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.
Sumner J La Croix
(misspelled Suuner, Sunner and Summer also Lacroix)
— A minor cash-for-comments economist from the University of Hawaii who worked for the tobacco industry. —
Professor Suuner Lacroix became a later recruit into a clandestine network of academic economists who secretly worked for the tobacco industry through the Tobacco Institute. The network was set up in November 1982 by James Savarese (working through his own company and Ogilvy & Mather PR) with later expansion nationwide through Professor Robert Tollison of George Mason University.
Lacroix only joined in late 1986 and appears to have done very little for the tobacco industry, although he remained on their list of active consultants for many years. He is also distinguished by apparently not being part of the clique of Public Choice economists associated with Tollison, Buchanan and many of the others — or with the Center for the Study of Public Choice which acted as a front for the network. He was very much an 'odd-man-out'.
Tollison and Savarese acted as contractors and cut-outs, using the Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University ( GMU), which supplied the adminstration staff. They recruited ultra-libertarian economics professors at the major state universities through the Public Choice Society and various regional economics societies. They tried to maintain a stable of at least one Professor of Economics as a subterranean mole in each US State (Hawai'i was not high on their list of priorities)
The problem is not that these scientists were ultra-libertarians, and that many of them were proto-Tea-Party disciples of Ayn Rand, Frederick Hayek and/or Ludwig von Mises. Nor was it necessarily made worse by the fact that the industry they helped prosper made a product that caused the premature death of about four million people globally each year.
The problem is that these academics
- exploited their trusted position as a teacher at a university to promote dubious corporate view-points contrary to the public good.
- hid their corporate links from the university administration and staff, and from the public which ultimately paid their salary.
- exploited the public trust in universities and their reputation for independent research, for their own financial benefit.
- allowed the tobacco industry to preview, edit and alter the reports they wrote specifically as industry propaganda.
- wrote op-ed articles which were planted on their local newspaper — misleading both the editors and the readers,
- maintained a claim of being 'independent academic/scientists' when writing to politicians or giving evidence at hearings, etc. after being coached by tobacco lawyers.
- generally acting secretly as tobacco industry lobbyists.
Over a hundred professors of economics at major American universities were successfully recruited by Tollison and Savarese, and many of them remained in service to the tobacco industry for many years. Others only served for a short time, and then dropped out voluntarily ... or were found to be unreliable or unsatisfactory.
They were not paid retainers or salaries, but were erratically commissioned to perform specified functions (usually for $1000 to $3000 per project) when the tobacco industry came under attack. Some earned much more — often in the $20-40,000 range — for producing 'independent research' which was customised to produce the desired results.
Payments were never made directly from the tobacco industry to the economists. Commissions were all carefully laundered through Savarese's company or Tollison's GMU operations — and so the economist (wrongly) assumed this would provide deniability if ever challenged over selling out their academic credibility to the merchants of death.
Lacroix is a European maker of cigarette papers. There is also Lacroix Water.
There are also a number of biomedical researchers with the name in the Council for Tobacco Research files. One has the same initial — Sylvain Lacroix (Sweden) and there's also a JS Lacroix
Some key documents
• Professor Sumner La Croix, Department of Economics, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.
See a more recent Sumner La Croix's C/V
|This is yet another case where sloppy staff working for James Savarese or for Robert Tollison at the Center for Study of Public Choice managed to get the spelling of their consultant's name consistently wrong — and failed to pick up the mistake for many years.|
Sumner La Croix [His spelling] is mainly listed as "Suuner Lacroix" throughout these archives.
[We have generally retained their spelling in these indexes.]
1981: PhD University of Washington
1981: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Uni of Hawaii-Manoa
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.
HAWAII (Rep. Heftel, Sen. Matsunaga)
• [Note: The Hawaiian position was still vacant — Suuner Lacroix had yet to be recruited.]
1986: Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Uni of Hawaii-Manoa
La Croix appears to have been recruited in mid-1986.
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.
HAWAII, (Rep. Heften, Sen. Matsunaga)
[Economist:] [Later Professor Suuner Lacroix]
| Tax Witnesses: ||Materials available|
|[Later Sunner Lacroix]|| Hawaii data card|
"Excise Taxes: The Fairness Issue"
"More Taxes on Tobacco...."
