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.
John S Howe
— A cash-for-comment economist from the University of Kansas, who worked for the tobacco industry writing newspaper op-eds to promote their viewpoint. —
Professor John Howe was an regular writer for the tobacco industry's cash-for-comments academics network from mid to the end of the 1980s. In this period he shared the job of providing disinformation in the State of Kansas with Professor Michael Babcock of Kansas State University in Manhattan KS. Babcock was probably in a better position to plant op-eds, etc on the Kansas newspapers.
Howe is unusual in that he appears to have had very little relationship with Robert Tollison or with other members of the Public Choice Society/Center for the Study of Popular Choice which formed the core of the network.
The Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments economists network had between 50 and a hundred economists, mainly at various US State universities, who were signed up to work surrepticiously for the tobacco industry. This network had been organized by Professor Robert D (Bob) Tollison and his partner James Savarese through the Tobacco Institute.
Most academics did their lobbying for the cigarette companies only with the proviso that their links to the industry were protected from discovery, and that payments were laundered by being passed through one or more corporate bank-accounts.
It worked this way:
- The economists were commissioned when needed.
- They passed drafted op-eds back to Savarese and Tollison for embellishment and checking,
- These were then cleared for legalities by tobacco industry lawyers.
- They were then returned to the economists with instructions to send them to newspapers designated by the Tobacco Institute,
- Copies were also to be sent on university letterhead to a list of Congressmen in their home State [usually those on key Congressional Committees].
This was a clear attempt to influencing Congressmen and the public via the media by utilising the special privileges and popular respect given to university academics entering into public discourse, on the understanding that they were not working on behalf of special interests. But these academics were.
A few of the more money-hungry of these economists were willing to provide witness statements prepared by the Tobacco Institute at Congressional or local ordinance hearings. Some were sent on two- or three-day media tours if some excuse would be found for them to be interviewed by regional print journalists, or to appear on various radio and TV shows. The Tobacco Institute retained a national PR company, Fleishman-Hillard to handle these tours — and.
In order to manage such a large and diverse group, Anna Tollison, the wife of Professor Robert Tollison, and two staffers from the Center for the Study of Popular Choice (George Mason University), began working part-time with James Savarese whose company James Savarese & Associates acted as the front and cut-out between the economists and the Tobacco Institute.
Don't confuse with
• A chemist John Howe Scott who also appears in the tobacco documents.
• Honorable John P Howe listed in the archives
• John Howard at the Arlington Park Race Track (Director of Sales)
• Dr. John Howe, University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC)
• John Howe of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger who worked for Philip Morris
Some key documents
• Professor John Howe, School of Business, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
1978: to 1980 Graduate Instructor, Purdue University.
1981: to 1988, Assistant Professor of Business, University of Kansas.
1985 Dec: /E President Ronald Reagan asked Senator Bob Packwood, chairman of the US Senate Finance Committee, to design a proposal for comprehensive tax reform
which would reduce the highest individual income tax rate down to 35% from its current 50% level, but retain adequate incentives for business investment, and avoid inclusion of any new taxes.
In an attempt to do this without reducing the total amount of tax revenue that is currently collected, the Packwood plan proposes to offset reduced revenues from income taxes by what the Wall Street Journal has referred to as a "backdoor increase in excise taxes."
The Packwood plan proposes to eliminate the income tax deductibility of excise taxes and import tariffs paid by businesses [and it] would increase federal excise tax receipts by an estimated $75 billion over five years. Approximately $13 billion of this would be a result of a direct increase in excise taxes on motor fuel, wine, distilled spirits, and tobacco.
See also in this document James Savarese's report to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute on the progress of his Packwood Excise Tax/Op-Ed project. This economist and 18 others are writing opinion pieces for their local newspapers, and sending letters to their congressmen.
[The Packwood Plan triggered a substantial increase in the activities of the cash-for-comments economists already employed by the tobacco industry and led to the creation of the very substantial network of academic economists in every state who could be called upon to help fight tax increases on cigarettes — and later public smoking bans.]
