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.
Lee J Alston
— A cash-for-comment economist who worked for the tobacco industry while holding a job as Assistant Professor at Williams College, MA. —
The idea of running a team of cash-for-comments academic economists was developed by Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations for the Tobacco Institute in 1983 and 1984. At that time the operation was run by one of O&M's contracted consultants, James Savarese, who had both economics and labor/union contacts and it focussed on a small core-group of academic economists who were found speaking engagements at various society meetings.
Savarese knew Professor Robert Tollison, of the Economics Department of George Mason University who also ran the neo-con/supply-side Public Choice Society. Tollison had excellent contacts with a large number of Hayek [libertarian] economists at other universities, due mainly to his directorship of the Center for the Study of Public Choice, which was located at GMU, but run as a private think-tank.
Tobacco Industry money generously supported the Center, and before long Tollison and Savarese were using it as a recruitment and money-laundry service to develop the cash-for-comments network among appropriate academic economists. The idea was to have at least one "Professor of Economics" at a prominent local university, in each of the States, who was willing to support and promote industry propaganda. They were paid on a piece-work basis, averaging $1,000 to $3,000 each for articles planted in local newspapers, or for appearances as 'independent expert witnesses' at legislative or ordinance hearings on smoking bans, or the raising of excise taxes on cigarettes.
The first project began in June 1984 with Tollison and Savarese getting 13 economists on their network to write op-ed articles in support of the tobacco industry position on excise taxes. They were sent first to the Tobacco Institute for 'improvement' and legal clearance, then returned to the economist who was instructed to plant them on a specific local newspaper, then send copies to their Congressman.
Jim Savarese and Bob Tollison (supported by Anne Tollison and staff from the Center) took over the operations from O&M, and branched out into a diverse range of cash-for-comments networks: academic professors in law, business, marketing, and advertising, indoor-air-quality testing experts, risk-assessment specialists, biomedical researchers.
These academics all had in common the desire to make money from the tobacco industry without revealing their connection to the 'Merchants of Death'. Savarese and Tollison provided them with the shield from 'legal discovery' so they were able to claim that these were "independent expert opinion articles" (op-eds), and some of the better newspapers would have paid them for their contributions.
They were also designated to attend local ordinance hearings on public smoking, and in some cases to attended and gave expert evidence to Congressional inquiries and the like. Their credibility rested on the fact that they were esteemed academics from a university — so, in effect, they mined the credibility of their employer for personal gain.
By 1989 Tollison and Savarese seem to have had about 65 Professors of Economics on their books, and about the same number (combined) in the other academic disciplines.
Decline The Savarese-Tollison partnership appears to have broken up around 1990, but Savarese continued to run the operation for most of the decade — often using Tollison just as one source (but better paid than the others).
Over time — and sometimes abruptly — some of these economists dropped out of the operation. Some obviously did not like their articles being modified by the Tobacco Istitute, and [who knows] ... maybe some even developed a conscience?
A few new recruits were added regularly to the networks in the 1990 - 1994 period, but the tobacco companies themselves tended to take control of the biomedical research specialist network [probably because of the legal necessity of dealing with them through lawyers to avoid the risk of legal 'discovery']. Of the many academic networks, the economists' lasted the longest, and it was also the most productive from the industry viewpoint.
Some key documents
• Economist at Williams College, Williamstown, MA
(Now University of Colorado at Boulder)
His C/V makes no mention of having worked for the tobacco industry.
1973: BA at Indiana University
1975: MA and PhD (1978) at the University of Washington.
1978–89: He was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College
1984 Jul: The Tobacco Institute's Cigarette Excise Tax Plan.
The plan augments our basic lobbying efforts by relying on groups outside the industry — some not regularly associated with the industry — to argue against excise taxes for us.
It is an ambitious program, based on the notion that many of the most effective protests against tobacco taxes will come from groups philosophically distant from The Institute. Many such groups agree with us on the excise issue, even though they disagree with us on other matters.
At the federal level, supporting Congressional members from the tobacco states is essential to our lobbyists. The tobacco members consistently vote as a unified group — something that is rarely seen in Congress today. They are our lobbyists' most important resource.
The program recommends that economic and other consultants assist us in developing, "packaging," and presenting our anti-excise arguments in legislative testimony or meetings with coalition members.