Earmarking topic sheet
Letter writing brochure.
| Public Smoking Witnesses: ||Materials available|
|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
| Media Relations: |
|Contacts are in place in Honolulu. Contact Bill Toohey for assistance.|
1987 Feb 6: James Savarese is writing to the Tobacco Institute. He now has a confirmed list of economists willing to work in each state for tobacco interests.
Professor Suuner LaCroix
Department of Economics
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
1987 Feb 6: James Savarese has finalised his list of compliant economists, and sends them to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute. It lists all the familiar cash-for-comment economists
Old faithfuls: plus a few new ones.[
Lee Anderson, Terry Anderson, Dom Armentano, Cecil Bohanon, Thomas Borcherding, Henry Butler, JR Clark, John David, Allan Dalton, Arthur Denzau, Clifford Dobitz, Robert Ekelund, David Gay, Anne Harper-Fender, Dennis Hein, John Howe, Wm Hunter, Joe Jadlow, Michael Kurth, Suuner LaCroix, Dwight Lee, C Matt Lindsay, Dennis Logue, Chuck Mason [Masen], Charles Maurice, Fred McChesney, Robert McMahon, Arthur Mead, Wm Mitchell, Allen Parkman, Wm Peterson, Thomas Pogue, Barry Poulson, Raymond Raab, Simon Rottenberg, Mark Schmitz, Richard Vedder, Richard Wagner
Greg Niehaus, Mario Rizzo, Roger Riefler, and Boon Yoon.]
1987 Feb 6: This is the Tollison/Saverese network list of economists recruited until the end of 1986. It has 64 names, but it still doesn't cover all 50 States. Some States have two or three network members, so newspapers [and sometimes Congressmen] need to be specified for each member to ensure there is no accidental duplication.
Telephone numbers (office and home) are often included in case an urgent op-ed or ordinance hearing is needed. These are grouped by State:
Professor Suuner Lacroix
Department of Economics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822, 808-955-1637
1987 May 5: Cotton Mather ('Matt') Lindsay of Clemson University has written an article "Excise Taxes: Facist Finance" which is being circulated at the Tobacco Institute.
He has discovered through his extensive research that 'vertical equity' means either everyone paying the same in cash value, or alternately it means that the burden is felt equally by both rich and poor. He chooses to use the first definition:
it is difficult to achieve vertical equity [equal cash burden on everyone] through excise taxes because the amount of the tax paid depends on purchases rather than income. [The implication being that it would be more equitable if taxes were highest on those with the higher income]
This simplistic, one-sided, paid-for analysis is accompanied by a list of the cash-for-comments economist from the network [to whom it will presumably be sent as an example (See note "at last....")].
Breweries and tobacco companies write checks to the government for the excise taxes on beer and cigarettes, but here economists agree [economists never agree!]; these companies pass these taxes on to consumers. One's share of the burden of the revenues raised by these taxes depends on how much beer one drinks and how much one smokes.
The unfairness of these excises is manifest; it is not merely another economists' debating point. [In fact, it is a central and primary debating point among economists.] The tobacco excise tax, for example, is the most regressive tax in the federal system. It is paid only by smokers who are today predominantly lower-middle income earners, lower income working women and blue collar workers.
Some have argued that these taxes are appropriate because the funds can be earmarked for expenditures like Medicare, environmental protection and even public employee pensions. [Medicare and environmental costs are higher with those who smoke and drink to excess.]
Why beer drinkers and cigarette smokers ought to pay more for such things is far from clear, however. To the extent that these activities shorten life, they relieve the burdens of Medicare and pension funds by removing potential claimants from the eligibility roles. [This is the old "smokers die young" claim from the same tobacco companies claiming that cigarettes had no adverse health effects. It also ignores the burden on relatives and welfare services.]
Viewed from another perspective, smokers and beer drinkers not only bear a disproportionate share of taxes because they pay excises on these commodities, but they get less for their money, too. Because they live a shorter life span, they collect less in retirement benefits and receive fewer Medicare benefits. [One could also suggest that they get short-changed by
This may be fine for Mussolini, but it is antithetical to tax principles in a free and open society. [And if anyone knows anything about the origins of fascism, it is Public Choice economists.]
