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CREATED 5/12/2013


WARNING: 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.


Smoking-Gun docs.

Cash-for-comment economists' network
General TI networks
George Berman
James Savarese
Ctr.Study Pub.Choice
James Buchanan
Robert Tollison
Anna Tollison
Richard Wagner
James C Miller III
Carol M Robert
Elizabeth A Masaitis
Committee on Tax & Economic Growth
Harold Hochman
Fred McChesney
Thomas Borcherding
Delores T Martin
Dennis Dyer
George Minshew
William Prendergast
Bill Orzechowski

Dominick Armentano
Burton A Abrams
Lee Alston
Ryan C Amacher
Gary Anderson
Lee Anderson
William Anderson
Terry Anderson
Roger Arnold
Richard W Ault
Michael Babcock
Joe A Bell
Bruce L Benson
Jean J Boddewyn
Peter Boettke
Thomas Borcherding
William J Boyes
Charles Breeden
Lawrence Brunner
Henry N Butler
Bill Bryan
Cecil Bohanon
Morris Coates
Roger Congleton
Jeffrey R Clark
Michael Crew
Allan Dalton
John David
Michael Davis
Arthur T Denzau
Clifford Dobitz
John Dobra
Randall Eberts
Robert B Ekelund
Roger L Faith
David Fand
Susan Feigenbaum
Clifford Fry
Lowell Gallaway
Celeste Gaspari
David ER Gay
Kenneth V Greene
Kevin B Grier
Brian Goff
Sherman Hanna
Anne Harper-Fender
Kathy Hayes
Dennis Hein
James Heins
Robert Higgs
F Steb Hipple
Harold M Hochman
George E Hoffer
John Howe
William Hunter
Stephen Huxley
John D Jackson
Joseph M Jadlow
Cecil Johnson
Samson Kimenyi
David Klingaman
Michael Kurth
David Laband
Suuner Lacroix
Dwight R Lee
Dennis Logue
C. Matt Lindsay
Donald P Lyden
Craig MacPhee
Mike Maloney
Delores Martin
Chuck Mason
Charles Maurice
Fred McChesney
James E McClure
William McEachern
Richard McKenzie
Robert McMahon
Arthur Mead
Paul L Menchik
John F Militello
William C Mitchell
Greg Neihaus
Allen Parkman
Mark Pauly
William Peterson
Harlan Platt
Michael D Pratt
Thomas Pogue
Barry W Poulson
Edward Price
Robert Pulsinelli
Raymond Raab
Roger Riefler
Terry Ridgeway
Mario Rizzo
Morgan Reynolds
Simon Rottenberg
Randy Rucker
Richard Saba
Todd Sandler
David Saurman
Mark Schmitz
Robert Sexton
William Shughart
Robert J Staaf
Thomas Stimson
Wendell Sweetser
Mark Thornton
Mark Toma
David G Tuerck
Richard Vedder
Bruce Vermeullen
Richard Wagner
J Keith Watson
Burton Weisbrod
Walter E Williams
Thomas L Wyrick
Bruce Yandle
Boon Yoon
Richard O Zerbe




Michael L (Mike) Davis     [Prof]    

— A major cash-for-comments economics professor from the Southern Methodist University in Texas who worked extensively for the tobacco industry. —  

Davis was one of the Tobacco Institute's more enthusiastic lobbyists. He obviously liked the additional income and willingly performed services (such as media tours) that most of the others wouldn't or couldn't do. He was obviously free to take time off from his University whenever the tobacco industry needed him.

Professor Michael Davis was a major figure in the conspiracy of cash-for-comments economists organized by lobbyist James Savarese and Professor Robert Tollison of George Mason University (GMU) on behalf of the tobacco industry.

This network of compliant economists operated by using the facilities and staff of GMU's Center for the Study of Policy Choice [supposedly an independent study center within the university]. Savarese and Tollison used the Center's membership list of ultra-libertarian professors of economics at various State Universities in their recuitment drives. Generally those recruited were

  • members of the 'Austro-Libertarian/Randian' tradition;
  • eager acolytes of Hayek, von Mises, Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand;
  • belonged to the US Public Choice Society and/or the Mont Pelerin Society;
  • had a second-rate professorial positions at a State university
  • received an inadequate salary from the public purse.
Via the network, they were made available in their State to react to requests circulated by tobacco industry lobbyists for specific help in defeating either excise tax measures or smoking ordinances.

Since these hypocritical ultra-free-market professors almost always held salaried positions at local universities, they expoited the public trust inherent in their academic status. They were contracted on a pay-for-service basis, but were not to reveal that the tobacco industry paid them for most of the services they rendered. In fact, they were especially prized if they were 'non-smokers' since this purist claim implied that they were impartial on the smoking-costs question, and this enhansed their credibility when commenting on cigarette excises.
[It is noticeable that none of them every claimed to be ex-smokers!]

They were paid $300 to $1000 per time to:

  • Write op-ed articles for their main local newspapers. [targets chosen by the tobacco industry]
  • Write to their local Senators and Representatives. [designated by the Tobacco Instittue]
  • Appear at local ordinance hearings and object to potential public smoking bans.
  • Appear before local Assembly or Congressional hearings.
  • Lecture at economic meetings or provide advocacy services at conferences.
  • Occasionally appear on broadcast or in press conference.
The propaganda they generated in their op-eds rarely had cigarettes or tobacco at the main subject — the messages were more obtuse and often cloaked in academic obfuscation. However it always had had a number of elements important to promoting cigarettes:

  • Excise taxes were harmful to all American workers and businesses.
  • Excise taxes especially impacted the low-paid because of its 'regressive nature'. [They paid proportionally more disposable income to satisfy their nicotine addiction.]
  • Smoking bans of any kind were an infringement on Constitutional liberties — and once the government banned smoking, they would move to ban other personal pleasures.
  • Like any business, the tobacco industry had the Constitutional right to advertise its lethal products.
  • Personal freedom of choice was paramount. Smokers — including those addicted — were free to choose whether to smoke or not to smoke cigarettes.
For each network project, an op-ed article or report would be sent by the Professor, through James Savarese to the Tobacco Institute for their lawyers and PR people to check, correct and "improve" it. The doctored article was then returned to the Professor for transmission to the designated newspaper. Clippings, and copies of letters to Congressmen, were then returned to the Tobacco Institute as "proof of service rendered."

Some of the professsors fingered in this expos&eacut; have complained bitterly that they were simply ideological activists in a political dispute. While the members of this network were certainly ideologically aligned to ultra-free-market economics, they were also knowingly part of a conspiracy to promote corporate-funded ideas without acknowlegement of the funding source — and without considering the health-and-welbeing consequences of their self-serving activities.

