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.
Cotton Mather Lindsay
(Know as both 'Matt' and 'Cotton')
— A cash-for-comment economist from Clemson University —
Professor Cotton Mather ('Matt') Lindsay was one of the more useful academic economists to the tobacco industry in the early days of the network of 'sleeper' agents set up to promote the special interests of the cigarette companies.
The cash-for-comments economists network was established by Professor Robert Tollison of George Mason University, with lobbyist and consultant to the Tobacco Institute, James Savarese. It's purpose was to provide propaganda and lobbying services to the tobacco industry in all 50 US States, utilizing trusted and prominent academics at the local universities. It was:
The principle organisers included the:
- Funded and controlled by the Tobacco Institute.
- Organised and influenced by the Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University, and the Public Choice Society (neo-con economists).
- Operated on a day-to-day basis through Ogilvy & Mather, and then by James Savarese & Associates a lobby firm based in Washington.
For most of the 1980s and 1990s it employed only Professors of economics at well-known State universities, and it secretly commissioned them to:
- Tobacco Institute staff — Peter Sparber, Susan Stuntz, Carol Hyrcaj, Fred Panzer, Jeff Ross and Calvin George.
- Economist organizers — Robert Tollison, William Shughart, Dwight Lee, Richard Wagner, Gary Anderson, Robert Ekelund, Henry Butler
- Organizers from the GMU Center — Anna Tollison (wife of Robert), Elizabeth Masaitis, Carol Robert
- Organizers from Savarese & Assoc. — Jim Savarese, Leslie Dalton, Kelleigh Varnum
- Organisers from Ogilvy & Mather— Richard Marcus, Marcia Silverman, Patricia Milita
If they could claim to be a disinterested 'non-smoker' or even 'anti-smoking' — and " just a concerned citizen" expressing an expert academic opinion — this was seen as further enhancing their value in promoting the industry's positions and policies.
- Write op-ed articles for their local newspapers (after they had first been sub-edited and legally cleared by the Tobacco Institute). This earned them $2—3,000.
- Appear as 'independent' witnesses at local ordinance hearings, or at State or Federal legislative hearings.
- Make public statements to the broadcast or print media, or write letters to the editor supporting the tobacco industry's position [but concealing their connections]
- Make submissions to academic/scientific conferences. This could earn them $5,000.
- Write letters to their Congressmen; these letters had often been rough-drafted by the tobacco industry.
Some payments were laundered through Savarese & Associates, and some seem to have passed through the Center for the Study of Public Choice. Other means of hiding the sources of payment were probably via tobacco industry lawyers.
Clemson University where Lindsay worked was a hot-bed of tobacco corruption and infiltration, and it provided a number of economists to the network. Robert D (Bob) Tollison, who ran the economists network for the Tobacco Institute had been a professor at Clemson. Many of his close associates — mainly those associated with the extreme Radnian/Austrian "Public Choice" school of economics joined the cash-for-comments network from Clemson.
• William Franklin ('Bill') Shughart II
• Ryan C Amacher
• and Michael T ('Mike') Maloney
• Bruce Yandle.
Clearly they were ideologically aligned with poisoning and polluting industries in terms of opposing all forms of regulation, even if products were harmful in the extreme. However ideology wasn't the key to their involvement: it was simply financial greed.
|The Randian Connections |
|The Public Choice cult in economics offers an insight into the mindset of those who believe in a grossly exaggerated view of Adam Smith ... who was, after all, primarly a moral philosopher.|
These are essential Randian libertarians who follow the cult of Ayn Rand in believing that personal greed, rather than being a burdeni on the society, serves a higher purpose. They gave the world the so-called 'trickle down' theory, the 'J-curve', together with many decade of tax cuts for the wealthy, and eventually, the international financial meltdown. (Greenspan was a Randian)
But the motives behind the composition of the op-ed articles were not those of social duty — however misplaced — or of any service to the university which employed them — or, of a deep concern with government policy directions.
Their activites were entirely driven by cash-payments from the tobacco industry coupled with a guarantee from James Savarese that their payments couldn't be traced back to source. At most they can be credited with having an ideological crutch to support their own self-image.
