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.
K Celeste Gaspari
— A cash-for-comments economist with the University of Vermont who worked for the tobacco industry. —
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 networks of academics in various disciplines who would be willing to write and sprout propaganda material ... always provided the payments for these services were not directly tracealble to the Institute or to any of the cigarette companies.
The idea was simply that a clandestine network of 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 of the acolyte academics because the distinction between economics and politics was never clear: so support of the cigarette companies could always be portrayed as support for free-market ideology, including the rights of individuals to make public choices + small government ... or even the first Amendment to the Constitution.
The 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 organizers James Savarese & Associates and Ogilvy & Mather PR, 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
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 any local Congressman who sat on some important (to the tobacco industry) committee.
- one academic economist,
- one academic lawyer, and
- one academic from a business management, business law, marketing or advertising discipline
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!
Unfortunately, it worked.
There are a surprising number of Gasparis in the tobacco archives, dating from a cigarette counterfeiter in 1928. Her first dataed reference is January 1985
One of particular interest is Enzo Gaspari, Managing Legislative Attorney, who also worked for George Minshew at the Tobacco Institute through the lobbying lawfirm Shea and Gould in Albany New York at the same time.
Some key documents
• Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont. She was one of the earliest tobacco industry helper, until she fell out with the Tobacco Institute over payment.
There are 291 documents in the tobacco archive which carry the name Gaspari — some of the early ones deal with a cigarette counterfeiter.
See her CV.
1951 Sep 25: Born
1979 July: PhD in Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Became Assistant Professor of Economics at Wellesley College, MA
1981: Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Vermont.
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.
VERMONT [No Congressmen listed]
• Professor Celeste Gaspari
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
1985 Feb 21: Roger Mozingo of the Tobacco Institute is sending his state directors a list of resources available to fight against excise taxes in their states. Celeste Gaspari heads their state list of available economic witnesses for Vermont.
1985 June 30 to Sep 6: The Tobacco Institute have arranged the weekly syndication of a series of Opinion pieces, comparing statements of four economists (varied weekly) on various subjects. These have been picked up and run by newspapers; presumably in the belief that they are worthy articles of economic opinion. The economists quoted are:
[It's great to see newspapers publishing such a diversity of economic opinion!]
- K Celese Gaspari (Uni of Vermont) — a cash-for-comment economist
- David N Laband (Uni of Maryland) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Fred McChesney (Emory Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Dean Tipps — nominally a union official — actually Citizens for Tax Justice lobbyist
- Allen M Parkman (Uni of New Mexico) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Richard Vedder (Ohio Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Roger Faith (Arkansas State Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Lee Alston (Williams college) — a cash-for-comment economist
- William Hunter (Marquette Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Dennis Logue (Dartmouth College) — a cash-for-comment economist
- William Shughart (George Mason Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Harold Hochman (City Uni of New York) — a cash-for-comment economist
- David Wilhelm (Citizens for Tax Justice) — think-tank lobbyist
- Joseph Jadlow (Oklahoma State Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Robert Ekelund (Auburn Uni) — a cash-for-comment economist
- Thomas Borcherding (Claremont Grad. School) — a cash-for-comment economist
1985 July 30: The Democrat Messenger of Waynesburg, PA has published one of the Tobacco Institute's handout newspaper columns on "Is the American Tax System Fair" with comments from four of their commissioned lobbyists: K Celest Gaspari, David N Laband, Fred McChesney, and Dean Tipps.
The same piece is published in News, North Tongwanda, NY and a couple of other give-away newspapers in Texas and Philadelphia
[These are 'matte' handouts, which can be cut and pasted directly into the printing make-up for cheap give-away junk newspapers. There are probably a couple of dozen clippings of this same article from different newspapers in the archives.]
1986 Jan: The Public Relations Resources Commitee of the Tobacco Institute lists him as an available witness:
Public Smoking/Witness: Local economists are available to provide economic testimony on the public smoking issue. Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed an the potential cost to government of implementing smoking restrictions.
[She is also listed under the heading ]
- Professor K Celeste Gaspari, Department of Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington VT
Taxes/Witness: Local economists are available to provide economic testimony on excise taxes. The economist explain why excise taxes are regressive and unfair to consumers and unsuitable and unreliable as a means to increase the federal revenue.
1986 Jan: The Tobacco Institute's Public Relations Resource Catalogue for their Regional Directors, lists documents, booklets, article, posters and people who can help them fight local public smoking ordinances and threats to raise the excise taxes on cigarettes.
It provides a long list of economists who are willing to speak at hearings, write letters to the editor, or create op-eds for the newspapers to counter any threat to public smoking or possible increase in excise taxes.