This was a conspiratorial deception perpetrated by trusted academics on the citizens who ultimately paid their salaries. And the particpants were involved for no other reason than personal greed.

They were recruited, despite knowing full-well that the ultimate consequence of their actions was to promote an industry which resulted in the premature deaths and debilitation of millions of people around the world.

It is difficult to know how effective this operation was, but the Tobacco Institute supported this group of 50 to 100 Professors of Economics for a couple of decades, so they obviously felt they were getting value for money. Over the years new members joined and others left the group — but generally Savarese and Tollison maintained one or two economists working in each State.

The Professors themselves, of course, justified and rationalised taking money from the tobacco institute on 'ideological grounds' — and never questioned the fact that they were exploiting and undermining the reputation of academics in general, or the indepenent standing of their own university, by acting as secret lobbyists for the tobacco industry.

Content vs. Purpose?
The question is not what was said in these articles, but rather the reasons why they were written.

If your vision of economics is merely that it is a form of commercial bookkeeping which can be considered in isolation (a view that almost universally prevailed in academia until the global financial crisis), then ethics, morality, and human well-being doesn't figure strongly in your calculations outside the value of humans as production and consumption units.

Clearly the early deaths of many older and disabled people [those who have passed their social usefulness and are a burden on the tax system] is of benefit to the survivors and therefore to the national economy as a whole. Smokers who are taxed during their smoking lives and then die young, in this calculus therefore benefit their communities by not becoming a burden.

It then follows that cigarette manufacture cannot be considered a social burden, but rather as pure economic benefit.

This sort of superficial analysis digs no deeper into the complexities of life, living and society than you would find in the preface of a Chicago University Economics 101 textbook written by the supply-sides and neo-cons.

Of course the same arguments can apply to euthenasia of the disabled and the elderly ... and perhaps to the hanging of all academic economists who propound this sort of simplistic nonsense.


There is also
  • J Michael Davis, PhD, who is a Health Scientist with the EPA.
  • Michael Davis, who is an aide to Californian Assembly member Maxine Waters.
  • Michael Davis an attorney working for the formaldehyde industry.
  • Councilman Mike Davis of California favoured separate areas for restaurant smoking.

Some key documents

• Professor of Economics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He was for a time at the School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson Texas. He "specializes in the intersection of government and business."

1987 Feb: A study done by the Southern Methodist University for the City of Dallas, Texas revealed overwhelming support for a law to be enacted to expand the present public smoking restrictions (passed in 1986) to cover the workplace. Three out of four people polled approved of the bans.

    The study was done by the university's public relations class for the Dallas Joint Committee on Smoking (of the Dallas City Council)

    Austin and Houston already had laws which restricted smoking in the workplace

    The Tobacco Institute's Regional director recommended they conduct an opinion poll of their own to be done in conjunction with the Dallas Chamber of Commerce — using the same polling protocols as the Tobacco Institute had used before. [A euphmeism for faking the polls.] The results would be available for use at the time of the Council elections.

class="note">[This Council activity appears to have provided the impetus for the recruitment of three professors of economics in Texas (among other activities) — with one from the same university (SMU).]

1987 May: Tobacco Observer reports: "Could the tax overhaul lead to state excise repeals?"

[I]n the wake of the 1986 federal tax overhaul economists and public policy experts of all persuasions have renewed the call for fair, less regressive taxes.

    As states review their tax systems post-federal reform, economists at Southern Methodist University's Center for Enterprise, in a year-end study for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), said they should consider the role of excise, sales and miniumum taxes.

    Excise taxes, the SMU economists say, are imposed in a selective manner on a narrow segment of a state's tax base, such as smokers. These taxes should either be eliminated or incorporated in a general broadening of the sales tax.

ALEC was a lobbying instrument set up to allow industries to bribe and influence legislators. It was part-funded by tobacco.

    We don't know whether Mike Davis was involved, however another document says:
Dr Bernard Weinstein, Adviser to ALEC's Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Tax Policy, and Director of the Center for Private Enterprise, Cox School of Business, at Southern Methodist University, warned that passage of HB6 [A state tax bill] or similar legislation would "create serious economic distortions" in the already weakened Texas economy.
Weinstein gave testimony before a select committee on tax equality, but he doesn't appear to be working for the tobacco industry.

1987 Nov (c) Michael Davis visiting professor at the Southern Methodist University
is recruited by James Savarese to help with the cash-for-comments network.

1988 Jan 15: Jim Savarese and Associates, then working with Ogilvy & Mather, has outlined the arragements 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.

    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.
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]
Our work with the network of forty-two economists should continue into 1988. In 1987, the network was effective in producing op-eds and submitting and presenting testimony. These activities should continue in 1988. In addition, the economists network can be used for editorial board briefings, presentations at conferences and the placement of articles on this issue with major media outlets.

    In order to make the most of the new opportunities for the economist network, several factors must be taken into consideration:
  • 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.
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.

    They also want to commission studies. They suggest:
  • 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.
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.

    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: Dallas Times Herald
Economist: Mike Davis, Southern Methodist University

[Why selected:] Commission member Bob Strauss, House Majority Leader Jim Wright, and Senate Finance chair Lloyd Bentsen are from Texas.

1988 Apr 15: Bill Orzechowski, the staff economist at the Tobacco Institute is sending a list of their consultants to Randy Thompson, who is an Issues Manager at RJ Reynolds.

    This is for International Smuggllng and Cross Border Issues:
Potential Witness List (Alphaberical listing)

Economics - Public Policy
  • Mike Davis, PhD, Economic professor at the University of Texas, Dallas.
      Mike has testified on behalf of the Tobacco Institute on cross border sales and cigarette smuggling from Mexico in the context of a Texas cigarette tax increase on two or three occasions. He appeared before the Texas legislature in 1997 on behalf of TI to defeat a proposed 20 T'exas cigarette tax hike. He is a good witness and gets up to speed rather quickly.

      Contact: Bill Orzechowski, Rob Walker

      Relationship: Testified for TI on a few occasions and was media trained by TI.
  • Dwight Lee, PhD - Professor of economics at University of Georgia.
      Ramsey Professor of Economics and Private Enterprise at the University of Georgia, a position he has held since 1985. He is also the current president of the Southern Economics Association. He has had full-time tenured faculty appointments at the University of Colorado, Virginia Tech University, George Mason University, and the University of Georgia. He is a well respected economist. He has co-authored seven books, written numerous articles and lectured extensively.