His involvement is confirmed by a listing of the network on a state-by-state basis:
KANSAS A copy of the article clipping was attached.
Prof. John Howe
Submitted to Paper: 3/22/86, Wichita Eagle Beacon
Letters to Senators: 3/22/86, Dole, Kassebaum
Current Status: Published 4/6/86 Eagle Beacon
1986 March: Copies of the letters that the cash-for-comments economists wrote to various newspapers editors, and also the ones they wrote to their Senators — none of which mentioned that they'd been paid by the Tobacco Institute to write both the op-eds and the Congressional letters. These were sent to the Tobacco Institute as proof of their activities.
John Howe, School of Business, University of Kansas, wrote to the editorial board of the Wicheta Eagle-Beacon (with his op-ed) and also to Senator Robert Dole and Senator Nancy Kassebaum.
Accompanying this letter you will find a brief paper which summarises my analysis of the excise tax provision of the Packwood tax reform bill. Foremost among the conclusions: this provision will have a disproportionately adverse impact on the Kansas economy.
I urge you not to increase tax revenues by raising excise taxes (either directly or indirectly).
See Pages 4 to 6
Clippings of some of the network members' published articles for this project are grouped here for Professors Jadlow, Dalton, Maurice, and Scott Atkinson.
1986 Mar 13: Howe has managed to plant an op-ed "Excise taxes: Backdoor Tax Increase" on the Wichita Eagle-Beacon. One part says about excises:
"This method of raising tax revenues is particularly repugnant, for a variety of reasons.
- First it disproportionately impacts industries subject to federal excise taxes and their customers.
- Second, it is a hidden tax: this is, of course, politically expedient.
- Third, it is likely to be a regressive tax, falling more on persons with lower income,...offset[ing] the proposed reduction in personal income taxes...
- Fourth, it violates the long-established principle of allowing as deductions legitimate costs of doing business "
1986 Mar 20: Tobacco Institute document: Background Update Of the Estimated Effect of the Packwood Tax Plan On the Price Increase Necessary For Cigarettes
If the deductibility of the excise taxes is eliminated, then most, if not all, of this tax increase will be passed on to tobacco consumers as price increases to cover the additional corporate taxes they will be required to pay, plus the indexed excise tax requirement.
On the basis of 1985 sales, and the level of federal excise taxes paid on cigarettes, the level of taxable sales would be: $4.5 billion / $0.16 = 28.125 billion packs — the remainder are either sent overseas as exports or to armed services, or to government institutions.
If the Packwood plan is adopted, and if the effective tax rate on tobacco corporations is 35 percent as in 1983, the increase in corporate income taxes would be about $1.83 billion.
It must be assumed that this tax increase will be passed on to consumers in order to maintain net income. This will cause a decline in demand on the base level of 28.125 billion packs.
1986 April: Professors Joseph M Jadlow (Oklahoma) and Charles Maurice (Texas A&M) have prepared draft articles attacking the Packwood Tax Plan. James Saverese has sent them, together with clippings of articles already published, along to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute for correction and clearance. (See page 10)
It lists many dozens of articles which the cash-for-comment economist on the network have now written, including one:
Prof John Howe
Submitted to Paper: 3/22/86, Wichita Eagle Beacon
Current Status: Published 4/6/86
Letter have been sent on 3/22/86 to Senators Dole and Kassebaum
The Tobacco Institute also keeps a record of his submissions and letters to his State Senators, which is circulated to the tobacco companies (here Lorillard).
One of the network economists, William Mitchell, has also written an "Open Letter to Senator Packwood" attacking his plan, and this is being circulated along with a letter from "Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, Inc."
1986 Apr 1: An Open Letter to Senator Robert Packwood (by Wm Mitchell) has been sent to the network economists to help them write their articles. This is a checklist of those in the 1) Writing Stage 2) Submitted to Newspapers 3) Letters Written to Senators.