Economic consultants with different areas of expertise will conduct research and act as spokespersons for The Institute and organizations supported by The Institute. Specific activities with economists are discussed throughout the tactics.
- Stimulate reputable public finance economists at key state universities to determine the validity of state revenue forecasts, perhaps on behalf of state business organizations and present arguments against excise taxes in various forums; e.g., meetings with potential coalition members or budget officials.
- Encourage economists to make the case against regressive taxation in meetings with potential coalition members and legislators.
- Retain public finance economists affiliated with non-profit organizations to research the subject and use their findings in forums such as:
- Private meetings with state legislators or staff ;
- formal testimony before government bodies ;
- targeted media appearances;
- speeches before business, civic, labor, and other groups ;
- tax symposia in key states where the proceedings could be published for use in other states ; and
- articles which raise the visibility of key arguments in the business, academic, and popular press.
- Presenting specific members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees with arguments prepared by economists with whom they share some common interest; e.g college affiliation, service on the same commission.
- Gaining the support of Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), the most influential labor/liberal tax reform group in the country, in opposition to excise taxes.
- Relying on the AFL-CIO — via The Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Workers Union — to ensure that the labor/liberal tax package that emerges in the next session of Congress does not include tobacco.
Appendix: A list of economists in key states who may be willing to act as industry and third-party spokespersons on the tax issue.
Following is a list of economists in key states who might assist us as experts receiving honoraria. We have begun contacting them to ensure their willingness and expertise. We are asking each about past experience; work with similar issues; previous work with the industry; published articles or research; and availability.
Our intent is to have a group of individuals whom we can call upon as needed to testify, conduct special research and discuss their research projects and/or views on excise taxes with budget officials, potential coalition members, legislators and the media.
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.
MASSACHUSETTS (Rep. Donnelly)
• Professor Lee Alston
William College, Williamstown, Massachusetts
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. Lee Alston heads their state list of available economic witnesses for Massachusetts.
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 Lee Alston (Williams College) wrote an op-ed article on tax reform that appeared in the Boston Globe on May 26 (newspaper in home district of Ways & Means Member Donnelly). Copies were sent to Donnelly.
See page 13
See Success List
1985 May 26: He, along with dozens of other academic economists, has written an op-ed piece "Excise-tax inequities" published in the Boston Globe. As with most of the Tobacco Institute funded op-eds published at this time, this article attack excised taxes in general while dealing only superficially or obliquely with tobacco.
See Page 9
|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 June 30 to Sep 6: The Tobacco Institute has 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 21: James Savarese submits his bill to the Tobacco Institute for both the op-eds written by his network, but also for their attendance at society meetings where they also promote the tobacco industry's position.
- Op Ed Project - $1000 each '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 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 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 Brian Donnelly
Boston Globe (c. 790,000) May 26
Professor Lee Alston
1985 Dec 12: Annual Report of the Tobacco Institute's Public Relations division says:
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 Lee Alston (Williams College) wrote an op-ed article on tax reform that appeared in the Boston Globe on May 26 (newspaper in home district of Ways & Means Member Donnelly). Copies were sent to Donnelly.
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, or write letters to the editor, or op-eds for the newspapers to counter the public smoking or excise tax threat.
It lists him as a contact in:
He is available on two weeks notice as a witness for hire.
[He is also listed under the heading ]
- Professor Lee Alston,
Department of Economics, Williams College, Williamstown, MA
Local economists are available to provide economic testimony on excise taxes. The economist explain why excise taxes are regressive and unfair to consumers and unsuitable and unreliable as a means to increase the federal revenue.
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.
[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 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 30: Fred Panzer of the Tobacco Institute was contacting British-American Tobacco's PR executive, Tom Humber [who also worked for Burson-Marsteller and the 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 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.
MASSACHUSETTS, (Rep. Donnelly)
[Economist:] Professor Lee Alston, William College (Professor), Williamstown, Massachusetts
[Speciality:] Economic history.
| Tax Witnesses: ||Materials available|
|Lee Alston|| [None listed]|
| Public Smoking:||Materials available|
|Applicable to both state and socal legislation|
|Al Vogel (productivity)|
Steve Schlossberg (labor implications)
Lew Solmon (economics)
Bob Klotz (enforcement)
Response Analysis summaries
Public Smoking topic sheet
"Some Considerations" workplace kits
"In Defense of Smokers" reprint
"The Other Side of the Smoking Controversy" reprint
Letter writing brochure
| Fire: |
|Fire Safety Education Grants to:||Boston Fire Depart.|
Marshal John D White
Worcester Polytechnic inst.