      Contact: Bill Orzechowski, Rob Walker

      Relationship: Has testified on numerous occasions for the industry on state and federal cigarette tax issues.
  • Robert Tollison, PhD - professor of economics at George Mason University.
      He is past president of the Southern Economics Association. He is the author of numerous articles and books. He has had considerable experience in all phases of tobacco economics - a pioneer of sorts. He has testified on tobacco tax issues at federal and state levels. The "dean" of tobacco economics.

      Contact: Bill Orzechowski or Rob Walker

      Relationship: Dr Tollison has testified for the industry on numerous occasions.
  • Richard Wagner, PhD - professor of economics in the Public Choice Center at George Mason University.
      The author of many articles and books. He is a leader of the public choice area of economics and is the editor of the Constitutional Political Economy journal. He has great deal of experience on state cross border issues and tobacco taxes.

      Contact: Bill Orzcchowski or Rob Walker

      Relationship: Dr Wagner has testified for the industry on numerous occasions on state cross border issues.

    [The four listed above are all members of Tollison/Savarese cash-for-comments network. The three listed immediately below are contractors via think-tanks.]

  • Steve Entin - President Institute for Research on The Economics of Taxation (IRET)
      He has great deal of experience in the corporate tax arena. Has testified or appeared as guest speaker in front of "tough" audiences such as public health groups and done a very good job with our issues.

      Contact: Bill Orzechowski, John Dunham

      Relationship: Appeared at Tax Foundation seminars that PM has helped finance. Often calls TI for advice and materials on tobacco tax issues.
  • Pat Fleenor/JD Foster - two economists at the Tax Foundation.
      Pat Fleenor is an economist with the Tax Foundation, and J.D Foster is the President and Chief Economist of the Tax Foundation, The Tax Foundation monitors tax and fiscal activities at all levels of government. The group supplies objective fiscal information and analysis to business, government and the general public. The group has done extensive research on cross border cigarette sales and smuggling.

      Contact: John Dunham, Wayne Winegarden

      Relationship: PM and Tl has given financial support to the Tax Foundation. The Tax Foundation did a study for TI on cigareite excise tax differences and cigarette tax evasion.
  • John R McGowan, PhD - Gustave Klausner Associate Professor of Accounting.
      He has provided international tax consulting services to the Missouri Society of CPAs and is the author of many articles. McGowan is currently studying the issue of state excise taxes and their effect on interstate smuggling and crime.

      Contact: John Dunham or Wayne Winegarde.

      Relationship: Dr McGowan has participated in Tax Foundation seminars that PM has helped finance. His current paper is being funded by NAPO, which PM has financially supported.
International Smuggling and Crime Issues
  • Mario Possamai - Vice President, Forensic Investigators Associates
  • Rod Stamler - Chairman, Forensic Investigators Associates (Toronto)
  • Jacob Sullum/Ed Carson - Reason Foundation,
Social and Crlme Aspects of Smuggling
  • Ron Martel - former Mayor of Cornwall, Canada
Tax Administrators
  • Robert Shepherd - Deputy Commissioner - Enforcement, New York State Department of Taxation
  • Monte Williams - Administrator, Excise Taxes Division, California State Board of Equalization
  • Bill Chamberland - Tax Specialist Washington Department of Revenue
Other Names
  • Roger Overholser - Florida wholesaler affliated with Florida Tax. Watch.
  • Jeff Groh, Jerry Bowerman, John McGaw - BATF smuggling experts
  • Andre Reiman - A Senior Vice President for a PM subsidiary in Europe
  • Adam Andre-Brown - Spokesperson for RJR subsidiary in Geneva.
  • Per Brix Knudsen - Director Anti-Fraud Unit - European Union.

1988 April 25: NorthWest Airlines had just implemented the first ban on short domestic flights (formalised by the FAA on April 23rd), and the Tobacco Institute was turning out its lobbyists to convince the other airlines that smoking bans of any kind were a bad idea. The economists were central to this propaganda project.

  • Michael Babcock (Kansas Uni) wrote "Good service, not gimmicks win fliers" for the Topeka Capital-Journal which suggested that Northwest was a dangerous and unreliable airline, and that it should concentrate on maintenance and safety rather than persecuting smokers.
  • Michael Kurth (McNeese State) wrote "Market forces are the best way to guarantee freedom" for the Shreveport Journal. He saw it in personal freedom terms:
    The political remedy to social conflict is to ban "offensive" behavior. In a democracy, that usually means the behavior of a minority. That is what the Federal Aviation Administration did when it banned smoking on all airline flights lasting more than two hours. Some air travelers were offended by the smoking of other passengers, even though the smokers were isolated in the back of the plane.

        But by what criteria were their preferences elevated and satisfied over the preferences of smokers?
  • Ryan Amacher (Clemson University) had "Eliminating choice failed marketplace test" He claims that the Northwest Airlines experience had been a disaster (in fact it was highly successful). He also suggests Northwest was a dangerous airline to fly.
  • JR Clark (Uni of Tennessee) had "Focus on service would help airlines most" in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • Michael Davis (Southern Methodist University) had "Smoking ban gets good test" in the Times Herald
  • William Hunter (Marquette Uni) had "Airline smoking ban example of free-market conflice resolution" in the Capital Times.. He damns the Northwest policy for "failing the market test" and praises those airlines which were competing without smoking bans.

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.

    Mike Davis has managed to plant "Excise taxes are far from painless remedy" on the gullible editor of the Dallas Times Herald (May 19). Not only that, but the editor banner's the story "special to the Times Herald" when it is just a rewrite of other tobacco propaganda.

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: 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."

1988 Aug 18: Savarese writes to Susan Stutnz at the Tobacco Institute attaching a "statement prepared by our economist in Texas" which is for use at an "appearance before the Commission." It has one redeeming feature... he admits he is acting on behalf of the Tobacco Institute.

My name is Michael L. Davis. I hold a Ph.D. in economics and am presently on the faculty of Southern Methodist University. I am appearing here today on behalf of the American Tobacco Institute, and the views I am expressing are my own and do not necessarily represent those of SMU. The purpose of my testimony today is to suggest to the committee that an increase in the State excise tax on cigarettes is ill-advised....
This is another of the crocodile-tears claims about how cigarette taxes are 'regressive' and 'unfair' and that it punishes the poor. He then goes on to claim that it is an inefficient way to collect money. [It is generally regarded as highly efficient]
Now it might be argued that life is anything but fair and that we could tolerate an unfair excise tax if it were an efficient method for raising revenue. Unfortunately, the cigarette tax is an especially wasteful way of collecting money.
It promotes the black market and cross-state smuggling. He then throws in the Chase Econometrics study done for Texas by the Tobacco Institute (without mentioning the source of funding)
A study done in 1983 by Chase Econometrics, Inc. found that sales of cigarettes generated income of $40 per Texan. And again, these benefits are not distributed equally. A tax increase that shifts cigarette sales to border states or into the black market will affect some people — many of them with modest incomes — more than others.