This cash-for-comments participant has written both the article and the letters to Senators, and has obediently attached copies of both, which are sent back to the Tobacco Institute.
1986 Apr 6: A list of excerpts from major newspaper editorials and op-eds about the Packwood tax plan. This list includes quotes from Pogue, Howe, Lee Anderson, and others in the network. Howe's quote is
John S. Howe, Assistant Professor of Business, University of Kansas, in the Wichita Eagle-Beacon,
"Excise taxes: Backdoor Tax Increase"
"This method of raising tax revenues is particularly repugnant, for a variety of reasons. First-it disproportionately impacts industries subject to federal excise taxes and their customers. Second, it is a hidden tax: this is, of course, politically expedient —Third, it is likely to be a regressive tax, falling more on persons with lower income,...offsetting] the proposed reduction in personal income taxes...Fourth, it violates the long-established principle of allowing as deductions legitimate costs of doing business "
1986 April 6: One of John Howe's op-eds for the network is published in the Wichita Eagle-Beacon, Excise Taxes: Backdoor Tax Increase. It is an attack on the Packwood legislation (making certain costs non-deductable), but the article makes no mention that it was written for the tobacco industry. In fact, tobacco is only listed incidentally as one product (along with airline tickets, heavy trucks, busses and trailers) which will suffer a cost increase. His angle is that "these taxes are particularly onerous at a time when the Kansas economy is sluggish, and will thereby discourage economic recovery."
See clipping page 15
1986 Apr 11: The Tobacco Institute plans for State-by-State actions to generate opposition to the Packwood Tax Plan.
1986 Apr 15: Jim Savarese is reporting to Fred Panzer at the TI about the [anti] Packwood Tax Plan project. He includes numerous letters sent to Senators, copies of published op-eds, and a revised op-ed for Maine and one for Minnesota, He lists the successes of the network economists, including:
KANSA, Prof John Howe
[Submitted to] Whichita Eagle Beacon 3/22/86
[Letters sent to Senators] Dole and Kassebaum 3/22/86
1986 Apr 15: Jim Savarese is reporting to Fred Panzer at the TI about the [anti] Packwood Tax Plan project.
We have contacted the following people and have asked them to request to testify before the Senate Finance Committee on April 21, 1986. As of today, no one has been asked to testify, but here is the current status.
We will check back with these people daily to see if they have heard anything and I'll let you know as soon as we are successful.
- J.J. Boddewyn, New York - called and wrote [CUNY]
- B. Poulson, Colorado - called and wrote
- Michael Crew, New Jersey - called and wrote [Rutgers]
- William Mitchell, Oregon - called and wrote [Uni of Oregon]
- Richard McKenzie, Missouri - called and wrote [Washington Uni, St Louis]
- Ann Harper-Fender, Pennsylvania - called and wrote [Gettysburg College]
- Joseph Jadlow, Oklahoma - called and wrote [Oklahoma State]
- Robert Tollison, Virginia and D.C. - called and wrote [George Mason]
- John Howe, Kansas - previous commitment
- Terry Anderson, Montana - previous commitment
- Lee Anderson, Delaware - previous commitment
1986 May: /E A Tobacco Institute list of "Schedule of Payments - Excise Tax Op-Ed project." (April-May 1986) This lists those academic economists who have already planted their article on a local newspaper, and the amount they are to be paid.
They appear to have been paid $900 for each article, and $1025 if they had also made contact with their local Congressman. However a number of the cash-for-comments network members 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]
Howe in Kansas has been given the target of planting his article on the Topeka Cap. Journal and was due for payment of $1025.00.
A later Schedule of Payments increases this amount by another "$800.00 — 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 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, (including one from this source.)
See Howe's letter on page 180 in the document bundle.
