey of scholarship on the medical and economic consequences of smoking, the Office of Technology Assessment (1985) reported that different scholars had estimated smoking-related deaths to lie between 186.000 and 398.000 in the United States in 1982. Among this wide range of estimates, the OTA report went on to pick out 314.000 deaths as a best estimate.
The economic toll associated with these deaths have been estimated by various scholars to lie somewhere between $40 billion and $100 billion in 1985 dollars, according to the OTA survey. Within this range of estimates, the OTA report selected $65 billion as a best estimate of the social cost of smoking.
Bigger budgets, more grants, more notoriety, among other possible payoffs, would seem to fuel the efforts to resist smoking.
[It is hard to credit that this sort of superficial special-interest bullshit actually gets into print, but it does — and what's more, some economists take it seriously.]
We have gone into this matter in detail in our book (Tollison and Wagner 1988), but the point is actually quite simple. If we are correct, and we think that we are, that the social cost of smoking is zero, then the motivation to resist smoking either springs from considerations of ignorance or rent seeking. The most likely candidate theory to explain the public policy struggle over smoking, in our opinion, is the latter.
For instance, regulations that restrict the ability of people to smoke in the workplace can be a means of transferring income from smokers to nonsmokers. Suppose smoking enhances the efficiency with which smokers work. A restriction on the ability to smoke will thus reduce the efficiency of smokers and increase the comparative efficiency of nonsmokers.
Similarly, restrictions on smoking in restaurants can be a means of transferring income from smokers and from restaurant owners to nonsmokers. Those restrictions will reduce the demand for restaurant meals by smokers, who will thus shift to a less preferred consumption set.
This decrease in demand will in turn reduce the net income of restaurant owners, as well as reducing the capital stock invested in restaurants in the long run. The reduction in demand caused by the regulation will, given the supply of restaurants, reduce the price of meals to nonsmokers.
This was followed by a 1991 Applied Economics paper, "Smoking and Absenteeism" but the ardent cash-for-comments networkers, Ault, Ekelund, Jackson, Saba and Saurman. You'd need to have a degree in advanced statistical convolution in order to read more than the first paragraph.
Also attached is another paper by Tollison and Wagner, "Self-interest, public interest and public health. which lays the blame on the self-interests of the medical and activist communities.
Summary: Although the activities of physicians, as represented by the AMA, have long been viewed from a self-interest perspective by economists, public-health processes have not been subjected to such an examination. But just as the conduct of ostensibly charitable hospitals cannot be examined independently of the interests of the physicians who staff them, so too, we think, the conduct of public-health bureaus should not be examined in isolation from the interests of the medical community that they represent.
An interest-group interpretation of public health would look to the ways in which public-health processes increase the aggregate demand for medical services, thereby generating quasi-rents for specialized input suppliers. We have explored in preliminary fashion some ways in which public-health agencies may advance the collective interests of physicians, though we would be the first to acknowledge that much work remains to be done on this topic.
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: Public Smoking report of the Tobacco Institute lists 39 pages of their activities. It includes many major and minor activities to counter the "Social Costs" claims, including:
- We continue developing resources to rebut social cost claims: Dwight Lee's social cost research paper has been published and consulting economists submitted the social cost treatise manuscript to a publishing house. A critique of the Health and Human Services social cost report is underway.
- Consulting economist Dwight Lee's social cost paper, "Social Cost and the Cigarette Excise Tax: A Misguided Rationale for an Ineffective Policy," was published in the Journal of Private Enterprise. Lee examines the economic efficiency of raising the tobacco tax based on social cost claims. He asserts that increasing the tax based on these arguments "rests on extremely weak grounds, both theoretically and empirically." We plan to prepare the article in reprint form for further distribution.
- Another Lee article appeared in print recently. "Economics and the War on Smoking, published in the December issue of The Margin, challenges claims that smokers should be taxed more than nonsmokers and that smokers are less productive than nonsmokers.
- We completed the review process for the new draft social cost treatise, The Economics of Smoking. This involved intensive working sessions with the team of reviewers and subsequent meetings with the authors. The manuscript has been returned to the authors to be forwarded to the publisher.
- We approved funding for a proposal to critique the Health and Human Services (HHS) report, National Status Report in Smoking and Health. Consulting economists Richard Ault and Robert Ekelund will examine the underlying methodology HHS used to derive its social cost estimates. We plan to aggressively promote the findings of the evaluation.
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 lists.
|The Academic Economists working in 1991|
|ALABAMARobert B. Ekelund, Jr.|| Auburn University|
|ARIZONAWilliam J. Boyes ||Arizona State University|
|ARKANSASDavid E. R. Gay ||University of Arkansas|
|CALIFORNIAGary Anderson |
|California State at Northridge|
California State U. - San Marcos
|COLORADOBarry Poulson ||University of Colorado|
|CONNECTICUTDominick Armentano ||University of Hartford|
|DELAWAREBurton Abrams ||University of Delaware|
|FLORIDA||Bruce Benson ||Florida State University|
|GEORGIADwight R. Lee ||University of Georgia|
|IDAHOAllan Dalton ||Boise State University|
|ILLINOISJames Heins ||University of Illinois|
|INDIANACecil Bohanon ||Ball State University
|IOWATodd Sandler|| Iowa State University|
|KANSASMichael Babcock ||Kansas State University|
|KENTUCKY Brian Goff ||Western Kentucky University|
|LOUISIANA Michael Kurth ||McNeese State University|
|MAINERobert McMahon ||University of Southern Maine|
|MASSACHUSETTSDavid Tuerck ||Suffolk University|
|MISSISSIPPIBill Shughart ||University of Mississippi|
|MISSOURIJoe A Bell |
|Southwest Missouri State|
Southwest Missouri State
|MONTANATerry L. Anderson ||Montana State University|
|NEBRASKA Dee Martin ||University of Nebraska|
|NEVADAJohn Dobra ||University of Nevada Reno |
|NEW HAMPSHIREDennis Logue ||Dartmouth College|
|NEW MEXICOAllen Parkman ||University of New Mexico|
|NORTH DAKOTACliff Dobitz ||North Dakota State University|
|OHIORichard Vedder ||Ohio University|
|OKLAHOMAJoseph Jadlow ||Oklahoma State University|
|OREGONWilliam Mitchell ||University of Oregon|
|PENNSYLVANIAAnn Harper-Fender ||Gettysburg College|
|RHODE ISLANDArthur Mead ||University of Rhode Island|
|SOUTH CAROLINA Ryan Amacher ||Clemson University|
|SOUTH DAKOTADennis Hein ||Augustana College|
|TENNESSEEJ. R. Clark ||The Uni of Tennessee at Martin|
|TEXASS Charles Maurice|
|Texas A&M University|
Southern Methodist University
|VIRGINIARichard B Wagner ||George Mason University|
|WASHINGTONRichard D. Zerbe, Jr. ||University of Washington|
| The Cost of Poor Health Habits (1991)|
By the Rand Corporation, published by Harvard University Press.