1988 Nov 20: Tollison and Wagner have written another book: "Smoking and the State" which is being favourably reviewed by their network of tobacco-friendly economists. Cliff Dobitz, a professor of economics at the North Dakota State University soundly endorses their...

"use of solid economics to expain the claimed direct and indirect costs of smoking in non-technical, easy to understand language. It is chock-full of insight, frequently supporte by data, about the alleged economic consequences of smoking."

Michael Davis at the Methodist College in Texas starts his article off with a disingenuious claim to have stumbled across the book accidentally and being suprised by its contents.
Surely, I thought, the issues of smoking and public policy hardly merit the attention of scholars [like Wagner and Tollison] with their interests and experience.

    I was wrong. Their book uses the current furor over smoking as a vehicle to ask truly important questions about the relationship between government and society.

    I doubt that Tollison and Wagner will make many friends with this book. The social elite have condemned smoking as an unfashionable, lower-class activity. The political establishment has decided that, as smoking declines, smokers can be more heavily taxed and regulated.

    What they have done with this slim volume is to challenge the easy generalizations that too often pass for truth. More importantly, they have demonstrated a consistent, coherent and elegant way of thinking about public policy.
[There's not a word here to tell the reader that both this piece of lobbying crap, and the Tollison/Wagner book itself, were written expressly for the tobacco industry. Or that all of those involved were generously paid for these services.]

1988 Dec: At the beginning of 1988, Northwest Airlines had successfully banned smoking on all US domestic flights. Then in April 1988 a two-year trial smoking ban on all domestic flights of less than two hours duration had been introduced by the FAA.

    The tobacco industry had flown into a panic since their own polling showed that a majority of airline passengers (smokers and non-smokers) were reasonably happy with such bans. They therefore instructed the cash-for-comments network economists to write articles attacking the financial stability of Northwest, attack its safety record, and preaching the need for smoking 'tolerance'.

    The resulting articles generally took the line that Northwest Airlines was suffering financially... when in fact, the ban had been generally successful. This was, in fact, a clear attempt at influencing the stock-market to put pressure on airline management.

    Involved in this disinformation exercise were

  • Michael Babcock, Kansas State Uni (Topeka Capital-Journal) "Good service, not gimmicks win fliers"
  • Michael Kurth McNeese State Uni, letters to the editor. (Shreveport Journal)
  • Ryan Amacher, Clemson University (unknown) "Eliminating choice failed market test
  • JR Clark, Uni of Tennessee, Martin (Memphis Commercial Appeal) "Focus on service would help airlines most.
  • Michael Davis, Southern Methodist Uni (LA Times Syndicate/Times Herald) "Smoking ban gets good test."
  • William Hunter, Marquette Uni (The Capital Times) "Airlines smoking ban example of free-market conflict resolution."
[Many of the writer knew so little about the smoking ban that they confused the Northwest Airline ban with the later FAA trial.]

1988 Dec 15: [Same day as above] Carol Hrycaj of the Tobacco Institute is sending the economist's network op-eds to John Rupp, the main tobacco lawyer at Covington & Burling for checking.

Dear John:

Enclosed for your review is a critique of Smoking and the State prepared by Michael L. Davis of Southern Methodist University.

May I have comments by Wednesday, December 21? Please call if you have any questions.

1988 Dec 15: Jim Savarese memo to Debbie Schoonmaker:

Attached is a review of Smoking and the State by Michael L. Davis, Department of Economics for your review.
Hand notes on the page note that it was cleared by two lawfirms:
  • By lawyers at Shook Hardy & Bacon on the 19th Dec
  • By John Rupp at Covington & Burling on 20th Dec
  • Returned to Savarese ?
    [Published Feb 2 1989]

1989: Social Cost Issue, Consulting Economist Team. This document is assumed to be the Tobacco Institute informing their litigation team about the facts of the cash-for-comments academics network — and its offshoot, the core team trained in Social Cost Issues.

The social cost economic team includes: Robert Tollison, Richard Wagner, Dwight Lee, Richard Higgins, Gary Anderson and Michael Davis,
These six consulting economists are specifically trained in the social cost issue, and are "prepared for a variety of assignments, from presenting testimony to conducting research."
How we use them
  • Conduct research.
  • Prepare op-eds and letters to the editor.
  • Review and comment on (government and private sector] social cost studies and reports.
  • Media tours to promote Smoking and the State.
  • Conduct briefings on the issue/arguments with legislators, staff and lobbyists.
Kinds of things they do
  • Conduct and publish economic research (constituting the basis of the social cost program).
  • Write and place op-eds on discrete topics.
  • Prepare and submit letters to the editor.
  • Available to present testimony.
  • Media tours.
  • Make presentations to academic/economic peers.
  • Conduct briefings on the issue (during social cost economist network meeting with PAD, SAD, lobbyists and legal counsel).

1989 Jan 11: 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.

Texas now has a list of three:
  • Prof S. Charles Maurice, Economics Department, Texas ASM University College Station, Texas 78740
  • Professor Michael Davis, Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX 75275
  • Professor Morgan Reynolds, Economics Department, Texas ASM University College Station, Texas 78740

    Davis is also on their Primary list of economists [Much Longer document] 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 willing to give testimony.
Economists: [Primary]
  • 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, Dallas
  • Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge
  • 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."

1989 Feb: The Tobacco Institute's report on its Communications Activities had a focus on smoking bans on airlines. NorthWest Airlines had taken a lead position by banning smoking on its domestic flights and the tobacco industry was frantic to stop this contageon from spreading to the other airlines. The report points out to the successes they have had with the economist network, in having them generate anti-smoking-ban op-eds. It says:

The 2/9/89 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published a report on smoking aboard aircraft.

    The Institute responded and issued a press release (copy enclosed). Aggressively promoting the position that the study does not support a total airline smoking ban, TI speakers pressed our position in a number of interviews with print and broadcast media. Press reports and transcripts are enclosed.