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:
Kansas [ Region VIII ]
Professor John Howe
School of Business, University of Kansas, Larence, Kansas 66045, 913-864-3536
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:
Professor John Howe
School of Business, University of Kansas,
Lawrence, Kansas 66045, 913-864-3536
Prof Michael Babcock
Department of Economics, Kansas State University,
Manhattan, KS 66506, 913-532-7357
1987 Mar 22: A list of quotes taken from newspaper editorials and from the op-eds planted by the cash-for-comments economists.
Topeka Capital-Journal, March 22 1987, Congress flirts with hidden taxes.
"Excise taxes are concealed taxes. The average person does not realize the amount of excise taxes he pays."
John S. Howe, assistant professor of business, University of Kansas
[Another document quotes from a COST article:
There is simply nothing to recommend an increase in federal excise taxes. As John S. Howe, an assistant professor of business at the University of Kansas, wrote in March: "Excise taxes are hidden, regressive and selective.
Increases in such taxes likely to be considered by Congress in 1987 should not be tolerated. We will need to watch closely for possible tax increases and to voice our displeasure to lawmakers about such increases."
[It is really heartwarming to see how these disciples of Ayn Rand are really concerned with economic imposts on the down-trodden underclass. However they don't seem to notice that cigarette company profits and medical and welfare costs associated with smoking and health are also regressive.]
1987 Apr 21: Walter Woodson (Communications Manager) at the Tobacco Institute has circulated some newspaper clippings of articles written for them by academic economists, and included some draft letters-to-the-editor complementing the economists for local staff (TAN) to write. Howe's article is included.
1987 May 14: Jeff Rose informs his manager Susan Stuntz on the Status of Excise Tax Op-ed Assignment:
As of today, economic consultants have submitted 27 excise tax articles to newspapers in House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Congressional districts on the excise tax issue. Fifteen articles (copies attached) have been published.
Also attached are two additional articles from the Chattanooga News-Free Press and the New Jersey Star-Ledger. These articles were based on interviews with economic consultants.
She congratulates him and suggests that, like last year, he put the clipping together and circulate them.
1987 May 28: Economic Consultants in Region VIII — Recruitment document from TI staffer Stan Boman to his superior Hurst Marshall in State Activities at the Tobacco Institute.
[The Tobacco Institute has just had James Saverese & Associates/Bob Tollison's books audited because they suspected laundered payments hadn't been made to the economists. This represented a change to a formal retainer by the Tobacco Institute.]
Following is the information you requested on TI economic consultants in Region VIII. Contact will be made during the next week with Allen Parkman in New Mexico and Chuck Masen [sic] in Wyoming. I will update my report accordingly at that time.
He provides details of five other consultant economists:
Colorado: Prof Barry Poulson
Contact made — Personal Visit
Results of Contact — Excellent - extremely knowledgeable and persuasive
Recommendations — Recommend retaining him and using him extensively in the future.
Kansas:Prof John Howe
Contact made — Personal Visit
Results of Contact — Good — Scholarly appearance and demeanor — very knowledgeable
Recommendations — Recommend retaining him,
Missouri: Prof Arthur Denzan
Contact made — Phone call
Results of Contact — Cordial — good speaking voice — seems eager to help
Recommendations — Recommend retaining him, and using him at first opportunity
Oklahoma: Prof Joseph Jadlow
Contact made — Personal visit
Results of Contact — Positively excelent! — Extremely articulate and advocates our position very well
Recommendations — Recommend his continued retainer.
Texas: Prof S Charles Maurice
Contact made — Personal visit
Results of Contact — Makes a good impression — seems eager to be of help
Recommendations — Recommend retaining him.
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.
KANSAS, Howe, Topeka Capital Journal, [circ.] 77,500, [pub date] 3/22/87
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 KANSAS 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)
Howe for Topeka Cap. Journal —Owed $800, — Total to date $1825
Total here with expenses was $33,810 on top of the $40,525 paid to the network economists.