- the tobacco companies, and
- by the academic economists who take a salary to help educate their children — but who also work on the side to promote tobacco industry disinformation]
This rubbish is accompanied by a handnote between two Tobacco Institute organisers (Bill Orzechowski, and Roger Mozingo) and an evaluation list of the Economic Witnesses, Northern Sector (states). The area director/s have made contact with each, and these are their notes about the potential of the cash-for-comments economists as witnesses at legislative and ordinance hearings, etc.
- Prof Dominick Armento — "Yes: Contacted, make good witness"
- Prof Summer LaCroix — "Yes: if needed in Hawaii"
- Prof Allan Dalton — "Yes: Good Witness"
- Prof Fred McChesney — "No Contact. Reported to be OK and could be used in future.
- Prof Cecil Bohanon — "Should be replaced by listed Indiana Economist, Pro. James A Dayher (or Payher)"
- Prof Thomas Pogue — "Yes, Could be outstanding."
- Prof Robert McMahon — "Yes: Creditable witness and one-on-one contact."
- Pro Greg Neihaus — "Yes, outstanding witness"
- Prof Raymond Raab — "Yes: Outstanding"
- Prof Terry Anderson — "Yes, Good Witness"
- Prof Terry Logue — "Yes: Outstanding witness"
- Prof Kenneth Greene — "Yes: Only in particular situations with controlled information."
- Prof Cliff Dobitz — "No contact: State not lend itself to Economic witness use."
- Prof Richard Vedder — "No - Conflict minimises effectiveness"
- Prof William Mitchell — "Yes, Good witness"
- Prof Ann Harpert-Fender — "No contact - out of country, will contact in June.
- Prof Arthur Mead— "Yes: Good witness"
- Prof Dennis Hein — "Contact somtimes back; will probably be good witness and usable in 1988.
- Dr Mark Schmitz — "Washington — No"
- Dr Dennis Chinn — "Washington —Yes, Excellent"
1987 May 28: George Minshew at the Tobacco Institute receives and email from his Regional Director "Economic Witness Evaluations - Region V"
I've talked with each of the lobbyists in Region V coneerning the list of economic witnesses provided by Public Affairs.
Each of the lobbyists felt strongly that the program could be effective; especially if TI was to develop a method to throughly brief potential witnesses "pre-Iegislative crisis". Following is a brief evaluation of each economist provided by the appropriate lobbyist.
- Professor Suuner LaCroix,
Department of Economies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu
Counsel Suzuki has not had an opportunity to utilize Professor LaCroix in past legislative sessions. However, he does feel that he could be an important asset in future legislative battles.
- Professor Allan Dalton,
Economics Department, Boise State University
Counsel Bill Roden has met and talked with Professor Dalton on several occasions, however they have never discussed excise taxes. Professor Dalton's professional reputation is excellent and Bill feels that he would be an articulate witness for a legislative hearing. Counsel Roden has not asked Professor Dalton to testify in the past, but will discuss possible future testimony with the Professor before the start of the next legislative session.
- Professor Terry Anderson
Department of Economics, Montana State University, Bozeraan, MT TI
Counsel Jerry Anderson reports that Professor Anderson testified during the 1985 legislative session regarding an excise tax increase. The testimony which he provided was well received as being credible and authoritative. Counsel Anderson also retains Professor Anderson to testify on behalf of his oil industry clients. When it is appropriate during future legislative sessions, Counsel Anderson intends to continue utilizing this resource.
- Professor William Mitchell Department of Political Science, University of Oregon, Eugene
Professor Mitchell expressed his Interest in the excise tax issue and demonstrated his expertise in a recent guest editorial for The Oregonian. TI Counsel Hank Crawford feels that Professor Mitchell's reputation is excellent and his testimony at future legislative hearings would be crucial.
- Dr Mark Schmitz,
Counsel Bill Fritz does not feel that Dr Schmitz would be an appropriate witness for TI at this time.
- Dr Dennis L. Chinn, PhD
Consulting Economist, Bellevue, WA
Dr Chinn has provided extensive writing, consulting, and expert testimony on behalf of TI during past legislative sessions. Counsel Fritz feels that Dr Chinn is an effective consultant and his services will definitely be utilized again in future tax fights
1987 May 28: Paul A Jacobson has sent "Economic Witness Evaluation - Region V" to George Minshew at the Tobacco Institute. He runs through the records of a dozen or so witnesses used in his area.