    Three reviews (copies enclosed), giving Northwest Airline's smoking ban a failing grade, were published [by network members]:
  • Michael Davis, visiting assistant professor of Economics at Southern Methodist University, in the Dallas Times Herald;
  • William Hunter, association professor of economics at Marquette University, in the Capital Times (Madison, WI); and
  • Michael Babcock, professor of Economics at Kansas State University, in the Topeka Capital-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]

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.

    We should start getting drafts of the op-eds around the first of the year.
This economist is on the list for TEXAS, Dallas Times Herald.

1990: The 1990 Witness List is attached to the 1993 June 1 Tobacco Institute list of "Witness/Expert Appearances — Scientific/Legal/Spokespersons."

    It lists many known consultants in various fields who work on contract for the tobacco industry, including:

Tom Lauria, Mike Buckley, Simon Turner, Gio Gori, Bill Wordham, Gray Robertson, Peter Binnie (Now HBI), Larry Holcomb, John Fox, Rich Silverman, Walter Merryman, David Remes, Frank Powell, Melinda Sidak, Rudy Cole, Larry Halfen.
[Note that Binnie appears to be concentrating on airports (not aircraft)']

    Attached is a 1991 Witness List which also includes:
Brennan Dawson, Jeff Seckler, Jim Goold, Joe Pedelty, Jolly Ann Davidson, Dick Wagner, Bernadette Davidson, Walt Decker

    And a 1990 Witness List (page 35) which includes:
Bill Orzechowski, Mike Davis, Morris Coats,
There is also a document which has attached the 1989 Witness List with (in addition to above) has:
Dwight Lee, David Weeks, Alan Kassman, Bob Tollison, Richard Wagner, Jack Peterson, "Bestype Consulting", Dennis Vaughn,
And 1988 Witness List which has most of above, plus:
A Katzenstein, David Brenton (focus on airlines)

1990 Jan 19: A form letter attacking the Bush Administration's tax policy has been prepared ready to be sent out under Michael Davis's signature, by the Tobacco Institute. This is a late draft copy with a couple of last minute corrections (which he dutifully made). He finishes the letter with a flourish:

I hope that these thoughts are of some help to you in your work, and I appreciate the opportunity to share them with you.
As with most of his op-eds and lackey-lobbyist activities for the tobacco industry, he doesn't admit to the source of funding and control.

1990 Jan 23: Savarese sends to Carol Hyrcaj at the Tobacco Institute:

Attached is Michael Davis' op-ed for review
This is in parallel to his form letter [see above] and talks a lot about "user fees." He is in favour of user fees as a substitute for cigarette excise taxes because..
Properly defined, user fees are the prices paid by some individual for services demanded from the government by that individual. For example, the money the National Park Service collects for the use of campgrounds are true user fees.

    User fees are a more equitable way of paying for same government service — if I can't afford to take my kids to Yellowstone Park, I shouldn't have to pay taxes
    to subsidize those who can.

[This is pure crap! National Parks aren't just places for camping; they are more related to monuments, museums and libraries. The hope is to preserve large parts of the natural wilderness in pristine condition for future generations. National Parks need government funding — and any camping fees they can collect are just minor charges imposed on users to pay for garbage collection.

    If there weren't any charges at all, maybe the kids who can't now afford to camp at Yellowstone Park would get to see the majesty of the place — just like the richer kids do.]

    There's considerable editing being done here by the public relations staff at the Tobacco Institute.

1990 Jan 24: Both Davis op-ed and the form letter must be cleared by the Tobacco Institute's main law-firm, Covington & Burling. Issues Analyst Carol Hrycaj writes to David Remes at C&B:

Dear David:

Enclosed, for your review, are two tax-related items written by economist Michael L Davis. Both the op-editorial and letter address the "user fee"/excise tax debate.

    Davis will seek publication of the article in a local newspaper. The letter will be sent to individuals involved with the administration "task force" that is said to be considering tobacco tax increases.

    Would it be possible to forward any comments by noon Friday, January 26?

1990 Jan 29: Savarese now has Davis's boiler-plate letter cleared by the Tobacco Institute lawyers. He writes to Davis at the SMU in Dallas Texas.

Dear Mike:

I have enclosed a copy of your letter including some minor editorial changes. I would like for you to send this letter to:

Michael J. Boskin, Chairman
Council of Economic Advisers
Old Executive Office Building
17th & Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Room 314
Washington, D.C 20500
He also includes the addresses of a couple of other bureaucrats (Council of Economic Advisers, Dept of Treasury) who are to be sent copies. He finishes with:
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Anna Tollison or Sandy Parish at 202/452-9520 and we'll be happy to assist you.

    Thanks for your help with this project.

  • Dwight Lee, University of Georgia. has also written a letter on the same subject He writes back to Lee:
    Dear Dwight:

    I have enclosed a copy of your letter including some minor editorial changes. I would like for you to send this letter to:

    Robert A. Mosbacher
    Secretary of Commerce
    Department of Commerce
    14th & Constitution Ave., N.W.
    Room 5158
    Washington, D.C. 20230
    He includes a list of Assistant Secretaries who are also to receive copies.
    [This letter is differently worded to the Mike Davis letter, but it makes essentially the same claims about "user fees".]
  • There's also another to William Shughart, University of Mississippi. Shughart is instructed to send his letter to the Deputy Secretary and various Assistant Secretaries at the Department of Treasury.
  • Another to Robert Ekelund, Auburn University who also targets the Department of Treasury.

1990 Mar: Brennan Dawson's report on the activities of academic economists who are contracted to the Tobacco Institute for writing op-ed pieces, and conducting briefings. The report is to the Tobacco Institute's Communications Committee. It details Davis's work in Editorial board briefing See p 32

Michael Davis, Professor of Economics, Southern Methodist University
    3/90 Editorial board briefings with several key Texas newspapers and participated in legislative visits to state lawmakers

1990 May 7: The Tobacco Institute's "1991 Tax and Social Cost Plans" have sections on

  • "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.
This is an updated list with the current locations of each, with phone numbers and addresses.
Prof S. Charles Maurice
Economics Department, Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 78740 409-845-7356

Professor Michael Davis
Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX 75275 214-692-3394

Professor Morgan Reynolds
Economics Department, Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 78740

1990 May 22: Attached to a 1990 Tobacco Institute Strategies document is a slightly later report from Martin Gleason (Public Affairs) at the Institute which reports on some early successes. Re: the economists network he reports.

    Texas economic program
  • Developed regressivity and bootlegging studies (PW) [ Price Waterhouse]
  • Economist ( Mike Davis) editorial board briefings
    Economic witnesses
  • Dwight Lee provided for Wilmington, N.C.— city council session on economic consequences of excise tax increase
  • Morris Coates — testified in Baton Rouge on proposed LA excise tax increase.
They also planned to extend the "social cost" arguments to other industries using these economist, in order to enrol these industries and their lobbyists in a wider coalition.