1987 July: a selected group of the economists have been commissioned to write op-eds about cutting the deficit — and to de-emphasise the value of excise taxes. Generally they follow the line of listing four possibilities approaches
In this bundle are very similar articles planted on their local newspaper in the March-April period by
- a general consumption tax (efficient but regressive)
- increased excise taxes (inefficient and regressive)
- a national lottery (regressive and competitive with State lotteries)
- increased income taxes (unpopular)
- Dwight Lee (2 of),
- Dominick Armentano (3 of),
- John Howe,
- Joseph Jadlow,
- S Charles Maurice (2 of),
- Thomas Pogue,
- Cecil Bohanon (2 of),
- Chuck Mason,
- JR Clark (2 of),
- Allen Parkman.
- Robert Ekelund Jr. (2 of),
- William Mitchell,
- Cliff Dobitz (2 of),
- Barry Poulson,
- William Hunter,
- Michael Kurth,
- John David,
- David Gay,
- Lee Anderson,
- Robert McMahon,
- Craig McPhee,
- Brian Goff (2 of),
- Dennis Logue,
- Thomas Wyrick,
- Arthur Mead,
- Richard Wagner.
[This was one of their most successful projects. Professor Dominick Armentano writes to Anna Tollison [wife of Robert] that "... the article went national"]
1987 Aug 21: Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute has prepared a consolidated summary of "Field Staff Evaluation of Economists" for his superiors, William Kloepfer and Peter Sparber. They have been asked to look at 34 of these academics. This includes an outline of their recent achievements.
Professor John Howe University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
Excise Tax Op Eds: Topeka Capital Journal — 03/22/87
Economic Witness/Testimony: (nil)
Field Staff Contact: Yes.
Field Staff Evaluation: Very knowledgeable; recommend using in the future.
1988: to 1991, Assistant Professor of Finance, Louisiana State University.
1988 Jan 15: Jim Savarese and Associates, joint subcontractor with Ogilvy & Mather, is outlining the arrangements for handling the economists and the labor unions to the Tobacco Institute.
Nineteen eighty-seven was a banner year for the Tobacco Institute in its fight against excise tax increases at the federal level. Through careful coalition building and effective message dissemination, the Institute was able to fight the battle on its own terms and secure a substantial victory.
He then outlines a couple of problem areas before dealing with the "Economists Program." [No full list for these 42 network economists appears to exist]
In reviewing your 1988 plans, we found many areas where Ogilvy & Mather and Savarese and Associates can continue to provide services. There are also new areas where we have expertise which have not been fully explored.
Our work with the network of forty-two economists should continue into 1988. In 1987, the network was effective in producing op-eds and submitting and presenting testimony. These activities should continue in 1988. In addition, the economists network can be used for editorial board briefings, presentations at conferences and the placement of articles on this issue with major media outlets.
They also want to commission new studies. They suggest:
In order to make the most of the new opportunities for the economist network, several factors must be taken into consideration:
The opportunity exists to place economists on key economic programs, panels, and at national and regional tax policy conferences. As an addendum to this effort, it is possible to have their comments reprinted and distributed.
- only 7 or 8 of the economists within the network have the potential to make presentations to editorial boards and conferences.
- those economists selected to make presentations to editorial boards and conferences need a training program. This program may include media training through Michael Sheehan and briefings by Jim Savarese and Bob Tollison.
- the editorial board program is a limited strategy with applicability mainly at the federal level with some use at the state level.
- when implementing the editorial board program, Ogilvy & Mather can assist with pitch materials, press kits, and a placement program.
They also propose to work with a number of right-wing tax groups, some left-wing labor groups, minority groups, senior citizens, agricultural groups, and advertising companies. They propose to sponsor conferences, and make a video on excise taxes.
- Effects of an excise tax increase on the federal budget (and its fairness)
- on bootlegging "and come up with some strong conclusions" [predetermined!]
- In addition, Savarese and Associates can locate a conservative economist to make the argument that there is an acceleration of government spending when taxes are increased. The program will include placement in an economic journal.