Richard LP Custer
| Sampling materials: ||Materials available|
|Springfield||Helping Youth Decide|
Letters of Commendation/Praise
| Media Relations: |
|Contacts are in place in Boston and Cambridge. 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:
MASSACHUSETTS (Rep. Donnelly)
Professor Lee Alston
William College (Professor), Williamstown, Massachusetts
[Specializing in] Economic history
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 Alson's Boston Globe article on page 198 of the document bundle. 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:
Massachusetts [ Region I ]
Professor Lee Alston
Department of Economics, Williams College, Willianston, Massachusetts 01267
- original excise tax op-ed
1987 Jan 6: A James Savarese memo to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute.
In-order to keep this project straight with respect to the economist list, 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.
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 states listed in October 1986 as having representives, but not now are:
Not all of these professors ceased working for the tobacco industry entirely, however. Some provide later services.
- Arizona, Professor Roger D Faith of Arizona State Uni
- Maryland, Professor David Laband, University of Maryland
- Massachusetts, Professor Lee Alston, William College, Williamstown
- Nebraska, Professor Delores Martin, University of Nebraska
- New Jersey, Professor Michael Crew, Rutgers University
- Vermont, Professor Celeste Gaspari, Univesity of Vermont
- West Virginia, Professor Morris Coates, Marshall University
- Wyoming, Professor Todd Sandler, University of Wyoming.
October 1986 list
January 1987 list
Alston only disappeared temporarily from the list at this time. He was on sabbatical in Australia, and was later drawn back into the fold.
1987 Feb 24: Dennis Dyer at the Tobacco Institute has sent out a direct form-letter which was a request for these economists to work for the Tobacco Institute itself (trying to by-pass Ogilvy & Mather perhaps!):
Some time ago you were contacted by Jim Savarese with regard to the economic impact of the tobacco industry on [STATE], I assume you continue in your interest in the economics of tobacco.. Lee Alston was, at this time a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. He replied saying he was still interested, and would contact them in late April.
In anticipation of possible tax and smoking restriction legislation in [STATE] in 1987, I would like to discuss some of your opinions on the economic arguments in each of these areas. For your consideration, I have enclosed the following materials:
These are typical of the type of materials sometimes prepared for Tobacco Institute use. I would appreciate your written candid comments on the substance of, presentation of, and ability to defend the materials.
- New York Smoking Prohibition Economic Impact Study.
- New York Summary of Cigarette Tax Trends and Impacts.
- New York Study of Cigarette Tax Sunset Provisions on Sales and Bootlegging,
1987 Feb 24: Dennis Dyer of the Tobacco Institute writes directly to Professor Alston at the Williams College.
[It is a form letter, also written to other academics on the network]
Dear Professor Alston:
Some time ago you were contacted by Jim Savarese with regard to the economic impact of the tobacco industry on Massachusettes. I assume you continue in your interest in the economics of tobacco.
In anticipation of possible tax and smoking restriction legislation in Massachusettes in 1987, I would like to discuss some of your opinions on the economic arguments in each of these areas. For your consideration, I have enclosed the following materials:
These are typical of the type of materials sometimes prepared for Tobacco Institute use.
- New York Smoking Prohibition Economic Impact Study.
- New York Summary of Cigarette Tax Trends and Impacts.
- New York Study of Cigarette Tax Sunset Provisions on Sales and Bootlegging.
[They were virtually templates for use in any state... and being offered to Alston in Massachusettes as ready-made reports for customization.]
I would appreciate your written candid comments on the substance of, presentation of, and ability to defend the materials. During the near future, I will be in the Williamstown area and would like to get together with you to discuss these materials and how they can be improved. In addition, I would like to discuss the potential for your active participation in their development and presentation to various publics within Massachusettes.
Again, my thanks for your continued interest and help during the 1984 legislative session. I hope we can develop some believable materials for use in Massachusettes.
[Not much hint of academic ethics or intellectual rigor here, is there?]
1987 Jun 3: Memo on "Economic Witness Evaluation" from Dennis Dyer of the New England division of Tobacco Institute to his superior, George Minshew.