| Despite all these signals that health awareness has improved [in the last two decades}, statistics indicate that we are not yet on the high road to health. In 1986, the national tab was $24 billion for tobacco products and $18 billion for alcoholic drinks.|
[Cigarettes were $1 per pack in 1991]
Between 1977 and 1983, the proportion of the population who smoked dropped by 18 percent, bul the fraction of people who were "less active than their contemporaries," and the fraction of heavy drinkers rose by 12 percent and 28 percent, respectively. People with poor health habits can impose costs on others in various ways, not all of them financial. But the financial costs of health care are among the most obvious and significant.
According to the Office of' Technology Assessment (1985), cigarette smoking may account annually for 5.3 million person-years of life lost, $22 billion of medical care costs, and $43 billion in lost productivity.
[Other estimates of annual costs range from $50 bn to $66 bn (in 1986 dollars)]
Because smoking shortens life expectancy, the internal costs to smokers and their families are high. Smoking reduces the (undiscounted) life expectancy of a 20-year-old by 4.3 years. (in the productive tax-paying years)
Alcohol abuse may account annually for 22,400 traffic deaths [another study says 42% of all fatal accidents], 15,400 other deaths, $11.9 billion of medical care costs, and $20.6 billion in lost productivity. The lifetinre external costs of excess drinking amount to $42,000 per heavy drinker. (in 1991 dollars)
People with these unhealthy habits, and their families, certainly bear some of the costs directly. They lose wages, pay a portion of their medical costs, and suffer from disability and premature death. These are what we define as internal costs.
The magnitude of external costs can be used to gauge the appropriate level of excise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.
1991 Mar 10: Ekelund & Associates have sent another research proposal along to the Tobacco Institute: "The Economic Cost of a Ban on Cigarette Advertising and Sponsorship of US Sporting Events". This is a followup to their previous study published in Jan 1989.
[The group are now acting as virtually full-time lobbyists for the industry.]
Our calculations reveal that, for the period 1986-2000, such a ban would result in (a) over 7,000 jobs either initially destroyed or not created in the future; (b) an approximate $1.5 billion in lost labor compensation from job loss; and (c) more than $2.5 billion in cumulative lost value added to the nation's goods and services output. Their cost estimate for this project to produce such propsaganda is $26,500.
1991: June. Calvin ('Cal') H George and Carol Hrycaj were now looking after the "Social Cost" issues management at the Tobacco Institute. Their report for June shows:
A task force comprised of consultants and TI staff was convened to discuss the promotion of The Institute's social cost resources and to address using the resources more aggressively in the workplace and public smoking areas..
The first draft was received of consulting economist Robert Ekelund's critique of the underlying methodology the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used to estimate the "social cost" of smoking. Review and clearance of the white paper will be completed this summer. We anticipate promoting the HHS critique this fall in major media markets and to key policy makers.
At the state level, social cost media tours were activated to respond to Pennsylvania Governor Casey's use of "cost" arguments to justify the proposed 30-cent hike in the state's cigarette excise tax. In advance of the tours, we developed the pitch materials and worked closely with Media Relations to finalize details for the visits.
Consulting economist Robert Tollison and a spokesperson from The Institute traveled to Harrisburg and Philadelphia to discuss the social cost concept and tobacco-related issues with the media. Richard Wagner discussed the taxes and social cost theory with reporters in Pittsburgh and Scranton.
1991 July 1: Savarese now has a new executive at the Tobacco Institute in Calvin George. He writes to him with yet another Ekelund research proposal.
Excise Taxes and Excise Tax Increases: Effects on Rural Americans. They want to update the old study for a fee of $28,000.
In research conducted in 1989 Ekelund and Long (May 1989) uncovered a significant bias in the distributional impact of excise taxes. Specifically, a disproportionate burden of such taxes fall on rural consumers, including farmers.
1991 July 26: A summary of the current "Proposals from Economists" at the Tobacco Institute.
[Note: US Average Annual Salary in 1990-91 was $9,669]
- Productivity: A popularized version, including discussions of health costs, insurance, and general costs of everyday life [proposal from Wagner & Grier].
- 20-25 pages for management/business journal — cost $18,500
- Earkmarked Excise Taxes for Health Care: A Fiscal Mismatch (Grier & Wagner)
- Sent to Marty Gleason and Carol Hrycaj at the TI on the 9 April 1991 — total fee $32,500.
- Resent 15 May 1991 - tentative approval.