Professor Suuner LaCroix
Department of Economics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu
Counsel Suzuki has not had an opportunity to utilize Professor LaCroix in past legislative sessions. However, he does feel that he could be an important asset in future legislative battles.
1987 June 9: The Tobacco Institute's Phase II - Excise Tax Op-Ed project involved an article-writing campaign by cash-for-comment economists was run by James Savarese & Associates. It was secretly directed by Robert Tollison from George Mason University with Savarese as the organiser and front.
In the mid 1987 period, the project was controlled by Jeff Rose [under Peter Sparber] at the Tobacco Institute and it focussed on defeating cigarette excise tax increases — and especially the threat of such taxes being 'earmarked' to bolster health care budgets.
Saverese and Tollison appear to have been in some form of loose partnership, because Anna Tollison, the wife of Bob Tollison, was employed by James Savarese & Associates to keep a record of the articles generated by their large contingent of academic economists and to organise payment.
She reported that
"In sum, 41 economists were solicited to write editorials. We have publications in 20 states, 14 articles have been written and submitted, and 7 articles are still outstanding." [Others were in the offing] She included a long list of the economists who wrote the articles, the newspapers in which they were published, together with their circulation figures [eg. the potential number of readers they may have influenced] and the publication date. This economist is featured on her list.
HAWAII, LaCroix, Honolulu Advertiser, [circ.] 89,000, [No pub date]
1987 June 9: Robert Tollison's wife Anne, acting as an administrator of the network through Savarese & Associates, writes to Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute about the "Tobacco Excise Tax Op-Ed Project"
In sum, 41 economist were solicited to write editorials. We have publications in 20 states, 14 articles have been written and submitted, and 7 articles are still outstanding. Suuner Larcroix's article to the Honolulu Advertiser — a newspaper with a circulation of 89,000 — is one of the 'oustanding' ones [had still not been received by the lobbying firm].
1987 June 22: The Tobacco Institute has been sent by Savarese a "Schedule of Payments — Excise Tax Op-Ed Project." This is a detailed accounting for all the current active members of the network.
It details the name of the cash-for-comment economist, the State, the targetted newspaper, and both past and current payments — with a separate column labled "Total Earned to Date".
In HAWAII Also there were payments to George Mason production staff ( Bob Tollison, Bill Shughart and Gary Anderson) for rewrites ($27,500) and a $5,800 payment for replacement of five economists (presumably because they were unproductive or unsatisfactoy). Carol Roberts was also paid for the final production. ($5,000)
LaCroix for Honolul Str. Blt. —Owed $1200, — Total to date $1200
Total here with expenses was $33,810 on top of the $40,525 paid to the network economists.
1987 June 24: Sumner La Croix finally gets around to making personal contact with his local Congressman. He doesn't appear to understand that he is supposed to approach these objections to cigarette excise taxes in an oblique way... only mentioning cigarettes as one example of a much more general problem.
He writes to Senator Spark Matsunaga in Washington:
I am sending to you a copy of an article I have written for publication in the local papers. The article discusses the smoking legislation that has been pending at the Hawaii State Legislature and in the United States Congress.
The basic position of the article is that smoking regulation is a job that can be performed most ably by private firms and individuals. The intervention of government in this area would not be beneficial. Measures that restrict smoking in public places and in the workplace are particularly onerous in a State such as Hawaii which relies on pleasing millions of tourists, many of whom smoke.
[He doesn't appear to have managed to get anyone to publish his article. And his direct reference to cigarettes in his letter wouldn't have gone down too well with the tobacco industry lobbyists.]
1987 Aug 21: Jeff Ross at the Tobacco Institute has prepared a consolidated summary of "Field Staff Evaluation of Economists" for his superiors, William Kloepfer and Peter Sparber. They have been asked to look at 34 of these academics. This includes an outline of their recent achievements.
Professor Suuner LaCroix University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI
Excise Tax Op Eds: None accepted for publication.
Economic Witness/Testimony: (nil)
Field Staff Contact: None.
Field Staff Evaluation: Counsel recommends future use.