The Public Relations Division has identified six economists in New England who appear willing to work with us on our tobacco-related issues. In April another economist was identified and subsequently contacted — Professor Simon Rottenberg, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They had initially identified six economists in New England who appeared willing to work with them on tobacco-related issues [lending their names to op-eds, studies, etc. and giving witness for the industry at inquiries].
During the past three years, I have had an opportunity to meet and work with the designated economic witnesses in Maine (Professor Robert McMahon) and New Hampshire (Professor Dennis Logue).
This was a variation on the tobacco industry's standard technique for recruiting scientists and academics. Before they were formally commissioned, they must first prove that they were aligned to industry requirements by turning in written commentary which shows that they support the industry's pro-tobacco position.
[This is an unequivocal statement that these academics allowed their names to be attached as 'authors' to propaganda and pseudo-research prepared by the tobacco industry in order to deceive legislators.]
- Professor McMahon reviewed and agreed to "author" [their quotes] an economic impact study on the effects of a public smoking bill in Maine. He presented testimony at two worksessions and conducted a limited number of one-on-one briefings. The bill was defeated.
- Professor Logue testified on a broad workplace bill. In conjunction with this testimony, he submitted an economic impact study prepared by Jim Savarese. The bill was enacted.
On February 24 I contacted each of the identified economists in the region by letter (Attachment B). In each instance I provided the economist with three examples of Tl-generated economic impact studies and asked for their initial impressions and recommendations.
[He was effectively asking them whether they would put their names to this pseudo-research]
Three of the seven economists [in the New England region only] responded (Attachments C-l through C-3). With the exception of Professor Celeste Gaspari from Vermont, the other two seem to continue their interest. Only Professor Logue chose to give even the briefest of responses to my inquiry.
Follow-up conversations with all of the identified economists indicate a general willingness to be involved but a lack of real understanding as to what our requirements might be.
Dyer has a plan for more effectively use of these economists, nationwide. He also includes the full multi-page resume of Professor Dominick T Armento (see table above) who has proved to be one of their most successful recruits.
On Page 44 there is a copy of Dyer's letter to Armentano. The Professor had been previously contacted by Jim Savarese (a specialist lobbyist and recruiter of economists) and this was the follow-up letter arranging a formal review of some literature (to ascertain his opinions re smoking) and to arrange a meeting for recruitment discussion. This letter has been prominently labeled:
"**SAMPLE LETTER TO ECONOMIC WITNESSES**"
- Attachment 1. Page 15 is a pro-industry article Armentano has written in the Hartford Courant, "Cigarette taxes flunk on fairness"
- Attachment 2. Page 16 is the resume of Robert C McMahon, who is an Associate Professor of Economics at the USM.
- Attachment 3. Page 19 is the resume of Lee J Alston, Assisant Professor of Economics at Williams College and a private consultant to an unnamed law firm. [He is in Australia on leave - see reply page 45]
- Attachment 4. Page 24 is the resume of Dennis E Logue of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. [He is at Georgetown University at this time, and he replies (Page 46) favourably reviewing the literature he has been sent, and suggesting lines of defense for the industry]
- Attachment 5 . Page 32 is the resume of Arthur C Mead, Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island. [He didn't reply to the TI request that he review their literature and comment on the economic case]
- Attachment 6 . Page 37 is the resume of K Celeste Gaspari, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Vermont. [She replies (Page 48) saying she is still waiting for the annual $1000 retainer she was promised, and is disappointed with the Tobacco Institute. She won't work with them if this is the way they do business.]
I will reiterate my disappointment with the Tobacco Institute. It is true I never had a written agreement with the Institute —we only spoke over the phone. I did, however naively, trust that a verbal agreement with a prestigious institute was as good as a formal contract. I was evidently mistaken.
In answer to your letter, I am not interested in working with your group at this time if this is the way you do business.
- Attachment 7 . Page 40 is the resume of William F Shughart II, ex Special Assistant to the Director, Bureau of Economics at the FTC, and now an Associate Professor at Clemson University. [He apparently didn't reply — but he was a long-term lackey anyway.]
[Every economist on this list was a paid lackey of the tobacco industry.]
1988–20: 02, Professor of Economics, Political Science and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois
1996–19: 99 Alston was the Director of the Center for International Business Education and Research at the University of Illinois
2002: Joined University of Colorado at Boulder