- Resent once more on 17 July 1991 — total fee $42,000
- Smoking & Workplace Efficienty: An Assessment of the Record
(Productivity Study - Wagner/Grier)
[Note says "Tell them will pay next year" (must have overrun the budget)]
- Sent to the Tobacco Institute 7 March 1991. Approved 10 April 1991 — total fee $42,500.
- Revised version sent to Carol Hrycaj on 19 March 1991
- Excise Taxes and Excise Tax Increases: Effects on Rural Americas (Ekelund).
- Sent to Cal George at the Tobacco Institute July 1 1991, — total fee $28,000.
- Scientific Fraud and the Organization of Science (Wagner/Tollison)
- Sent to the Tobacco Institute on 12 April 1991 — total fee $29,500
- Sports Advertising: (Ekelund)
- Sent to Shelia at the Tobacco Institute (approved) 19 Mar 1991 — total fee $26,500
- Bootlegging Study II: (Ekelund)
- Cal George and Carol Hrycaj were looking after it.
- Sent to Tobacco Institute 7 March 1991 — total fee $27,000
- Specific State studies were $4,500 each.
1991 Aug: Tobacco Institute Public Affairs Management Plan, Progress Report says:
- In an effort to close its budget gap, the Texas legislature considered a five-cent cigarette excise tax increase. Consulting economist Mike Davis submitted to the local press an op-ed arguing against increasing the cigarette tax.
- An edited draft of "The Political Element in Science: SAMMEC and the Anti-Smoking Lobby," an in-depth examination of the statistical methodology underlying "social costs" figures promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been returned to the authors for revision and clarification.
Consulting economists Robert Ekelund and Richard Ault are expected to provide their second draft in early September. At that time legal review of the document will be undertaken. In addition, issues staff will work with consultants to develop an executive summary of the Ekelund and Ault study for broad distribution to the media and policymakers. A promotion plan, including the potential for op-ed pieces and letters-to-the editor in selected media markets will also be developed.
1991 Aug 5: Martha Rinker (Issues Manager) to her superior Marty Gleason at the Tobacco Institute.
We have one productivity work in progress, the Wagner and Grier "event study." The first draft of this project is expected in September. Its $42,500 price was taken into consideration during the budget process. RJR [RJ Reynolds] is very excited about this study and are anxious to see the final report.
Four proposed projects emerged from the meeting held a few weeks ago: a popular paper discussing the [Robert] Ekelund, et al results, a speaking tour, an op-ed program, and a possible health costs study.
The only task that has had a price tag attached to it is the "popular" article, $18,500. This should be less when the project is pared down to the size and audience discussed above. The speaking project would include the cost of preparation of the speech andtravel and expenses for the economists. The op-ed project costs would be the hourly fees for the economists preparing the op-eds. And, finally, the health care costs study would be the costs of recovering the information, research and writing of the study.[Projected total costs were $100,000]
- The preparation and publication of a popular article by [Richard] Wagner and [Robert] Tollison that would include a discussion of the Ekelund et al results, health care and insurance costs issues, and the social costs of everyday life.
The proposal is more than we want or need. A 20-25 page paper like this would have to published in a university business journal. What we had in mind, and I've discussed this with Savarese, is a shorter article to be placed in the personnel or human resource trades. The article would be good for reprints and possibly a TI brochure.
- The preparation and testing of a speaking project for [Dwight] Lee and Tollison. The tasks would include the preparation of a standard speech and the solicitation of speaking engagements with Chamber of Commerce type audiences.
- An op-ed campaign based on the paper prepared by Wagner and Tollison listed in the first task above. The op-eds would be written by economists in the targeted areas identified by TI.
- A possible health costs study looking at the actual costs of smokers and non-smoker
Work could begin in the first and last projects late in 1991 with delivery of the papers (and payment for the work) in 1992, The "popular" paper would mainstream the information we now have and need to circulate to counter the anti's. The other two tasks, preparation of a speech, solicitation of speaking engagements and writing op-eds could be started early in 1992.
1991 Sep 1: The first draft of the Ekelund and Ault 'Sports Sponsorship Ad-Ban' study has been sent to the Tobacco Institute for adjustments and legal clearance.
With the aide of many charts and tables they come to the conclusion that the Tobacco Institute required — that the US economy would be devestate by sponsorship bans — and added a 'Slippery Slope' footnote:
The assault on free speech is not limited to tobacco advertising, but extends to beer and alcohol advertising in atheletics and toy advertising for children's television programming. In this regard see Ekelund and Saurman (1988).
1991 Dec 10: Martin Gleason advises Susan Stuntz:
Attached is an invoice for a study by economists Richard Ault and Robert Ekelund intended to demonstrate the micro economic effect on specific communities, specific sports and specific events of a ban on tobacco advertising and promotion.
The paper needs some additional work which will be provided by the authors at no additional cost to The Institute.
The amount of $26,500 represents final payment for this work.
1992 Jan 12: Cal George at the Tobacco Institute writes to Jim Savarese on the subject of the Ault and Ekelund Critque:
Attached is the second revision of Ault and Ekelund's The Political Element in Science and Technology: SAMMEC II and the Anti-smoking Lobby
Please note that there are now very few changes and points of clarification requested and it should be a relatively simple matter to move to a final draft which can be submitted to legal counsel for clearance.
At your earliest convenience and that of other task force members, I would like to schedule a meeting of the social cost task force to discuss potential plans for publishing, releasing and promoting this critique.
Release of the study
- Is there a potential sponsor for the study that we may have overlooked before or
- is there a member of Congress who might be willing to appear at a press conference or have the study entered into the Congressional Record and issue a challenge to Secretary Sullivan to respond to the conclusive findings of this study which refute the validity of his earlier assertions;
- One (or more) targeted media tour by the author(s) — [and the] need for a press release which puts the study's findings in punchy, graphic and easily understood terminology (i.e. a more journalistic style) ;
- Op-ed(s) — identify potential targets for placement, [also do we need] writers (do Ault and/or Ekelund have this capability?) and author(s) for piece(s); and
- [Any] Other means, mechanisms for dissemination and promotion?