The Tobacco Institute offered their Regional Directors the C/Vs of all of these economists, and said
"Requests for economists should be made ASAP. Allow at least one week. PR approval needed." She is listed [along with 50 other economists] as a contact in:
She is available on two weeks notice as a witness for hire.
2. Professor Celeste Gaspari
Public Smoking/Witness: Local economists are available on two-weeks notice to provide economic testimony on the public smoking issue. Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed on the potential cost to government of implementing smoking restrictions.
Tax witness: [She will] "explain why excise taxes are regressive and unfair to consumers and unsuitable and unreliable as a means to increase the federal revenue."
Those economists who have testified or prepared op-ed pieces on the economic effects of public smoking are marked accordingly. The others may be briefed on the potential cost to government of implementing smoking restrictions.
1986 May: A bundle of 72 pages of information is being circulated by the Tobacco Institute to its Regional Directors. The data is predominantly on the tobacco-industry beat-up known as Sick Building Syndrome and on the general problems of Indoor Air Quality [all down-playing the effects of smoking in confined spaces]
Section 1 is headed
List of sources. Local and national experts you can call for quotes or background information. It promotes the services of three specialist lobbyists
They have also provided a list of the 52 Professors of Economics from various State Universities who can be called on to provide services for roughly $1000 a time: This economists name and address are included under "Tobacco & Taxation (listed by state, alphabetically)".
- Lewis Solmon - an academic who discounts problems of workplace smoking
- Al Vogel - who claims to be an expert in public attitudes to smoking
- Mike Forscey, a labor lawyer/lobbyist who helped the tobacco industry keep the union movement on-side.
1986 Oct 3: The State Directors for the Tobacco Institute have been reviewing all economics network witnesses in their territories, and culling those who are not actively participating. The Washington DC office is now circulating to its State Directors a list of the economists available who...
"...have been identified in several states by J. Savarese as available and hopefully capable to testify in our behalf, or aid in our defense against proposed state of local legislation, from an economic aspect. This list differs from others in providing a list of the economic specialities of each network economist, along with the Congresmen they were designated to influence. She is listed as specializing in:
Professor Celeste Gaspari
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, 802-656-3064
[Specializing in] Welfare programs; international investment; foreign aid; impact on industry structure.
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,
See pages 210 to 219 of the bundle which have multiple Letters-to-editor/commentary from 17 cash-for-comments economists — William Hunter, Dennis Logue, William Shugart, Harold Hochman. David Wilhelm, Joseph Jadlow, Robert Ekelund, Thomas Borcherding, K Celeste Gaspari, David Laband, Fred McChesney, Dean Tipps, Allen Parkman, Richard Vedder, Roger Faith, Lee Alson, and William Hunter,
They had obviously managed to plant these multiple-author pieces on a number of newspapers.
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:
Vermont [ Region I ]
Professor Celeste Gaspari
Department of Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05401, 802-656-3064
- original excise tax op-ed
1987 Jan 6: A James Savarese memo to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute.
In-order to keep this project straight with respect to the economist list, we were specifically assigned to go back to all 42 names on the original list to check to see if the economists were still interested in working for us, still in the same state, and available to meet with representatives from state activities.
We have 34 who fit this criteria and have been contacted. The list is attached.
The states that we once had that are currently missing are Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The states listed in October 1986 as having representives, but not now are:
Not all of these professors ceased working for the tobacco industry entirely, however. Some provide later services.
- Arizona, Professor Roger D Faith of Arizona State Uni
- Maryland, Professor David Laband, University of Maryland
- Massachusetts, Professor Lee Alston, William College, Williamstown
- Nebraska, Professor Delores Martin, University of Nebraska
- New Jersey, Professor Michael Crew, Rutgers University
- Vermont, Professor Celeste Gaspari, Univesity of Vermont
- West Virginia, Professor Morris Coates, Marshall University
- Wyoming, Professor Todd Sandler, University of Wyoming.
October 1986 list
January 1987 list
1987 Feb 24: Dennis Dyer at the Tobacco Institute has sent out a direct form-letter which was a request for these economists to work for the Tobacco Institute itself (trying to by-pass Ogilvy & Mather perhaps!). He writes directly to Professor Gaspari at the University of Vermont:
Some time ago you were contacted by Jim Savarese with regard to the economic impact of the tobacco industry on [STATE], I assume you continue in your interest in the economics of tobacco.
In anticipation of possible tax and smoking restriction legislation in [STATE] in 1987, I would like to discuss some of your opinions on the economic arguments in each of these areas. For your consideration, I have enclosed the following materials:
These are typical of the type of materials sometimes prepared for Tobacco Institute use. I would appreciate your written candid comments on the substance of, presentation of, and ability to defend the materials.
- New York Smoking Prohibition Economic Impact Study.