1990 Aug: This long document has media tour records [being conducted by Fleishman-Hillard] for the cash-for-comments

  • economists network
  • ventilation network members (mainly HBI)
  • biological scientists network,
  • academic lawyers nework
  • labor network and
  • advertising academics network
The economist's media tours are to promote the Wagner and Tollison book on the social cost of smoking ["Smoking and the State"] which had been written for the Tobacco Institute. and reviewsd by many of the cash-for-comment economist network members.

    Also there is attached a list of Savarese's network economist triumphs which has the intriquing heading "Consulting Economists — Not on Philip Morris List" which suggests that PM was running a parallel operation to that of the Tobacco Institute.

    This list holds the recent successes in planting op-eds on local newspapers, and a few appearances of economists at State hearings, conferences, etc.

Michael Davis
Professor of Economics, Southern Methodist University

3/90 Editorial board briefings with several key Texas newspapers and participated in legislative visits to state lawmakers

1990 Aug 3: Sam Chilcote at the Tobacco Institute has advised the Members of the Executive Committee of plans to develop a celebrity speakers program using academics and other expert consultants. There are offer the speakers both money and personal promotion:

[W]hile it is clear that there are a number of individuals who can and are speaking out on our issues independent of The Institute, there also is much more that could be done. There are, for example, opportunities to develop higher profiles for those individuals with whom we enjoy an existing relationship, and to increase within the media an awareness of their availability.

    There also are a number of individuals who have been identified who do not currently have a relationship with the industry, but whose views appear to be compatible with our own. Should the Executive Committee decide that it wants to proceed with an expansion of our speakers' program, these individuals would be contacted to determine their interest in our issues.

    The addition of new speakers to our program will be expensive. Most of these individuals command substantial consulting fees; media and other activity will require a new commitment of funds, although an exact amount cannot be determined until candidates have been approached.
He then lists:
  • Authors, newscasters and newspaper columnists
  • Well-known politicians, political aides, White House staffers, State authorities, agency administrators, etc
  • Heads of various coalition groups (American Advertising Federation. etc)
  • Cash-for-comments legal and business academics from Savarese's network list.
  • Cash-for-comments 'risk assessment' academics and promoter.
  • Cash-for-comment experts in indoor air pollution and ventilation systems.
  • Cash-for-comment academic economists + some likely allies:
    • BRUCE L. BENSON, professor of economics, Florida State University and board member, James Madison Institute, a Tallahassee think tank.
    • DWIGHT R. LEE, professor of economics, holder of the Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise, University of Georgia
    • JAMES C. MILLER, Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, Washington; former director of OMB
    • WALTER E. WILLIAMS, professor of economics, George Mason
          University, Fairfax, Va.
    • BOB TOLLISON, George Mason University, Center for the Study of Public Choice
  • Some more minor network academics, together with their recent achievements.
This economist, along with dozens of others, is thought to be a potential speaker and is credited with recent achievements:
Michael Davis
Professor of Economics
Southern Methodist University

3/90 Editorial board briefings with several key Texas newspapers and participated in legislative visits to state lawmakers

1990 Sep 26: Kurt Malmgren's Tobacco Institute telex re: Sacramento County, California Ordinance

On September 25, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on first reading voted 3-2 to adopt a strict ordinance banning smoking in the workplace and phasing out smoking in restaurants by 1993.

Terry Eagan — along with expert consultants Gray Robertson (IAQ), David Weeks, MD, (ETS), John Fox (labor/management attorney) and Melinda Sidak (C&B) were the subject of print and broadcast interviews.

    Please contact me if you have questions, as we prepare for the referendum phase of this project.
The file then includes a long list of "Scientific/Other Witnesses Appearances & Media Tours - 1990" Along with all the other commercial IAQ shills ( Robertson, Seckler, Turner, etc) willing to testify for cash are a couple of volunteers from the academic economists network:
  • March 16 — Topeka, KS — Legislative Hearing — Dwight Lee
  • March 30 — Park Ridge, IL — Local Hearing — Dwight Lee
  • March 21 — "Social Cost" media tour, New York City — Bob Tollison
  • April 12 — Honolulu, HI — Legislative hearing — Dick Wagner
  • April 30 — New Hanover, NC — Local Hearing — Dwight Lee
  • April (Editorial tour) — "Social cost" Texas Newspapers — Mike Davis
  • May 9 — Baton Rouge, LA — Legislative hearing — Morris Coats.

1990 Oct: /E Tobacco Institute document. It lists the services that academics and secret consultants have provided to the tobacco industry during 1989 and 1990 — both as witnesses and as authors of articles and letters.

  • Pages 2 - 9     Advertising: lawyers and advertising administrators
  • Pages 10 - 30 Science and Public Policy on ETS/IAQ
  • Pages 31 - 39  Taxation
    This gives the dates of each of the services, and any 'Current Projects' they may be working on:
Michael Davis
    Professor of Economics, Southern Methodist University
  • 3/90 Editorial board briefings with several key Texas newspapers and participated in legislative visits to state lawmakers

See page 32-5

[TI budget papers show that each op-ed still earned the economists $3,000. Presentations to conferences earned them $5,000. Savarese was paid $70,000 to $100,000 pa for this project, and Ogilvy & Mather $250,000.]