[So much for the claimed 'independent views' of these economists!]
1992 Feb: The final re-drafting of the Ault/Ekelund Sports Sponsorship paper has now been delivered to the Tobacco Institute. All of the required editorial changes have been made.
1992 Feb 27: James Moeller of Ogilvy & Mather PR reported to Gleason at the Tobacco Institute that his...
... agency representative participated in meeting with client to develop strategy to promote Ault and Ekelund paper critiquing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services social cost economic model; agency reviewed paper and provided comments per client request.
1992 Mar 18: James Savarese writes to the Tobacco Institute attaching a reprint...
of Dwight Lee's paper, "Government v. Coase: The Case of Smoking." This paper is a product of the seminars and research projects which were commissioned over the past couple of years. The article has been published in the Cato Journal, alongside an article by cash-for-comments economists Gary M Anderson and Adam Gifford Jr, and another by Richard B McKenzie [Not on tobacco topics] and has references to Tollison, Wagner and Ault.
Attached to the Cato Journal is a draft academic paper by Richard Ault and Robert Ekelund specifically on tobacco and health measurements: "The Political Element in Science and Technology: SAMMEC II and the Anti-Smoking Movement." This article tries to argue that the standard statistical methods used for evaluating the health risk of smoking are wrong.
[SAMMEC = Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs.]
1992 May 22: Ekelund and Long appear to have followed up their 1989 success with a second study done for the American Agricultural Movement "Excise Taxes and the Rural Taxpayer: Losing Ground in the 80's and 90s?". it makes an even more dramatic case for cutting cigarette and other excise taxes.
Ogilvy & Mather are suggesting to Cal George at the Tobacco Institute, a promotional program which includes:
- Press Conference at the National Press Club with Ekelund, Long and David Senter. ($9,500)
- Senter's Media tours of rural states to meet with TV, radio and newspapers. ($6,000 each tour)
- Satellite News Interviews ($3,500)
- Video News Release for country TVs ($16,000)
- Op-eds for newspapers to be signed by David Senter. ($4,000)
- Matte Service article (for very cheap small-market publications) ($3,500)
- Mailings to Agricultural nespapers/publications ($1000)
- AAM Support - they recommend a $20,000 grant — which will include AAM expenses for one media tour.
1992 July: Ekelund is a Visiting Scholar with the Hoover Institute.
1992 Oct 1: Ekelund has sent along a more up-to-date CV, which the Tobacco Institute has filed under "Economist's Network"
1992 Oct 16: Jim Saverese has written to the Tobacco Institute with a project to promote a concerted attack on SAMMEC.[Smoking Attributable Mortality Morbidity and Economic Costs]
Today there is still a need to refute the data used regularly by the anti-smokers in supporting their "social cost" claims. We now have such a source in the paper entitled "The Political Element in Science and Technology: SAMMEC II and the Anti- Smoking Lobby" co-authored by Richard W. Ault and Robert B. Ekelund, Jr. of Auburn University.
1992 Nov 19: "Marty' (probably at Ogilvy & Mather) has requested ta CV on Bob Ekelund and Richard Ault from James Savarese & Associates. These are two of the longest-serving members of the economists network. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nfb93b00/pdf
1992 Dec 9: David Senter is now offering his lobbying services directly to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. However he is still dealing [now as a subsidiary David Senter & Associates] through Ogilvy & Mather PR which had become Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart, and was morphing into Powell Tate & Rinehart.
I can provide a valuable service to you because I am identified as AAM and the study carries AAM's name. I signed the letter to all open seat members, therefore it would mean a consistent message and messenger.
I am available to provide you with access to several national grassroots groups. Because of my work for the last 12 years many consider me as one of the national leaders of the farm movement. My high profile position with Willie Nelson & Farm Aid provides me a platform to reach out to many new groups.
I propose the following program and budget for 1993:
I believe as we develop programs together, I can provide a grass roots outreach program that is second to none
- $6,000 per month retainer for David Senter & Associates. I will provide from 40 to 60 hours per month for work on TI's projects.
- $1,500 per month grant to AAM for general operating purposes. This will allow continued access to the nationwide group for issue work.
- $20,000 grant immediately to cover AAM's intensive activity surrounding the release of the updated excise tax study.
[This is the Ekelund/Long repeat study]
- $20,000 grant for AAM for an additional project in the second half of the year.
[They must have been planning a third.]
- $2,500 per month to the American Family Farm Foundation for general operating expenses. Attached you will find a list of the grass roots network and a brief description of the foundation work.
[AFFF was run by Joan Senter]
1993: James Savarese charged the Tobacco Institute for his recruitment of the American Agricultural Movement and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. This document "The Case Against Consumer Excise Taxes (which religiously avoids the word 'cigarettes' or 'smoking' and only mentions 'tobacco' as one of a group of products) says:
- Rural Americans pay a significantly higher percentage of their income in consumer excise taxes than do residents in urban areas. Specifically, rural Americans shoulder a 44 percent higher tax burden in tobacco excises alone. (Ekelund and Long, Excise Taxes and the Rural TaxTayer: Losing Ground in the '80s and '90s?, commissioned by the American Agriculture Movement, March 1993.)
- Working women also bear a greater tax burden than others. With the rise in women joining the workforce, and rising number of families headed by women, increasing numbers of women pay more than their fair share of taxes. ( Lyons and Colvin, Women and Children First: An Analysis of Trends in Federal Tax Policy, prepared for the Coalition of Labor Union Women, May 1990.)
|SAMMEC (Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs) was a software program developed initially by James M. Schultz and the Minnesota Department of Health in 1985 and 1986. It became famous in academic circles after being used in one well publicized nationwide study — the National Status Report on Smoking and Health published in 1990 (the "Sullivan Report").