- New York Summary of Cigarette Tax Trends and Impacts.
- New York Study of Cigarette Tax Sunset Provisions on Sales and Bootlegging,
Celeste Gaspari was not amused by this letter. She replied saying that she was not happy with the slack way they paid their retainers. See Gaspari's reply
1987 Jun 3: Memo on "Economic Witness Evaluation" from Dennis Dyer of the New England division of Tobacco Institute to his superior, George Minshew.
The Public Relations Division has identified six economists in New England who appear willing to work with us on our tobacco-related issues. In April another economist was identified and subsequently contacted — Professor Simon Rottenberg, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They had initially identified six economists in New England who appeared willing to work with them on tobacco-related issues [lending their names to op-eds, studies, etc. and giving witness for the industry at inquiries].
During the past three years, I have had an opportunity to meet and work with the designated economic witnesses in Maine (Professor Robert McMahon) and New Hampshire (Professor Dennis Logue).
This was a variation on the tobacco industry's standard technique for recruiting scientists and academics. Before they were formally commissioned, they must first prove that they were aligned to industry requirements by turning in written commentary which shows that they support the industry's pro-tobacco position.
[This is an unequivocal statement that these academics allowed their names to be attached as 'authors' to propaganda and pseudo-research prepared by the tobacco industry in order to deceive legislators.]
- Professor McMahon reviewed and agreed to "author" [their quotes] an economic impact study on the effects of a public smoking bill in Maine. He presented testimony at two worksessions and conducted a limited number of one-on-one briefings. The bill was defeated.
- Professor Logue testified on a broad workplace bill. In conjunction with this testimony, he submitted an economic impact study prepared by Jim Savarese. The bill was enacted.
On February 24 I contacted each of the identified economists in the region by letter (Attachment B). In each instance I provided the economist with three examples of Tl-generated economic impact studies and asked for their initial impressions and recommendations.
[He was effectively asking them whether they would put their names to this pseudo-research]
Three of the seven economists [in the New England region only] responded (Attachments C-l through C-3). With the exception of Professor Celeste Gaspari from Vermont, the other two seem to continue their interest. Only Professor Logue chose to give even the briefest of responses to my inquiry.
Follow-up conversations with all of the identified economists indicate a general willingness to be involved but a lack of real understanding as to what our requirements might be.
Dyer has a plan for more effectively use of these economists, nationwide. He also includes the full multi-page resume of Professor Dominick T Armento (see table above) who has proved to be one of their most successful recruits.
On Page 44 there is a copy of Dyer's letter to Armentano. The Professor had been previously contacted by Jim Savarese (a specialist lobbyist and recruiter of economists) and this was the follow-up letter arranging a formal review of some literature (to ascertain his opinions re smoking) and to arrange a meeting for recruitment discussion. This letter has been prominently labeled:
"**SAMPLE LETTER TO ECONOMIC WITNESSES**"
- Attachment 1. Page 15 is a pro-industry article Armentano has written in the Hartford Courant, "Cigarette taxes flunk on fairness"
- Attachment 2. Page 16 is the resume of Robert C McMahon, who is an Associate Professor of Economics at the USM.
- Attachment 3. Page 19 is the resume of Lee J Alston, Assisant Professor of Economics at Williams College and a private consultant to an unnamed law firm. [He is in Australia on leave - see reply page 45]
- Attachment 4. Page 24 is the resume of Dennis E Logue of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. [He is at Georgetown University at this time, and he replies (Page 46) favourably reviewing the literature he has been sent, and suggesting lines of defense for the industry]
- Attachment 5 . Page 32 is the resume of Arthur C Mead, Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island. [He didn't reply to the TI request that he review their literature and comment on the economic case]
- Attachment 6 . Page 37 is the resume of K Celeste Gaspari, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Vermont. [She replies (Page 48) saying she is still waiting for the annual $1000 retainer she was promised, and is disappointed with the Tobacco Institute. She won't work with them if this is the way they do business.]
I will reiterate my disappointment with the Tobacco Institute. It is true I never had a written agreement with the Institute —we only spoke over the phone. I did, however naively, trust that a verbal agreement with a prestigious institute was as good as a formal contract. I was evidently mistaken.
In answer to your letter, I am not interested in working with your group at this time if this is the way you do business.
- Attachment 7 . Page 40 is the resume of William F Shughart II, ex Special Assistant to the Director, Bureau of Economics at the FTC, and now an Associate Professor at Clemson University. [He apparently didn't reply — but he was a long-term lackey anyway.]
[Every economist on this list was a paid lackey of the tobacco industry.]
This appears to have been the end of Professor Gaspari's careeer as a tobacco lackey... but not for reasons of ethics, but for sheer commercialism.