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.
Alan M Leiken
— A medical/health economist who became a temporary cash-for-comments economist for tobacco industry in the State University of New York. —
Professor Allan Leiken became briefly recruited into a clandestine network of academic economists who secretly worked for the tobacco industry through the Tobacco Institute. He appears to have made himself available during 1990, but then was either fired or resigned. There's no record that he actually did anything for them, and the tobacco industry already had Roger Congleton from Clarkson University working the New York State area.
Leiken and Congleton were given the task of influencing key Congressmen, Rangel, Downey, McGrath and Moynihan — but there is nothing in the archives to suggest that Leiken did this either.
[Leiken is included here mainly for completeness.]
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.
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.
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.
An Edward Leiken ran an anti-smoking organisation known as Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. There is also a Dr. Jerry B Leiken, Toxicologist with Rush-Presbyterian / St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago who may have taken the opposite position. (He is copied in some cigarette defense counsel memos)
Some key documents
• Professor Alan Leiken, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY
[The tobacco network administrators continually mis-spelled his name as Allan]
• The tobacco archives have 29 documents with his name.
1978: Ph.D. in economics from Stony Brook University
Since that time he has been a full-time faculty member in the Department of Health Care Policy and Management, School of Health Technology & Management. Since 1994 he has been the Chair of the Department and for 10 years, from 1994 — 2003, he was the School's Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
1982 May: He co-wrote a paper with E Padder on "High density lipoprotein (HDL) determination in the routine health examination. Relationship to weight and cigarette smoking."
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 Roger Congleton, Clarkson University
Prof Allan Leiken, State University of New York.
[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 Leiken]
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.
Prof Roger Congleton
Department of Economics, Clarkson University
Potsdam, New York 13676
Professor Allan Leiken
State University of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794 516-444-3243
There is nothing in the tobacco archives about Leiken after this date, except for occasional references to his 1982 cholesterol paper.
2010: Alan M Leiken is still an Associate Professor at SUNY Stonybrook. He is listed with the School of Health Technology and Management, as
- Director, Advanced Certificate in Health Care Management
Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Health Care Policy & Management