The SAMMEC II version was then developed for evaluating state, city, and national populations in order to determine the so-called "social costs" of smoking.
1993: Ekelund and Thornton publish a study which suggests:
Even relatively small changes in the tobacco tax at the state level have resulted in large-scaled interstate smuggling (
1993 Jan: Issues Manager Calvin George is outlining his plans for the Tobacco Institute operations in the following year. He is working with CART and organising "The Political Element in Science and Technology: SAMMEC II and the Anti-smoking Lobby" which is being published in March by GMUs Center for Study of Public Choice, and also The Economics of Smoking. They are planning media tours for late March and April.
[SAMMEC = Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs.]
1993 Feb 17: Tobacco Institute report by Tollison and Wagner "Scientific Integrity Consumed by Anti-smoking Zealotry"
The figures generated by software programs such as SAMMEC are only as good as the assumptions on which they are based, SAMMEC has been subjected to careful scrutiny by Richard Ault and Robert Ekelund, economists at Auburn University, in a forthcoming report on "The Political Element in Science and Technology"
In the report, they show that the developers of SAMMEC [The CDC's computer program which calculates deaths from smoking] have "invented an economic cost of smoking, by developing fictitious and exaggerated estimates of cost"
[Tollison and Wagner have prepared this document to aid the tobacco companies fight against an increase in Californian excise taxes on cigarettes.]
1993 Mar 10: Cal George to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute reports on the activities of his economists network.
Richard Ault and Robert Ekelund's critique of SAMMEC II software for estimating the alleged "social costs" of smoking, "The Political Element in Science and Technology: SAMMEC II and the Anti-Smoking Lobby," is being published as a working paper this month by George Mason University's Center for the Study of Public Choice.
As you know, a plan has been developed for promotion of this study, along with Bob Tollison and Richard Wagner's newly available book on "social costs" , The Economics of Smoking, using Tollison and Wagner as spokespersons from the Center for the Study of Public Choice and experts on the application of "social costs" theory.
SAMMEC II continues to be the primary tool being used by antismoking forces to argue for increased tobacco taxes and regulation, particularly on the health care reform front.
1993 Mar 23: Jim Savarese is proposing to Calvin George at the Tobacco Institute a new Op-ed program.
Outlined below is our proposed op-ed program in opposition to the use of excise taxes to finance health care. They have provide a list of the proposed lucky recipients of $3,000 in largess from the Tobacco Institute for bashing out a quick op-ed from the material provided to them.
|• 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 || $ 3,000 |
|• "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 Mar 23: The Reporter, a newspaper of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), lies to its readers in a front-page story "AAM sees Clinton economic package as a "step in the right direction"
Economic burden on rural Americans and family farmers worsened in the 1980s largely due to regressive federal and state tax policies
The study, entitled "Excise Taxes and the Rural Taxpayer: Losing Ground in the 80s and 90s?" was commissioned by the AAM and authorized by economists Robert B Ekelund, Jr. and James E Long of Auburn University. It reveals that rural Americans — including family farmers —bear a disproportionate burden of federal and state" excise taxes compared with urban households.
The propaganda derived from this study (supposedly commissioned by the AAM) is a repeated claim that
Rural Americans pay a significantly higher percentage of their income in consumer excise taxes than do residents in urban areas. Specifically, rural Americans shoulder a 44 percent higher tax burden in tobacco excises alone. This claim is coupled with the claim that cigarette excises are used "to fund reform of the US health care system and to fund a range of other programs" when SAMMEC and other similar calculations demonstrate that the social-cost burden of cigarettes is higher than the excise recovered.
1993 Apr 8: The economist's network is still functioning, but Savarese and Tollison have negotiated a different deal for the participants. Savarese now bills the Tobacco Institute for economist network op-ed commissions, half-down and half on delivery. They are being paid for preparing the articles rather than only when they succeeded in getting their articles published. This bill is for $37,000.
- Op-ed article by Robert Tollison to be submitted to Wall Street Journal — $4,000.00
- Rebuttal article by Bob Ekelund, Auburn Univeristy, to be submitted to the Birmingham News — $3,000.00
- "Monster" tax op-ed project using twenty economists 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. FIRST HALF = $30,000.00
[They now get $3,000 each per article — half on commission/half on deliver — while Tollison gets $4,000]
1993 Apr 8: The economist's network is still functioning, but Savarese and Tollison have negotiated a different deal for the participants. Savarese now bills the Tobacco Institute for economist network op-ed commissions, half-down and half on delivery. They are being paid for preparing the articles rather than only when they succeeded in getting their articles published. This bill is for $37,000.
- Op-ed article by Robert Tollison to be submitted to Wall Street Journal — $4,000.00
- Rebuttal article by Bob Ekelund, Auburn Univeristy, to be submitted to the Birmingham News — $3,000.00
- "Monster" tax op-ed project using twenty economists 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. FIRST HALF = $30,000.00
[They now get $3,000 each per article — half on commission and half on delivery — while Tollison gets $4,000]
1993 Apr 13: Calvin George writes to his Tobacco Industry boss Susan Stuntz asking for permission to spend the $67,000 for the 22 op-eds listed by Savarese.
As previously discussed, the 20 economists proposed for the comprehensive op-ed program in opposition to excise taxes for health care reform have been selected with two primary criteria in mind:
The cost of this project would be $67,000, which is consistent with previous experience for similar efforts. I am recommending approval of this proposal. Funds are available for this purpose in #1305-7301 under the line items for "Economists to deliver briefings, testimony, and write articles..." ($45,000) and "Op-eds on...health care costs" ($25,000).
- first, capacity to reach major media markets in states and Congressional Districts represented by key members of the Senate and House Leadership, as well as the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees; and
- second, the previous track record of the economists in being able to place successfully op-eds in the major dailies identified.
