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.
Scot E Atkinson
— A short-term cash-for-comment economist from Wyoming. He only appears in their lists until he moves to the University of Georgia, where they already have Dwight Lee. —
Tobacco lobbyist James Savarese and Professor Robert Tollison of George Mason University collaborated in the 1980s to provide the tobacco industry, through the Tobacco Institute, with a number of networks of academics who would be willing to write propaganda material ... always provided their names were not linked to the industry or to any of the cigarette companies.
The idea was simply that the academic 'sleepers' would be available on a cash-for-services basis when needed to counter attempts to increase excise taxes, or to ban public smoking, or just to appear as independent experts at Congressional hearings and promote the industry causes.
Economist were by far the most useful academics to the tobacco industry because the distinction between economics and politics was never clear: so support of the cigarette companies could always be claimed as support for free-market economics ... the rights of individuals to make public choices ... small government ... or even the first Amendment to the Constitution.
These economist working for Savarese, always claim to be 'independent' 'professionals' and ' academics' and they exploited the fact that they came from some credible university. They never revealed the source of their funding in their op-eds or letters-to-the-editor.
If ever put under cross-examination, they must be able to claim (with weasel-word imprecision) that they had never received a penny from the tobacco industry. Therefore all payments were laundered, either through tobacco industry lawyers (usually Covington & Burling), the principle organisers, James Savarese & Associates, or through Bob Tollison's Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University.
The aim was to have, in each State, at least one academic economist, one academic lawyer, and one academic from a business management, business law, marketing or advertising discipline willing to jump into action and write op-ed articles for their local newspaper or to appear at local ordinance or legislative hearings. Copies were always sent to a local Congressman, who sat on some important (to the tobacco industry) committee.
The academics were always expected to wave their own and their university's credentials vigorously, and loudly proclaim their "independence' from any crass-commercial motives. And those who could boast of being 'non-smokers' were especially prized — since without this addiction, their non-dependent-on-tobacco status was thought to be proved beyond any doubt!
There appears to be both a Scott A Atkinson and Scott E Atkinson. The Scott E Atkinson was at Wyoming University and was part of the economists network.
Some key documents
• Professor of Economics, University of Wyoming Institute for Policy Research, Laramie.
• Professor Scott Atkinson shared the State of Wyoming with other cash-for-comment professors from the University of Wyoming, Professor Todd Sandler. Scott Atkinson provided the Tobacco Institute with more quotable quotes than Sandler. See
and Professor Chuck Mason.
1972: PhD Economics University of Colorado, Boulder.
1972–73: With the EPA Office of Research and Development in Washington.
1973–79: Department of Energy, Washington DC
1974: "Analysis of Alternative Air Control Strategies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Several studies have documented the inefficiency of early EPA controls. Scott Atkinson and Donald H. Lewis, for example, showed that controls of particulate emissions in the St. Louis area were six to ten times more expensive than the minimum cost approach.
[This was done for the Office of Energy Systems and the EPA ]
1979–81: Economist with the American Petroleum Institute in Washington DC, and also an Adjuct Professor with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Reston.
1981–86: University of Wyoming
1985 Dec: /E President Ronald Reagan asked Senator Bob Packwood, chairman of the US Senate Finance Committee, to design a proposal for comprehensive tax reform
which would reduce the highest individual income tax rate down to 35% from its current 50% level, but retain adequate incentives for business investment, and avoid inclusion of any new taxes.
In an attempt to do this without reducing the total amount of tax revenue that is currently collected, the Packwood plan proposes to offset reduced revenues from income taxes by what the Wall Street Journal has referred to as a "backdoor increase in excise taxes."
The Packwood plan proposes to eliminate the income tax deductibility of excise taxes and import tariffs paid by businesses [and it] would increase federal excise tax receipts by an estimated $75 billion over five years. Approximately $13 billion of this would be a result of a direct increase in excise taxes on motor fuel, wine, distilled spirits, and tobacco.
See also in this document James Savarese's report to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute on the progress of his Packwood Excise Tax/Op-Ed project. This economist and 18 others are writing opinion pieces for their local newspapers, and sending letters to their congressmen.
