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.
Craig R MacPhee
— A minor cash-for-comments economist from the University of Nebraska. He doesn't appear to have been an active participant apart from writing one article in a local Lincoln newspaper. —
Professor Craig MacPhee became recruited 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.
MacPhee joined not long after the network began to expand to cover most states in the USA, but although he remained on their 'active and available' list for many years, he doesn't appear to have done anything of significance. He also does not appear to have ever been a member of their cadre of Public Choice (Randian/Hayekian) evonomists.
Tollison and Savarese acted as contractors and cut-outs for the Tobacco Institute in running this network of academics, 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.
Some key documents
• Prof Craig MacPhee, Department of Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NW [He is listed as the "Paul C. Burmeister College Professor of Economics"]
The Tobacco Institute already had Professor Delores T ('Dee') Martin from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as a foundation member in the economists network
• There are 46 documents with Craig MacPhee's name in the tobacco archives and 4 with the McPhee spelling.
1966: BS (Business), University of Idaho,
1968: MA (Economics), Michigan State University,
1970: Ph.D. (Economics), Michigan State University
One of the foundation members of the academics network, Professor Delores Martin, disappears from the tobacco archive files in late 1986 and doesn't reappear again until 1991.
For part of this time she was in Washington working for the Republican Party and the Advisory Council Intergovernmental Relations (Second term of the Reagan Administration).
1986: This is the Tollison/Saverese network list for 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:
Prof Craig MacPhee
Department of Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NW 68588-0489, 402-472-2449
1987 Jun 1: The Lincoln Journal publishes an op-ed written by Craig MacPhee for the Tobacco Institute: "Putting taxes to the test". It only mentions cigarette excise taxes as a passing reference:
The total tax on a pack of cigarettes purchased in Nebraska went from 22 cents in1982 to 39 cents today. Nebraska has also raised its gasoline tax by 39.percent since 1982. Overall, the article doesn't not appear to promote the tobacco industry line to any significant degree. It is at Economics 101 level.
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.
MacPhee, Lincoln Journal, [circ.] 47,000, [no pub date]
1987 June 22: The Tobacco Institute has been sent by Savarese a "Schedule of Payments — Excise Tax Op-Ed Project." 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 NEBRASKA 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)
MacPhee for Lincoln Journal —Owed $1500 — Total to date $1500
Total here with expenses was $33,810 on top of the $40,525 paid to the network economists.
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 Craig MacPhee University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE
Excise Tax Op Eds: Lincoln Journal — 06/01/87
Economic Witness/Testimony: nil
Field Staff Contact: None.
Field Staff Evaluation: None.
1987 Aug 31: Peter Sparber [Issues Manager] to Bill Kloepfer [PR head] at the Tobacco Institute:
Jeff [Rose] has done a good job of summarizing the economic consultant situation and I am attaching my copy of his report with some marginal notes. I think he should consider sending a collection of all of the published op-ed pieces to each of the consultants for the sake of inspiration.
[This memo leaves no room for doubt that these economists knew precisely who they were working for, and why they were being paid (about $1000 per article) by the tobacco industry.]
In the case of those who have not had an article accepted for publication I would like to know whether they submitted one.
The economists were visited by State [regional] tobacco staff, and subject to an evaluation of their work and their prospects. Not all measured up. Jeff Ross reported:
Two general comments from field staff warrant some consideration. Michael Brozak recommended a political orientation to prepare witnesses for potentially politicized hearings.
We agree and recommend that State Activities consider advising field staff to conduct such briefings as appropriate. Richard Scanlan suggested that an economist from the state capital city is much more valuable. We have asked Savarese and Tollison to see if they can identify a candidate.
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. This economist is listed.
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 Craig MacPhee, University of Nebraska
[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
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
What TI and Its Allies Must Cover
- "Social cost" arguments used to justify excise tax increases, smoking restrictions and ad bans are not valid.
- Independent economists state that "social cost" calculations used by anti-smokers do not withstand credible economic scrutiny.
- There is no convincing economic evidence that smokers impose costs on society. Any supposed costs are "private costs" and are borne by the smoker.
- Other industries are vulnerable to social cost attacks. A "slippery slope" may exist as anti-smokers, using "social costs" arguments, seek legislation restricting smoking or increasing taxes. These efforts may signal lawmakers to regulate other products as well.
- "Tax" Hearing Readiness (as above, but for excise tax increases, State and Federal)
What TI and Its Allies Must Cover
- Excise taxes are regressive and take away tax reform for low- and middle-income Americans. As a percentage of income, low income families pay as much as 27 times more in federal excises than high-income families.
- Cigarette excise taxes are discriminatory. They fall disproportionately on Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.
- Excise taxes are unfair. Tobacco consumers are forced to pay more than others for government services benefitting everyone. Why should smokers pay more for national defense than nonsmokers?
- List of cash-for-comment network economists in each State.
Prof Craig MacPhee
Department of Economics, University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NW 402-472-2449
Relatively unproductive members like MacPhee were fired (or just 'let go') at this time — and his disappearance coincides with the re-appearance in the network records of Professor Delores Martin, from the same university.
2000 June 29: MacPhee is Chairman of a Trade Theory, Studies in Trade Policies, and Fiscal Reform in the Former Soviet Union workshops at the Western Economic Association International conference.
By this time the network had completely evaporated and Tollison was not organising special pro-smoking seminars at these conferences.