The name of this economist is included in the list of these 20 network participants They also specify which newspapers ahould published their articles.
1993 Apr 13: Calvin George writes to his Tobacco Industry boss Susan Stuntz asking for permission to spend the $67,000 for the 22 op-eds listed by Savarese.
As previously discussed, the 20 economists proposed for the comprehensive op-ed program in opposition to excise taxes for health care reform have been selected with two primary criteria in mind:
The cost of this project would be $67,000, which is consistent with previous experience for similar efforts. I am recommending approval of this proposal. Funds are available for this purpose under the line items for "Economists to deliver briefings, testimony, and write articles..." ($45,000) and "Op-eds on...health care costs" ($25,000).
- first, capacity to reach major media markets in states and Congressional Districts represented by key members of the Senate and House Leadership, as well as the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees; and
- second, the previous track record of the economists in being able to place successfully op-eds in the major dailies identified.
1993 May 24: Susan Stuntz was sending Bob McAdam and Bob Lewis (all Tobacco Institute) the op-eds from consulting economists on the Clinton health care/economic plans. "(for Bob McAdam's use at his next coordinating meeting)"
- Dominick Armento's article in New Haven Register, May 16 "Clinton fiscal plan is a recipe for disaster."
- Robert Ekelund and Mark Thornton article in The Birmingham News May 2 "Hefty tax on tobacco is wrong way to go."
1993 June 23: Susan Stuntz writes
The Ekelund/Thornton op-ed surfaces in yet another paper, this time the Greensboro (NC) News & Record. A copy is attached.
It is entitled "Cigarette tax is based on shaky numbers". Mark Thornton is another cash-for-comment networker.
1993 July 6: Susan Stuntz circulates more economist letters/op-eds for the file.
- Tollison has a letter that appeared in the New York Times in support of the Wagner/Greir view on cigarette tax excises against that of Professor Grossman (who both he an Wagner had challenged before)
- Dwight Lee had "Smokers already playing their fair share for health care" in the Altanta Journal.
- Cecil Bohanon and James McClure had planted "The prohibitive taxation of cigarettes" on the Indianpolis Star.
- Also included was a clipping of an old Ekelund/Thornton essay which had run on May 19 in the Altanta Journal and Constitution
1993 Aug 3: This is a series of lists dated from March to August 1993. Savarese's staff have sent these to the Tobacco Institute to progressively report successes and failures with the economists writing op-ed pieces and having them published.
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.) It's also interesting to observe the mechanical processes and the tight control the tobacco industry and its lawyers exerted over these academic lackies.
Clearly by 1993 many of the original network members were dropping out, and the Tobacco Institute also appears to have been having problems getting even those academics who stayed loyal to write articles that justified their $2000 to $3000 payments
- 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.
- The economist then received the revised copies for onward transmission to the selected newspapers.
- They would then send a copy to their local Congressmen without mentioning the tobacco industry's contractual arrangement.
Despite the protestations, these are not 'independent' opinion articles. They are 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:
Robert B Ekelund Jr, Lowder Prof of Economics, Auburn Uni, Auburne, Alabama
- Mar 23 — [Designated newspaper/s] Not listed
- Apr 9 — (No details)
- May 12 — [No Details]
- May 18 — [No Details]
- June 2 — [No details]
- June 14— [No details]
- Aug 3 — Published in The Birmingham News 5/2/93; Gadsden Times 5/9/93; Atlanta Journal/Constitution 5/16/93; Also Greesboro News & Record 6/13/93
1994 March 16: A group of academic economists including almost all the members of the Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments network sent an "An Open Letter to President Clinton on Healthcare Reform." This had been organised by David J Theroux, the founder and operator of the Independent Institute apparently with the assistance of an academic network member, Simon Rottenberg. [The institute was well-funded by the tobacco industry]. They say:
In The Open Letter to President Clinton, 565 economists and 76 other scholars from all 50 states and the District of Columbia state their firm opposition to any form of direct and indirect price controls in any healthcare program.
Rationing Health Care: The New Threat of Price Controls, by Simon Rottenberg and David J. Theroux
They use the old straw-man scare techniques of the sky-falling.
In countries that have imposed these types of regulations, patients face delays of months and years for surgery, government bureaucrats decide treatment options instead of doctors or patients, and innovations in medical techniques and pharmaceuticals are dramatically reduced. Which, as anyone who has lived in England, Canada, Australia, etc. knows, is pure rubbish.
Along with Ekelund and his associates, also on this list of signatories were a number of think-tank lobbyists [including most of the Hoover Institute] and others who worked for the tobacco industry, and the Research Director of the Independent Institute, Robert Higgs, who was also a fill-in network economist.
1994 Aug: See the full outline of his involvement in creating the fake Alexis de Tocqueville ETS/EPA report written by S Fred Singer and Kent Jeffreys, secretly for the Tobacco Institute.
1994 Aug 11: An anti-EPA report funded by tobacco and conducted through the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute. The aim was to promote the idea that climate and pollution science is generally junk-science.
The Academic Advisory Board listed S Fred Singer and Gerhard Stohrer (SEPP - the probably authors) and a whole raft of second-rate sell-out scientists and academics, including Robert Ekeluand, Michael Gough, Dwight Lee, Thomas Moore, Robert Tollison, Richard Wagner, and a few others.
Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy : A Critical Examination, is an evaluation of the data, statistical analyses, and underlying scientific theories that underlie the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) policy decisions on environmental tobacco smoke, radon, pesticides and hazardous clean-up under the Superfund law. It has four case studies:
- Environmental Tobacco Smoke — which quotes all the standard tobacco-friendly/funded scientists — and concludes that there is no problem.