[The Packwood Plan triggered a substantial increase in the activities of the cash-for-comments economists already employed by the tobacco industry and led to the creation of the very substantial network of academic economists in every state who could be called upon to help fight tax increases on cigarettes — and later public smoking bans.]
1986 March: Copies of the letters that the cash-for-comments economists wrote to various newspapers editors, and also the ones they wrote to their Senators — none of which mentioned that they'd been paid by the Tobacco Institute to write both the op-eds and the Congressional letters. These were sent to the Tobacco Institute as proof of their activities:
Scott Atkinson, at the University of Wyoming's Institute for Policy Research wrote to the Managing Editor of the Casper Star-Tribune. He says he is concerned by the Packwood attack on Wyoming's economy.
In the past, your paper has reported on research of mine regarding the monopoly power of railroads shipping Wyoming coal and the threat of discriminatory coal tariffs to Wyoming's economy. He also sends identical letters to the Laramie Daily Boomerang and Cheyenne Wyoming Eagle and followup letters to Senators Malcolm Wallop and Alan Simpson.
Enclosed is an op-ed which I hope your paper will be able to publish. It addresses a different threat to Wyoming's economy — that from the Packwood Tax Reform Bill, in particular its excise tax provisions.
Newspaper clippings of some of the network members' published articles for this project are grouped here:
- Joseph Jadlow, Tax reform Hidden excise boost hurt consumers...
- Allen Dalton, Hidden taxes gut Reagan reform plan.
- Charles Maurice, Packwood proposal picks our pockets.
- Scott Atkinson, Packwood Tax Reform Bill Threatens Wyoming Economy.
[Typewritten draft versions]
- Allen Dalton, Tax Revision: Reform or Fraud.
- Thomas F Pogue, Senator Packwood's Proposal is Not Tax Reform.
- Richard B McKenzie, Excise Taxation: A Misguided Soultion to the Federal Governments Fiscal Woes.
- Terry Anderson, Tax Reform We Don't Need.
- Michael Crew, Tax Reform Hides Massive Excise Tax Increases: Senator Packwood Is Too Clever by Half.
- JJ Bodewyn, Taxwise, We are going to be had.
- Anne Harper-Fender, The Packwood Tax Plan: Reform or Expediency.
- Scot Atkinson, Packwood Tax Reform Bill Threatens Wyoming Economy.
These draft articles have all been freshly retyped on two different typewriters. This confirms that they are the final output after they've passed the Tobacco Institute's vetting, clearance, and 'improvement' stages.
1986 Mar 20: Tobacco Institute document: Background Update Of the Estimated Effect of the Packwood Tax Plan On the Price Increase Necessary For Cigarettes
If the deductibility of the excise taxes is eliminated, then most, if not all, of this tax increase will be passed on to tobacco consumers as price increases to cover the additional corporate taxes they will be required to pay, plus the indexed excise tax requirement.
On the basis of 1985 sales, and the level of federal excise taxes paid on cigarettes, the level of taxable sales would be: $4.5 billion / $0.16 = 28.125 billion packs — the remainder are either sent overseas as exports or to armed services, or to government institutions.
If the Packwood plan is adopted, and if the effective tax rate on tobacco corporations is 35 percent as in 1983, the increase in corporate income taxes would be about $1.83 billion.
It must be assumed that this tax increase will be passed on to consumers in order to maintain net income. This will cause a decline in demand on the base level of 28.125 billion packs.
1986 March 26: The tobacco industry has fired up its economists network to counter the threat of the Packwood Tax Reform Bill. Scott Atkinson has sent his letter to the managing editor of the Casper Star-Tribune along to the Tobacco Institute, as proof that his op-ed had been submitted.
Enclosed is an op-ed which I hope your paper will be able to publish.
It addresses a different threat to Wyoming's economy — that from the Packwood Tax Reform Bill, in particular its excise tax provisions.