Sumner La Croix Spent at least part of this year as a Lecturer in Economics at the Australian Graduate School of Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia..
1988 Feb 8: The Tobacco Institute to its Regional VPs and Directors.
Attached is an updated list of The Institute's cadre of excise tax economists. These economists are available for testimony, one-on-one meetings with legislators, writing letters and op-ed pieces in the states in which they teach, as well as in any state you deem appropriate. Sumner La Croix is listed for Hawai'i.
1989 Jan 11: The Tobacco Institute's Scientific Consultancy Activity 1988-89
This is an 80 page mixed bag of files dumped together [Well worth perusing]. The first document is from 1990 [ordered in reverse]
- Pages 3 to 23 begin with Witness Appearances in 1988 and 1989 involving both "Indoor Air Quality experts" who work for the Tobacco Institute, and three economists [Bob Tollison, Richard Wagner and Dwight Lee]
- Pages 24 to 31 Labor IAQ Presentations in 1988 and 1989 which involves key figures in the labor movement and a few "IAQ experts."
- Pages 32 to 39 IAQ/ETS conferences attended by tobacco industry disinformation experts in 1988 and 1989
- Pages 40 to 41 Academic and Unaffiliated Scientfic Witnesses
- Pages 43 to 53 Smokers Rights Legislation in various states.
- See page 54: Tobacco Institute "Confidential" memo on "Tax Hearing Readiness" which is their battle plan to counter earmaking of cigarette excise taxes to fund health programs. It lists a large number of organizations and a few congressmen who can be relied on to help. It also has both primary and secondary lists of economists from Tollison's "cash-for-comments" network willing to give testimony.
The Tobacco Institute's list of cash-for-comments professors and senior academics who were available to write op-eds and give evidence at Congressional hearings, etc. had grown extensively.
- Bill Orzechowski, Tobacco Institute
- Robert Tollison, George Mason University
- Richard Wagner, George Mason University
- Dwight Lee, University of Georgia, Athens
- Michael Davis, Southern Methodist University
- Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge
- William Prendergast (resource: Prendergast/Solmon papers)
- Other Network economists [see Secondary attached list below]
"Due by mid-year is a book examining earmarking and "user fees" from a public choice perspective. The treatise will contain 8-10 chapters written by respected economists, including, Henri LePage and Nobel laureate James Buchanan."
Prof Suuner LaCroix, University of Hawaii
[TI budget papers show that each op-ed now earned the economists $3,000. Presentations to conferences earned them $5,000. Savarese was paid $70 to $100,000 pa for this project, and Ogilvy & Mather $250,000.].
See page 5
1989 April 18: Susan Stuntz (Issues Manager) at the Tobacco Institute memoes her boss Sam Chilcote. She is sending him material previously used for a two-day "Gerry Long" presentation. He wants to use it in a shorter one-day (unspecified) briefing session.
[Gerald H Long was the CEO of RJ Reynolds who in 1988 had just taken over as Chairman of the Tobacco Institute's Executive Committee and wanted to make changes.] This document has the speaker's powerpoints, including a list of network economists divided on a State-by-State basis. Note the document is 117 pages
The outline for the Powerpoint slides is here in full, together with the names of the politicians they were required to influence. It boasts that the..
Economists' Network 64 Strong [is] Targeted to Congressional Tax Writing Committees [and utilizing the] Production of Op-Eds on Federal Tax Policy.
[List of economists includes Lacroix]
1989 June 18: Suuner Lacroix is listed as a participant/speaker at the annual conference of the Western Economic Association International, held at Lak Tahoe, Nevada.
1990: Professor, Department of Economics, Uni of Hawaii-Manoa
1990 May 7: The Tobacco Institute's "1991 Tax and Social Cost Plans" have sections on
This is an updated list with the current locations of each, with phone numbers and addresses.
- "Social Costs" Hearings Readiness (preparation for fielding witnesses at Congressional hearings.) They list here the arguments that the Institute and its allies must be prepared to present.
- "Tax" Hearing Readiness (as above, but for excise tax increases, State and Federal)
- List of cash-for-comment network economists in each State.
Professor Suuner LaCroix
Department of Economics, University of Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 808-955-1637
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 Lacroix 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.