A national Excise Tax Op-ed Program will target various important members of the Congress and big businessmen (e.g. Lee Iaococca) on the National Economic Commission (NEC). The network economists will be required to target specific newspapers, and a few key political figures. The target for this member of the network is:
Targeted paper: Topeka-Capital Journal
Economist: John Howe, University of Kansas
[Why selected:] Dean Kleckner of the American Farm Bureau can be reached through agricultural states such as Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Idaho. Senate Leader, Bob Dole, is from Kansas.
1988 Feb 8: The Tobacco Institute to its Regional VPs and Directors.
Attached is an updated list of The Institute's cadre of excise tax economists. These economists are available for testimony, one-on-one meetings with legislators, writing letters and op-ed pieces in the states in which they teach, as well as in any state you deem appropriate. This economist is listed.
1988 Mar 31: Jim Savarese is writing to Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute re the National Economic Commission (NEC) and their Excise Tax Op-Ed Projects using selected members of the cash-for-comments economists network.
I have listed below areas that we should target that would be beneficial in reaching members of the NEC. Also attached are the materials that we will send out to the authors.
Dean Kleckner of the American Farm Bureau can be reached through agricultural states such as Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Idaho. Senate Leader, Bob Dole, is from Kansas.
Targeted paper: Topeka-Capital Journal
Economist: John Howe, University of Kansas
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: Wichita Eagle Beacon
Economist: John Howe, University of Kansas.
Savarese is also handling the promotion of the Tollison/Wagner book Smoking and the State, and organizing his economists to write favourable reviews,
I have listed below potential areas where we could place book reviews for the Tollison/Wagner monograph.
Targeted paper: Wichita Eagle Beacon
Economist: John Howe University of Kansas
1988 May: Savarese has sent the Tobacco Institute a bundle of clippings of the articles planted by this and other economists in their newpapers. This is proof of service, required for payment.
Howe has managed to plant an article "Less spending, not more taxes, is the only real budget solution." on the Topeka Capital Journal.
1988 June 2: James Savarese has advised the Tobacco Institute on the current status of the "NEC Excise Tax" project. The cash-for-comments economists involved were Abrams, Armentano, Clark, Dalton, David, Davis, Howe, Logue, Maurice, Mitchell, Parkman, Sandler, Tuerck, Wyrick, and Miletello
As it now stands, 5 articles have been published, 2 articles (New Mexico and Missouri) are forthcoming, 6 articles have been submitted for publication, and 5 articles are in the revision stage. We have contacted the authors of the articles which are in the revision stage and those articles should be submitted by the end of next week.
1988 June 23: Debbie Schoonmaker at the Tobacco Institute receives a memo from contract organiser James Savarese with "an update status on the NEC Op-Ed Project: [NEC = National Economic Commission, the group they were trying to influence.]
As it now stands, 9 articles have been published, 4 articles (New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and Idaho) are forthcoming, 4 articles have been submitted for publication, and 2 articles are in the revision stage. It lists the network economists by the state in which they operate together with the academics's successes in planting articles on their principle state newspapers.
1988 July 6: /E Jim Savarese has sent the newspaper clippings of the National Economic Commission (NEC) Excise Tax Op-ed Program along to the Tobacco Institute. Following the second term of the Reagan Administration, the budget deficit had blown out to such an extent that it was obvious that the next President would need to find new revenue streams — and cigarettes were the obvious target. NEC was charged with making recommendations for deficit reduction.
The Tobacco Institute instructed their tame network economists to write op-eds for their designated local newspapers attacking the idea of increased excise taxes. These are newspaper clippings:
- Dom Armentano, Uni of Hartford (New Haven Register) "Reagan's successor must resist temptation to raise taxes."
- Burton Abrams, Uni of Delaware (Sunday News Journal) "Equitable and efficient ways to raise taxes."
- Dwight Lee, Uni of Georgia (The Atlanta Journal) "Tax increase won't cut budget deficit."