- Radon — which the tobacco industry was trying to use, both as a scapegoat for lung-cancer rates, and later as a way to ridicule the EPA for over-reacting.
- Pesticides — which was probably funded by the chemical industry, although the tobacco industry also had a problem with residual pesticides left on the tobacco leaf, They bring up the Alar scandal to made a case that health-activists over-react.
- Superfund toxic site cleanup — where the tobacco industry, and many other poisoning and polluting industries had a problem. It is portrayed as a grossly expensive waste of effort.
1994 Aug 11: The Alexis de Tocqueville Institute has produced a report by S Fred Singer of SEPP via Philip Morris's own PR-firm APCO, for the tobacco industry and other industries in a small coalition.
This was a well-funded, and well-camoflagued attack on the activist concerns about Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), which hid behind the potential problems raised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over radon, pesticides and the SuperFund toxic chemicals in the environment. It says:
" Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examination" is an evaluation of the data, statistical analyses, and underlying scientific theories that underlie the Envirorunental Protection Agency's (EPA) policy decisions on environmental tobacco smoke, radon, pesticides and hazardous clean-up under the Superfund law.
[Of course, no one mentioned that John Graham and his Harvard Center for Risk Analysis were also tobacco industry-funded lobbyists.]
With the total costs of environmental regulations estimated to be $150 billion annually — or $1,500 per U.S. household — it is extremely important that environmental decisions be based on sound scientific analyses of potential risks to public health and the environment, and that the costs of environmental regulation be weighed against the benefits. [Note the lack of conculsions that it was even more important for American industry to clean up its act and stop polluting!]
But as Dr John Graham of the Harvard Center on Risk Analysis notes, "While it may seem obvious that EPA should use good science, students of the Agency have documented that the Agency's leadership, when preoccupied with public fears and legal pressures, has sometimes allowed good science to be neglected."
The aim of this report was to group together a number of different environmental threats (which most Republicans had been convinced were fallacious), create a giant scarecrow, then classify them jointly as examples of the EPA's strawman threats to health. This, they held, was evidence of the radical agenda of the EPA and other anti-smoking, anti-polluting zealots.
The Advisory Panel for this operation comprised Robert Tollison, Richard Wagner, Dwight Lee, Gary Anderson, Mark Thornton, Robert Ekelund, Jeffrey Clark, and Richard Vedder from the cash-for-comments economists network, as well as a few other tobacco industry consultants and well-known lobbyists.
This report market a turning-point in the tobacco industry's fight-back operations. Philip Morris had just successfully established The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). Steve Milloy at TASSC had the job of labelling any anti-tobacco study results as 'junk-science' and APCO who secretly ran TASSC, had extended the reach of this new 'junk-science' operation to embrace mutual-help relationships with the major poisoning and polluting industries which were becoming embroiled in the problems of climate change.
This was one of the tobacco industry's contributions to the 'anti-science' movement which was intended to counter both anti-smoking and climate change research.
1995 /E: The same Auburn University cash-for-comments economists team are working also for the alcohol industry [Most tobacco companies own beer and/or distilled spirits companies].
"Exclusive Territories and Advertising Restrictions in the Malt Beverage Industry" William Shughart, Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., John D. Jackson, David S. Saurman, and Robert D. Tollison. [See also their 1988 report on alcohol advertising]
1995 April: The Western Economic Association International journal Economic Inquiry publishes another (probably the last) tobacco-funded study done by the Auburn University cabal of lobbyists. "The Demand for Cigarette Smuggling" by Richard P Saba, T Randoph Beard, Robert B Ekelund Jr, and Rand W Ressler. Predictably, it attacks cigarette excise taxes because this encourages inter-State smuggling, and it is loaded with tables of data which could only have come from Tobacco Institute files.
[The cigarette companies were later charged under RICO statutes with having fostered this smuggling]
The authors are thankful for the help they received from John Jackson and Bob Tollison — but not (apparently) for the Tobcco Institute which doesn't get a credit.
Essentially the study's conclusions are that the inelacticity of demand for cigarettes [a euphemism for 'nicotine addiction'] means that the addicts will cross borders to buy them cheaper if they can.
This pseudo-study of cigarette smuggling by Ekelund, Saba, Beard and Ressler became the foundation for the tobacco industry propaganda against higher cigarette excise taxes from 1995 on. About half of the 300-odd archive references to Ekelund are citations of this study.
1995 Apr 20: RJ Reynolds has produced a report labeled "SAMMEC - Recent Efforts"
The tobacco industry had continued its funding of attacks on this economic model using the services of
- Theodor Sterling;
- John Ashford [Uni of Exeter UK];
- Richard Wagner; Richard Ault and Robert Ekelund;
- SAI [Stanley Greenfield and Systems Analysis International ;
- Jones Day Reavis & Pogue [lawyers];
- William Butler [Could be either WH or WJ Butler];
- Gary Huber and Brigid Byrne.
After mid-95 any sign of Ekelund and his associates doing research or writing lobbying material for the tobacco industry disappears from the archives. Many of the industry's top consultants are now being exposed by the press, and the mercenary academics are keeping their heads down.
However Ekelund and his associates continue to be quoted as 'independent authorities' in industry propaganda.
1998 Aug 15: The Florida Press Journal carries an article "Government assults success" by cash-for-comments economist DT Armentano which attacks the McCain tobacco bill and the FDA.
The list of the activities of the other economists shows that the network continued to be operated by the Tobacco Institute itself (under Walter Woodson, and Lance Morgan - both Public Affairs division).
[Savarese appears not to be now in the picture.]
However, since legally discovered tobacco documents had already begun to appear on-line, the TI stff have carefully deleted the names of the Professor of Economics who wrote each op-ed piece.