Scott Atkinson, Director, IPR and Professor of Economics
See page 19
He has also sent it to the Laramie Daily Boomerang, and to the Cheyenne Wyoming Eagle on the same day (Not a practice favoured by newspapers!) See Page 20 and 21.[He may be hoping to get paid three times by the Tobacco Institute.]
[Senator Malcolm Wallop also gets a copy — which wouldn't have influenced him since he was firmly in the pocket of the industry anyway. However Atkinson may well have influenced Senator Alan Simpson who also got a copy and who floats to the right of Wallop, if that is at all possible.] The published articles are grouped here. The Laramie Boomerang story is headed "Packwood Tax Reform Bill Threatens Wyoming Economy", which may have been a bit of hyperbole, since the state doesn't appear to have suffered then or since because of another cent or so added to each cigarette pack — not has there been reduced demand for diesel oil.
1986 Mar 28: A list of excerps from major newspaper editorials aand op-eds about the Packwood tax plan.
Scott Atkinson, Director, Institute for Policy Research and Professor of Economics, University of Wyoming, in the Laramie Boomerang.
"Packwood Tax Reform Bill Threatens Wyoming Economy"
The Packwood bill presumably would reduce middle and lower income tax inequities. Instead, this proposal would most likely increase these inequities, raise the prices of a vast array of commodities, and depress Wyoming's economy even further."
Scott Atkinson, in the Caspar Star. "Packwood Tax reform bill threatens state's economy" (see previous listing)
1986 April: Professors Joseph M Jadlow (Oklahoma) and Charles Maurice (Texas A&M) have prepared draft articles attacking the Packwood Tax Plan. James Saverese has sent them, together with clippings of articles already published, along to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute for correction and clearance. (See page 10)
It lists many dozens of articles which the cash-for-comment economist on the network have now written, including one:
WYOMING: Prof. S Atkinson Submitted to Papers: 3/26/86 —Casper Star Tribune, Laramie Daily Boomerang, Cheyenne Wyoming Eagle,
Letters to Senators: Wallop and Simpson on 3/26/86
1986 Apr 1: An Open Letter to Senator Robert Packwood (by Wm Mitchell) has been sent to the network economists to help them write their articles. This is a checklist of those in the 1) Writing Stage 2) Submitted to Newspapers 3) Letters Written to Senators.
This cash-for-comments participant has written both the article and the letters to Senators, and has attached copies sent back to the Tobacco Institute.
1986 April: 6/E Professors Joseph M Jadlow (Oklahoma) and Charles Maurice (Texas A&M) have prepared draft articles attacking the Packwood Tax Plan. James Saverese has sent them, together with clippings of articles already published, along to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute for correction and clearance. (See page 10)
It lists many dozens of articles which the cash-for-comment economist on the network have now written, including one:
Prof S Atkinson
Submitted to Paper: 3/26/86, Casper Star Tribune, Laramie Daily Boomerang, Cheyenne Wyoming Eagle
Current Status: [N/A]
Letters have been sent on 3/26/86 to Senators Wallop and Simpson
The Tobacco Institute also keeps a record of his submissions and letters to his State Senators, which is circulated to the tobacco companies (here Lorillard).
One of the network economists, William Mitchell, has also written an "Open Letter to Senator Packwood" attacking his plan, and this is being circulated along with a letter from "Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, Inc."
1986 Apr 11: The Tobacco Institute plans for State-by-State actions to generate opposition to the Packwood Tax Plan.
1986 Apr 15: Senator Malcolm Wallop, replies to "Dear Scott" and thanks him for sending his "excellent op-ed piece".
1986 Apr 15: Jim Savarese is reporting to Fred Panzer at the TI about the [anti] Packwood Tax Plan project. He includes numerous letters sent to Senators, copies of published op-eds, and a revised op-ed for Maine and one for Minnesota, He lists the successes of the network economists, including:
WYOMING, Prof S Atkinson
[Submitted to] Casper Star Tribune, Laramie Daily Boomerang, Cheyenne Wyoming Eagle 3/26/86
[Letters sent to Senators] Wallop and Simpson 3/26/86
1986 Aug: /E He moved over to University of Georgia at Athens, Terry College of Business. See his C/V [but without mention of his tobacco work, or any listing of his op-eds] at http://www.terry.uga.edu/–satkinso/vitae/vitae_re.pdf
1986 Dec 8: Sam Chilcote is summing up the Tobacco Institute's activities in fighting the Packwood Tax Plan which attempted to impose special excise taxes on tobacco, alcohol and fuel (in the oil crisis years) to reduce use. Packwood also wanted to make these taxes and tarffs non-deducatable for federal income tax purposes.