- Allen Dalton, Uni of Idaho (Idaho Press-Tribune) "Federal tax hike destined in 1989."
- Todd Sandler, Iowa State Uni (Cedar Rapids Gazette) "The Shape of Taxes to Come"
- John Howe, Uni of Kansas (The Capital-Journal) "Less spending, not more taxes, is the only real budget solution."
- David Tuerck, Suffolk University (The Boston Globe) "A sinful proposal".
- Thomas Wyrick, Southwest Missouri State (The News-Leader) "Higher taxes can't solve budget crisis."
- JR Clark, Fairleigh Dickinson Uni (Daily Record NJ) "Excise tax: Bitter medicine for economy."
- William Mitchell, Uni of Oregon (Register-Guard) "Tax increases not solution to reducing deficit."
- Michael Davis, Southern Methodist Uni (Dallas Times Herald) "Excise taxes are far from painless remedy."
- Charles Maurice, Texas A&M Uni (Houston Post) "Economic panel lets officials dodge the deficit bullet."
- John David, West Virginia Tech (Charleston Gazette) "Taxes will target the poor."
1989 Jan 11: The Tobacco Institute's Scientific Consultancy Activity 1988-89
This is an 80 page mixed bag of files dumped together [Well worth perusing]. The first document is from 1990 [ordered in reverse]
- Pages 3 to 23 begin with Witness Appearances in 1988 and 1989 involving both "Indoor Air Quality experts" who work for the Tobacco Institute, and three economists [Bob Tollison, Richard Wagner and Dwight Lee]
- Pages 24 to 31 Labor IAQ Presentations in 1988 and 1989 which involves key figures in the labor movement and a few "IAQ experts."
- Pages 32 to 39 IAQ/ETS conferences attended by tobacco industry disinformation experts in 1988 and 1989
- Pages 40 to 41 Academic and Unaffiliated Scientfic Witnesses
- Pages 43 to 53 Smokers Rights Legislation in various states.
- See page 54: Tobacco Institute "Confidential" memo on "Tax Hearing Readiness" which is their battle plan to counter earmaking of cigarette excise taxes to fund health programs. It lists a large number of organizations and a few congressmen who can be relied on to help. It also has both primary and secondary lists of economists from Tollison's "cash-for-comments" network willing to give testimony.
The Tobacco Institute's list of cash-for-comments professors and senior academics who were available to write op-eds and give evidence at Congressional hearings, etc. had grown extensively.
- 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."
Prof John Howe, School of Business, University of Kansas
Prof Michael Babcock, Kansas State Univ.
[TI budget papers show that each op-ed now earned the economists $3,000. Presentations to conferences earned them $5,000. Savarese was paid $70 to $100,000 pa for this project, and Ogilvy & Mather $250,000.].
See page 5
1989 April 18: Susan Stuntz (Issues Manager) at the Tobacco Institute 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 John Howe]
1990 May 7: The Tobacco Institute's "1991 Tax and Social Cost Plans" have sections on
This is an updated list with the current locations of each, with phone numbers and addresses.
- "Social Costs" Hearings Readiness (preparation for fielding witnesses at Congressional hearings.) They list here the arguments that the Institute and its allies must be prepared to present.
- "Tax" Hearing Readiness (as above, but for excise tax increases, State and Federal)
- List of cash-for-comment network economists in each State.
Professor John Howe
School of Business, University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas 66045 913-864-3536
Prof Michael Babcock
Department of Economics, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506 913-532-7357
References to John Howe disappear from the archives at this point, most probably because he transfered to Louisiana, and they already had a couple of network academics covering this state.
1991: to 1994, Associate Professor of Finance, Louisiana State University.
1994: to 1996, Associate Professor of Finance, University of Missouri.
1996: Professor of Finance, University of Missouri.
2001: Senior Fellow, Contracting and Organizations Research Institute, University of Missouri.
2003: Missouri Bankers Chair, University of Missouri.
2011 Apr: Visiting Fellow, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology,.