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.
Frank Leander (Sunny) Sundstrom
(R-NJ) A Republican Congressman for New Jersey who later became a lobbyist/adviser for the distilling industry and simultaneously the Government Relations Vice President at the Tobacco Institute. He worked for the tobacco industry for most of a decade without ever signing or authoring a document (except his employment contracts).
He died of unknown causes (probably smoking-related) in 1980, but his family remained on the Tobacco Institute payroll for another five years, probably due to a creative tax-dodge.
What most obviously characterises Frank Sundstrom 's correspondence in the Tobacco Institute files and the tobacco archives, is that it doesn't exist. There is nothing he authored in the archives, and only a few mentions of any significance on file. So either Sundstrom's correspondence didn't exist (perhaps he didn't put anything on record) or it has been scrupulously culled from the records.
In this Government Relations position, he would have been in Washington for most of his working week, and must therefore have needed to keep in touch with the Tobacco Institute members in other parts of the country and with the member-company lobbyists. But, if he did, there are no records.
During his time on the Tobacco Institute payroll, he appears to have been simultaneously working as a consultant/lobbyist for the distilling industry (with the agreement of the TI). It should be remembered that most of cigarette companies also owned alcohol-related businesses, and the tobacco industry was in many coalitions with the hotel, brewing, restaurant and similar industry lobbies. He may have been hired specifically to promote these coalitions.
Sundstrom retired from the Tobacco Institute in 1974 — then died a few years later.
Note that there is also no internal exchange of memos, letters, file-notes, etc. when he did actually die ... other than a record of his passing in the minutes of the Institute the following year.
This was standard industry practice. When smoking executives die on the job, they just disappear from the records and their passing goes unreported by associates and workmates.
He had a son Frank L Sundstrom Jr who worked as a comptroller with Mobile Chemical Co.
1901 Jan 5: Born Massena, New York
1918–20: Newspaper reporter and editor.
1923: Football star (All American)
1924: Graduated from Cornell Uni AB Degree, majored in Economics
1925–69: "Engaged in the banking and brokerage business in New York City"
1942–48: Chairman of the Republic County Committee, East Orange, New Jersey
1943–48: Republican Representative for New Jersey in Congress until Jan 1949
1948 Nov: Unsuccessful candidate for his fourth term in Congress.
1954–69: Vice President and Director of Schenley Distillers, and VP/ Director of PR for Schenley Industries.
1967 July 19: The American Tobacco files hold a memo transfer-slip from the "Hon Frank L Sundstrom of Schenley Associates to Laurence Runyon Jr" sending him the Department of Health, Education and Welfare's directory of ongoing research in Smoking and Health."
[Laurence Philip Runyon II was an executive with American Tobacco Co in New York]
1969 - 76
His Congress biography and Wikipedia list him as remaining "a consultant for a group of United States distillers"
, which would mean that he retained this consultancy while working for the Tobacco Institute [entirely possible]
1969 Jan 9: The employment agreement between Sundstrom and the Tobacco Institute, signed by Earle Clements and Joseph Cullman 3rd, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO of Philip Morris.
- Sundstrom is resident at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
- He is to provide "advisory services."
- His employment extends until December 31 1971.
- Paid $15,000 per annum
- Compensated for 'reasonable and appropriate expenses'.
The agreement is worded in deliberately vague terms to specify nothing about the work he will do. However it does have a relevant 'bonus clause'....
If you complete the entire period of your employment covered by this Letter Agreement, and any extensions thereof, you shall be entitled to receive deferred compensation in the amount of
The bulk of the agreement document is to do with this bonus system, which also says that in the event of his death, the money will go to his estate.
- $6,666.66 multiplied by the number of full calendar months from February 1, 1969, through the final termination date, and
- $1,935.48 for the period from January 23, 1969 through January 31, 1969.
Such deferred compensation shall be payable in one hundred and twenty (120) equal monthly installments.
This is probably a tax dodge because he already is being paid by the liquor industry and probably has a Congressional pension.
They later modified his superannuation plan
1969 Jan 23: Joined the Tobacco Institute as the VP Government Relations
1969 Nov 3: He is listed just as a "Vice President of the Tobacco Institute" and figures in the phone list and later in the 1970 annual report. His role is clearly Washington government relations and lobbying.
1970: Tobacco Institute top personel listed at annual general meeting.
- Earle Clements is President and Executive Director
- Frank Dryden is Vice President, Administration
- William Kloepfer Jr, VP, Public Relations
- Horace Kornegay, VP and Counsel
- Frank Sundstrom, VP [Gov. Relations]
- Edward Ragland, VP and Secretary
- Frank Welch, VP, State Activities
- Charles Benbow, Treasurer
- Kathryn Golden, Assistant Secretary
- Stanley Temko, Counsel
1971 Feb 19: This Frank Dryden (another Tobacco Institute government lobbyist) memo copied to Sundstrom deals with his lobbying efforts. Nothing in this time is written by Sundstrom himself.
1971 May 14: He is recorded at a TI "Communications Committee" meeting. The minutes record:
Liquor Trade Advertising; At Mr. Kornegay's request Mr. Sundstrom presented a proposal to run one-third page of advertising each month in the newsletter of the National Licensed Beverage Association (circulation: 38,000) at a monthly cost of about $1,500. Dr Welch provided support for the proposition that such advertising on a regular basis might help develop additional "grass roots" opposition to state cigarette tax increases.
Clearly Sundstrom is acting as the bridge between the alcohol and tobacco industries and helping them in the formation of political coalitions.
1971 July 26: Kornegay is advised by Kloepfer about the first advertisement placed in the National Licensed Beverage Association News.
1971 Nov 23: Kornegay, for the Tobacco Institute, sets a letter of agreement to Frank Sundstrom, who is then resident at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC, setting out an amended terms of employment for another year. [His first $15,000 pa contract expired Dec 1971] This agreement extends his employment until at least December 31 1972 — and gives the Tobacco Institute the right to terminate the agreement ...
" if you decline or are unable, by reason of illness or other cause, for a period of sixty days to perform the duties assigned to you as an employee of The Institute.
1974 March 14: The minutes of the Executive Committee of the TI records Sundstrom's attendance, but he appears to play no part in the proceedings.
1975 Jan 30: Horace Kornegay's speech at the Annual Meeting of the Tobacco Institute says:
I would like to call your attention to the retirement of Dr Welch this past December 31. The Institute is deeply indebted to Dr Welch for his contribution and assistance to our industry over these past twelve and one=half years. Likewise, I would say the same to Frank "Sunny" Sundstrom who moved on to other pursuits at Mid-year.
as the minutes recorded it:
He mentioned that Mr. Sundstrom had contributed much to the work of the Institute in the area of Federal Government relations, and had brought to his work at the Institute extensive experience in industry and as a member of Congress.
RESOLVED, That the Institute wishes Mr .Sundstrom well in the years to come
1979 Nov 9: The Tobacco Institute is still paying him the 'deferred salary'.
1980 May 23: Died
1984 June 1: The Tobacco Institute makes a final payment of $33,904 in "deferred compensation" to the Estate of Frank Sundstrom . Note that no earlier payments are recorded in the archives. [This amount would be two years of payments at $15,000 pa]