The document bundle (219 pages) includes:
- Pages 2 to 34: A major study done for the TI by Policy Economics Group
- Pages 35 to 50: Another major study commissioned from DeSeve Economics for the Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (CART) [funded by tobacco to act as a front]
- Pages 51 to 57: A couple of papers done for Covington & Burling
- Pages 58 to 100: A long document which has deliberately NOT included the name of the organisation which produced it within the document itself. (But done by deSeve Economics Associates Inc).
- Pages 101 to 129 : A paper on the "Burden of Tobacco Taxes on Selected Demographic Groups"
- Pages 130 to 144: Some booklet trying to rabble-rouse the Hispanic and Black communities and make them believe Packwood is attacking them racially.
- Page 145 to 177: A Citizens for Tax Justice 'poll' on attitudes. and Coalition Against Regressive Taxation document
- From Page 178 on: many of the op-eds they have had published in newspapers by the cash-for-comment academic economists, (including one from this source.)
See two of Atkinson's articles on pages 187 and 188 of the document bundle.
[Atkinson appears to have dropped out of the economists network at about this time. He transfered from Wyoming to the University of Georgia in Athens. But Dwight Lee, a much more prominent membersof the network was already covering this territory.]
1986 Dec 11: James Savarese sends Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute a summary of the activities of his network of economists. This is effectively the beginning of the main cash-for-comments economists network.
There are now 62 names on the list (Some states have 4 or 5) not counting himself and Bob Tollison. The details given for each consist of State, Regional Division [of the TI], Name, Address and Telephone number. Added to this is a list of the 'Projects' they have completed (in later lists, also the names of Congressmen they have contacted.)
I have attached a list of all the economists we have used along with the projects they have worked on in behalf of the Tobacco Institute.
Virtually all of these cash-for-comment academics have been generating op-ed articles for newspapers, or have, in some unspecified way, opposed the Packwood Excise Tax plan — or perhaps helped fake up one of the 'Chase' [Econometrics studies]. A few participants have attended Congressional or government inquiries ['Treasury I') or local ordinance hearings as 'independent witnesses' while secretly acting for the tobacco industry. Two of the 64 members (Ann Harper-Fender and Gary Anderson) were acting termporarily as advisors to Ronald Reagan's Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations— which sought to bring pressure on the FDA, EPA and OSHA and stop them being pro-active with smoking bans.
Other participants have been promoting the industry line at various academic conferences and fora [mainly as keynote speakers at economic society meetings] , and a few of the core-team were involved in brianstorming sessions with members of the tobacco industry looking for new angles for their PR, and for possible research project which might generate some economic propaganda for the industry.
Many of them have joined in with the industry's orchestrated letter-writing campaigns opposing workplace smoking bans.
- GSA = General (Government) Services Administration.
- 'Ways & Means' = Congressional committee on finances
- ALEC = American Legislative Exchange Council (a formalised way for big business to directly influence Congressional and State politicians)
- Chase Econometrics = A company that did economic impact studies for the tobacco industry in various locations to 'prove' that smoking bans would destroy local economies.
The references for this network member were:
Wyoming [ Region VIII ]
Professor Scot Atkinson
Institute for Policy Research, Room 227, Ross Hall, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071, 307-766-5141
1987: Scott Atkinson (now Georgia) and Todd Sandler (Iowa) along with one non-network economist John Tschirhard (Wyoming) have become experts in Terrorism. They provide the world with an economic analysis of "Terrorism in a Bargaining Framework." This paper had previously been presented to the Public Choice Society (run by Tollison)