See page 5

1991 Jan: /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 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.

    ALABAMA, Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Auburn University
    ARIZONA, William J. Boyes, Arizona State University
    ARKANSAS, David E. R. Gay, University of Arkansas
    CALIFORNIA, Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge
                Roger Arnold, California State Univ. - San Marcos
    COLORADO, Barry Poulson, University of Colorado
    CONNECTICUT, Dominick Armentano, University of Hartford
    DELAWARE, Burton Abrams, University of Delaware
    FLORIDA, Bruce Benson, Florida State University
    GEORGIA, Dwight R. Lee, University of Georgia
    IDAHO, Allan Dalton, Boise State University
    ILLINOIS, James Heins, University of Illinois
    INDIANA, Cecil Bohanon, Ball state University
    IOWA, Todd Sandler, Iowa State University
    KANSAS, Michael Babcock, Kansas State University
    KENTUCKY, Brian Goff, Western Kentucky University
    LOUISIANA, Michael Kurth, McNeese State University
    MAINE, Robert McMahon, University of Southern Maine
    MASSACHUSETTS, David Tuerck, Suffolk University
    MISSISSIPPI, Bill Shughart, University of Mississippi
    MISSOURI, Joe A Bell, Southwest Missouri State University
                Thomas I. Wyrick, Southwest Missouri State University
    MONTANA, Terry L. Anderson, Montana State University
    NEBRASKA, Dee Martin, University of Nebraska
    NEVADA, John Dobra, University of Nevada Reno
    NEW HAMPSHIRE, Dennis Logue, Dartmouth College
    NEW MEXICO, Allen Parkman, University of New Mexico
    NORTH DAKOTA, Cliff Dobitz, North Dakota State University
    OHIO, Richard Vedder, Ohio University
    OKLAHOMA, Joseph Jadlow, Oklahoma State University
    OREGON, William Mitchell, University of Oregon
    PENNSYLVANIA, Ann Harper-Fender, Gettysburg College
    RHODE ISLAHD, Arthur Mead, Universityof Rhode Island
    SOUTH CAROLINA, Ryan Aiaacher, Clemson University
    SOUTH DAKOTA, Dennis lain, Augustana College
    TENNESSEE, JR Clark, The University of Tennessee at Martin
    TEXAS, S Charles Maurice, Texas ASM University
                Michael Davis, Southern Methodist University
    VIRGINIA, Richard B Wagner, George Mason University
    WASHINGTON, Richard D. Zerbe, Jr., University of Washington

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.

1993 Mar 23: Jim Savarese is proposing to Cal 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.
  1. Op-ed article by Robert Tollison to be submitted to Wall Street Journal $ 4,000.00

  2. Rebuttal article by Bob Ekelund, Auburn University, to be submitted to the Birmingham News $ 3,000.00

  3. "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 $60,000.00

    TOTAL $67,000.00
This economist is listed as one of the proposed lucky recipients of $3,000 in largess from the Tobacco Institute for slashing out a quick op-ed. He was to submit the article to Dallas Times Herald.

1993 Jun 1: Schedule of Witness/Expert Appearances — Scientific/Legal/spokespersons [for the year 1993]
    Mike Davis is listed twice:

  • April 26: He is still working with the Tobacco Institute making a 'Legislative Appearance.'as a witness on the tobacco industry's behalf at an Austin Texas Legislative Hearing.
  • April: Making a "Media Tour" to meet the "Editorial Boards" of the local newspapers in Texas to present the tobacco industry's position on the economic question of "Social Costs".

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.

  • 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 back 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.
Clearly, by 1993, many of the original network members were dropping out. 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. [Perhaps some of them developed a conscience!]

    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:
    Professor Michael Davis, Dept of Economics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX
    • Mar 23 — [TI designated newspaper/s] Dallas Times Herald
    • Apr 9 — Recieved 4/8/93 — Sent to Cal 4/8/93 — Received from Cal 4/20/93 — Faxed to Mike [??] 4/21/93 - refaxed 4/28/93 (legal)
    • May 12 — Submitted to the Dallas Morning News
    • May 18 — (as above)
    • June 2 — Submitted to the Dallas Morning News
    • June 14— Submitted to (rejected) Dallas Morning News... resubmitted to Fort Worth Star Telegram (called 8/2. Left message)
    • Aug 3 — (as above)

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 Davis 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.

1995 Oct: /E Philip Morris has been sent a list of the Tobacco Instutute's network economists who had been commissioned, and had...

... prepared and submitted op-eds [attacking the FDA] for publication to major newspapers in select states — targetting key Congressional districts:

    Economists prepared and submitted op-eds for publication to major newspapers in select states:
  • Dr William Boyes, Arizona State University
  • Dr Barry Poulson, University of Colorado
  • Dr Dominick Armentano, University of Hartford
  • Dr Dwight Lee, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Iowa economist tbd [To Be Determined]
  • Dr Cecil Bohanan, Ball State University
  • Dr Robert Pulsinelli, Western Kentucky University
  • Dr Michael Kurth, McNeese State University (Louisiana)
  • Dr Bill Shughart, II, University of Mississippi
  • Dr Joe Bell, Southwest Missouri State University
  • Dr Terry Ridgway, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Dr Allen Parkman, University of New Mexico
  • Dr Lowell Gallaway, Ohio University
  • Dr Ed Price, Oklahoma State University
  • Dr William Mitchell, University of Oregon
  • Dr J.R. Clark, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Dr Michael Davis, The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Robert Higgs, Independent Institute, Edmonds, Washington
  • Dr Charles Breeden, Marquette University
They had been told to "attack the FDA proposal from an anti-big government, anti-regulatory perspective" with a number of pre-determined themes
  • While FDA claims their focus is on preventing youth smoking, the action is the first step to impose harsher regulations on tobacco;
  • The FDA regs will have repercussions on not only the tobacco industry, but vending, confectionery and candy industries, distributors, advertisers and sponsors for sporting events; and
  • The regs will have a devastating impact on jobs.

[This memo demonstrates just how compliant these academic tobacco lackeys had become — and how much they were willing to follow tobacco industry instructions in writing their op-ed pieces.]

1995 Dec 8: The Savarese Status Report on the FDA Op-ed Program says that Davis's draft op-ed had been revised and returned to him on the 3rd November for placement in the Dalls Morning News newspaper.

1995 Dec 21: Savarese & Associate's Status report to Carol Hyrcaj at the Tobacco Institute on the FDA op-editorial program [Dec 8th].

As reflected in the status report, we have replaced Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Houston congressional district with three new states (California, Massachusetts and West Virginia). As you know, we have already received Robert Sexton's (California) article, as well as confirmation that the economist in Massachusetts is able to participate.

At this time, we are asking those economists that have published, to forward a copy of their article to their congressman/congresswoman.
Clearly some of their draft articles were not entirely satisfactory and required rewrites by Savarese's staff. The notes include some additional revealing items such as:
  • Professor Cecil Bohanon — "Revised op-ed returned to economist 11/10"
  • "Professor Pogue has been contacted. We are waiting to hear whether he will be able to particpate."
  • Professor Kurth — "Will have op-ed to us by next week" [for checking]
  • Professor Ridgway — "Will have op-ed to us in a week"
  • Professor Gallaway — "Returned revised op-ed to economist 11/2"
  • Professor Davis — "Returned revised op-ed 11/3"
  • Clifford Fry, Resources Inc, Bryan Texas — "Had to identify new economist. Sent materials 11/14"
  • Prof Charles Breeden, Marquette University, — "Had to identify new economist. Sent materials 11/14"
[These last two were obviously a fill in for a Texas and a Wisconsin economist who had dropped out or the network.]