Ekelund is listed under the heading
ALABAMA Auburn University
- DECLINED: Mobile Register
- FORTHCOMING: Montgomery Advertiser
1999: The Savarese network of economists continues behind the scenes until at least early 1999. However, after the Cipollone Case (when thousands of tobacco documents were released to the public) and following the Master Settlement Agreement (1997-98) when millions of documents were put on-line, the evidence of later network activities disappears from the tobacco archives.
This doesn't mean that these economists stopped working for the tobacco industry — just that they kept their communications to the telephone — and Savarese didn't send their material on to the Tobacco Institute for vetting and legal checks because it no longer existed. It was dismembered as part of the Settlement Agreement.
This professor appears to have remained a member to the end.
Savarese died in February 2009.
1999 Oct 19: Thirty Seven right-wing academics have signed an "Open Letter to the Attorney General" in support of senior tobacco industry executives and helpers who were under threat of being charged with Racketeering under the RICO Act. This was two years after the signing of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)
It appears to be a final-draft version (organised through George Mason University) from the Philip Morris files. It says [truncated]
It has been signed by Robert Ekelund and many of the network economists (and other 'consultants' and academic lobbyists) from all the well-known laissez-faire universities. (At least half of the signatories worked for tobacco at some time.)
- The lawsuit instituted by the Department of Justice against the tobacco industry to recover Medicare expenses from smoking related illnesses is without legal or economic merit. This politically motivated, thinly disguised tax ignores the rule of law and establishes dangerous precedents and threats to free enterprise.
- The tobacco industry should not be denied its constitutional right to require individual evidence of causation and damages.
- The Administrations' effort to circumvent the will of Congress is transparent. Congress has already rebuffed federal government efforts to tax tobacco out of existence when it rejected the McCain tobacco tax bill in 1998. Other administration efforts such as the Food and Drug Administrations effort to expand its jurisdiction to include cigarettes and tobacco have been rejected by federal courts of appeals.
- This action poses an unprecedented threat to commerce and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. The federal assault on cigarettes threatens to establish a dangerous precedent for other industries.
- The Department of Justice Tobacco Medicare litigation violates elementary considerations of fairness and undermines confidence in the constitutional system. We oppose this threat of vast expropriation of private property and this attempt at taxation through litigation.
2003: Visiting Professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas
2004 Feb: The old network economists were still trying to justify their involvement with the tobacco industry. Applied Economics, carried the article: Smokeless tobacco, smoking cessation and harm reduction: an economic analysis
Robert Burton Ekelund Jr, Richard Ault, John Jackson, and Richard Saba
ABSTRACT: Good estimates place 'hard core' smoking rates in the United States at approximately 25%, with little change over the decade of the 1990s. This paper examines the possibilities of 'harm reduction' with the use of smokeless tobacco.
Specifically, using an econometric model we seek to determine whether an increase in the use of smokeless tobacco would lead to reduced smoking rates in the United States. Applying our model to the NHANES III (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) we find that the use of smokeless tobacco by an average U.S. male smoker would increase the average probability of smoke cessation by over 10%. Approximately 3 million additional 'quits' would result for 26 million smokers.
Our study permits an examination of cessation by age groups and we find that males who use smokeless tobacco between 16 and 65 have a 10-14% probability of quitting but that the probability falls beyond age 66. Important implications for life extension and health costs would attend these results with, under conservative assumptions, life years saved approximating 2.16 million and health care cost-savings of about $3 billion per year.
2008 Sept 4: Mark Thornton and Ekelund are circulating "More Awful Truths About Republicans" It is a 'Tea Party' attack on those Republicans who were flirting with economic stimulus ["socialist economic policy"]
2011: Economic Origins of Roman Christianity, by Ekelund and Robert Tollison.
In the global marketplace of ideas, few realms spark as much conflict as religion. For millions of people, it is an integral part of everyday life, reflected by a widely divergent supply of practices and philosophical perspectives. Yet, historically, the marketplace has not always been competitive. While the early Common Era saw competition between Christianity, Judaism, and the many pagan cults, Roman Christianity came eventually to dominate Western Europe.
[Two of the least 'moral' of all American academic economists decide in their dotage to write about Religion as a marketing problem.]
Using basic concepts of economic theory, Robert B. Ekelund Jr. and Robert D. Tollison explain the origin and subsequent spread of Roman Catholicsm....
|The Independent Institute, which is itself a component of the Atlas Group of ultra-free-market think tanks with links to the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute [all heavily dependent on commissioned corporate funding] appears to have taken over the role of administrator of the Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments network at the end of the 1990s.
Their research director and journal editor, Robert Higgs, was already a member of the network. Tobacco funding continued to flow to the Independent Institute which appears to have taken on the role of 'warehousing' these academic supporters to insulate them from discovery. The Institute acquired the bulk of the cabal of cash-for-comments economists who were still operating, and some who had been retired:
- Bruce L Benson, Florida State
- Robert Higgs, Independent Institute
- William Shugart, Utah State
- Richard Vedder, Ohio University
Also dozens of other academics and writers who provided independent contract services to the tobacco industry — like Richard Epstein, John Goodman, Peter Huber, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Rubin, Peter Samuel, S Fred Singer. Russell Sobel, etc.
- Burton Abrams, Uni of Delaware
- Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge
- Dominick Armentano, Uni of Hartford
- Peter Boettke, George Mason Uni
- Thomas DiLorenzo, Loyola College, Maryland
- Robert Ekelund, Auburn Uni
- Lowell E Gallaway, Ohio Uni
- Randall Holcombe, Florida State
- Dwight Lee, Southern Methodist Uni
- Cotton 'Matt' Lindsay, Clemson Uni
- Fred McChesney, Northwestern Uni
- Mark Pauly, Uni of Pennsylvania
- Richard Stroup, Montana State
- Mark Thornton, Ludwig von Mises Institute
- Richard Wagner, George Mason Uni
- Bruce Yandle, Clemson Uni