1996 Jan 5: This Status Report on FDA Op-ed Program is revealing about the master-servant relationship between the tobacco industry and their network economists. It lists 20 attempted newpaper plants of their anti-FDA propaganda and details about the 20 economists who wrote these articles on commission:

Professor Michael Davis, School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas
  Dallas Morning News- declined: Fort Worth Star-Telegram [They also declined and he tried a third time with the Houston Chronicle [success not recorded]]
  [Last contact 12/11]
Attached in front of this document is a model letter to be used by the professors when sending a copy of their article to a local Congressman. Of course the cover letter to the Congressman makes no mention of the fact that the Tobacco Institute paid $3,000 to have the op-ed written.
See also the earlier version of this report which notes which op-eds have been sent for revision before being submitted to the newspaper.

1996 Jan 26: This Status report for the FDA Op-Ed Program shows that they were still planting articles and contacting Congressmen for the Tobacco Institute.

1996 Feb: /E The Tobacco Institute's Media Relations report on the Economists:

  • An extensive economist op-ed program was implemented to focus media attention on the FDA's agenda. The program attacks the FDA proposal from an anti-big government, anti-regulatory perspective. Targeting key Congressional districts:
  • Economists prepared and submitted op-eds for publication to major
        newspapers in select states :
    • Dr William Boyes, Arizona State University
    • Dr Barry Poulson, University of Colorado
    • Dr Dominick Armentano, University of Hartford
    • Dr Dwight Lee, University of Georgia, Athens
    • Iowa economist tbd [To Be Determined]
    • Dr Cecil Bohanan, Ball State University
    • Dr Robert Pulsinelli, Western Kentucky University
    • Dr Michael Kurth, McNeese State University (Louisiana)
    • Dr Bill Shughart, II, University of Mississippi
    • Dr Joe Bell, Southwest Missouri State University
    • Dr Terry Ridgway, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • Dr Allen Parkman, University of New Mexico
    • Dr Lowell Gallaway, Ohio University
    • Dr Ed Price, Oklahoma State University
    • Dr William Mitchell, University of Oregon
    • Dr J.R. Clark, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    • Dr Michael Davis, The University of Texas at Dallas
    • Robert Higgs, Independent Institute, Edmonds, Washington
    • Dr Charles Breeden, Marquette University
[Along with the core group of Tollison, Wagner, Ekelund, etc. these are mostly the 'stayers'.]

1996 Mar 8: Kelleigh Varnum, of Savarese & Associations advises Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute that:

We have located an economist to replace John David (WV). His name is Cliff Dobitz (ND). The status report reflects this addition.

    Also attached is Ed Price's (OK) letter to Congressman Largent.

    Doblitz was an old network contributor from North Dakota. But presumably he had not then been contracted or contracted to attack the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) which was the then-current project for both op-ed writing and contacting Congressmen.

    The Status Report for this FDA Op-ed Program records Davis's involvement. He is now at the School of Management, University of Texase at Dallas.

1996 Apr 16: Kelleigh Varnum advises the Tobacco Institute on the progress of the FDA Op-ed Program.

To date, 14 of 20 articles have published.
  • David Kurth (LA) informed us that his op-ed published on February 21, in Lagniappe. Apparently, there was a breakdown in communication with the editor and he did not realize that the article had published. Enclosed is a copy of the article. Unfortunately, it is of very poor quality. We will forward the original to you when we receive it.

  • Although the Atlanta Constitution has promised for quite some time to publish Dwight Lee's op-editorial, there still have not been any developments. As a result, we have directed Dwight to pursue other outlets for submission.

  • Cecil Bohanon (IN) is contacting the editor of the Journal Gazette. He will pursue other outlets for submission if they decide not to publish his article.

  • Publication of Barry Poulson's (CO) and Cliff Dobitz's (ND) op-editorials is forthcoming.

  • Both Mike Davis (TX) and Terry Ridgway (NV) are checking with their editors on the status of their articles.
The general list also records this economist other attempts.
  • Dallas Morning News - declined
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram — declined
  • Houston Chronicle — ?

1996 May 17: Kelleigh Varnum-Roffman of Savarese & Associates is reporting to Walter Woodson at the Tobacco Institute re the FDA Project. She includes:

  • Updated status report on the FDA op-editorial program
  • Original copy of Cliff Dobitz's (ND) published op-editorial
  • Copy of Michael Kurth's (LA) letter to Congressman Hayes
To date, 15 of 20 articles have published. Please find below some brief notes regarding the status of the remaining op-editorials.
  • Publication of Barry Poulson's (CO) op-ed is forthcoming.
  • Although the Atlanta Constitution has promised for quite some time to publish Dwight Lee's op-editorial, there still have not been any developments. As a result, Lee is pursuing other outlets for submission.
  • Cecil Bohanon (IN), Terry Ridgway (NV) and Mike Davis (TX) are checking with the editors of their papers. They will report back to me on the status of their articles. We will pursue other outlets for submission if any of the above are declined.

    The package contains a list of the current cash-for-comment economists working on the project with a note that:
Professor Michael Davis
      The Dallas Morning News declined
      Fort Worth Star-Telegram declined
      now sent to Houston Chronicle

1996 June 24: Status Report on FDA Op-Ed Program. It lists the various network economists and the articles they have planted with their newspapers. It also records publication dates and those newspapers which declined to use the propaganda, together with the Congressmen who have been contacted.

    About this network economist it says:

Professor Michael Davis, School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas 75083- 0688
Submitted to: Dallas Morning News- declined: Fort Worth Star-Telegram - declined: Houston Chronicle [not recorded]
[Last contact 5/9]

1998 Aug 15: The Florida "Press Journal" carried an article "Government assaults success" by cash-for-comments economist DT Armentano which attacks the McCain tobacco bill and the FDA.

    The list of 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). [However Savarese is still in the picture.] The op-eds are now being rejected by many newspapers, who are no longer willing to publish tobacco industry propaganda.

And, since legally discovered tobacco documents had already begun to appear on-line, the Tobacco Institute has carefully deleted the names of the Professor of Economics who wrote each op-ed piece.

Davis is listed under the heading

TEXAS, The Univesity of Texas at Dallas
DECLINED: Dallas Morning News.

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 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.

2012 April: to Aug: He appears to have been lobbying for someone on airway mergers — specifically the proposed American Airlains—US Airways merger.

    He also had considerable interest in the Health Care Ruling
    [Use Google]


CONTRIBUTORS:dhf2 rwm2 in22

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