There is also a P Mather ("Matt") Lindsay PhD who has a a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Applied Economics from Clemson University, and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Georgia. He runs a company called Mather Economics founded in 2002, and you'd have to guess that there might be some family connections. http://www.mathereconomics.com/team-members
This company has Cotton Mather Lindsay and Robert E McCormick (both Clemson University) as partners and some of these partners promote their political links to PERC. This is either the Private Enterprise Research Center of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Texas. The NCPA is a Dallas based right-wing think tank, well funded by the Koch brothers and a few other billionairres.
Or it is the Property and Environmental Research Center (originally Political Economy Research Center) of Bozeman, Montana, which has its own links to cash-for-comment economists Terry Anderson, Richard Stroup and Bruce Yandle.
Some key documents
• Professor Matt Lindsay, Department of Economics, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.
• There appears to be about 150 document in the tobacco archives which refer to Professor Lindsay.
1969–80: Assistant/Associate Professor of Economics at UCLA
1975–76: Fellow at the Hoover Institution
1975: Veterans Administration hospitals : an economic analysis of Government enterprise by Cotton M. Lindsay
1978: The Pharmaceutical Industry (A Wiley Medical Publication) by Cotton M. Lindsay (1978)
1979 Jul: Institute of Contemporary Studies newsletter, "The Letter"
UCLA economist Cotton M. Lindsay will edit a new and revised edition of our book on national health insurance, NEW DIRECTIONS IN PUBLIC HEALTH CARE, first released in 1976.
The new edition will deal with emerging issues, especially as presented in the plans offered by President Carter and by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. It will analyze the new proposals and will incorporate new research and information on the Canadian and British health care systems and on alternatives, such as the plan devised by Stanford Business School economist Alain Enthoven. The book is scheduled for release early in 1980....
1980–84: Professor at Emory University
1980: New directions in public health care : a prescription for the 1980s by Cotton M. Lindsay, for the Institute for Contemporary Studies, editor Alain Enthoven. - San Francisco, Calif.
1980 June: Equal Pay for Comparable Work: An Economic Analysis of a New Antidiscrimination Doctrine, (Coral Gables, FL: Law and Economics Center) 1980,
1980: National Health Issues the British Experience by Cotton M Lindsay
1984: Cotton M. Lindsay and George Gilder have both written chapters in Phyllis
Schlafly, (Ed) book "Equal Pay for Unequal Work".
1984: Mather joins Clemson University as a Professor or Managerial Economics
1984 Apr 26-27: Proceedings of a Conference on "Consumer Protection Economics" sponsored by the FTC's Bureau of Economics.
[Note Ryan Amacher of Clemson had just left the FTC]
This document contains a study by Richard S Higgins (then FTC) and Fred S McChensey (then Emory University) "An Economic Analysis of the FTC's Ad Substatiation Program" which is an attack on the new principle that advertisers had to be able to prove that their claims were true — as against the FTC being required to prove that they were false. Cigarette filters and health claims were one of the FTC's main focusses at this time.
The article carries the footnote
* The views expressed here are the authors'. They doubtless do not reflect the views of some Commissioners, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission itself.
[The two authors, Ryan Amacher and the six [bold] commentators were all tobacco network academics.]
We received helpful comments on earlier drafts from Ronald Bond, Gerard Butters, David Haddock, Cotton Lindsay, Robert Mackay, Michael Maloney, the late Steven Marston, Robert McCormick, William Shughart, Robert Tollison and Bruce Yandle
1984 Sep: The C/V of Cotton Mather Lindsay has been sent to the Tobacco Institute. This generally dates the approximate time these academics formally joined the tobacco network.
1985–86: The Center for Policy Studies at Clemson University appeared to be publishing dozens of studies by the early cash-for-comments economists, Richard McKenzie, Bill Shughart, Robert Tollison, Samson Kimenyi, Bruce Yandle, Matt Lindsay, Mike Maloney, Fred McChesney, Robert Staaf, David Laband — and others not apparently in the network.
1985 Feb: Ogilvy & Mather PR are billing the Tobacco Instittue for their work in the month of January:
- Professional PR fees — $22,757
- Booklet — — — $2,364
- Tax Isues
- Professional Video Services — $56.58
- Cotton M Lindsay PhD
for economic counsuling services of statement on
Tobacco Excise Taxes — $200
1985 March 29: The Monthly Report of Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) to the Tobacco Institute shows that Ryan Amacher of Clemson University was a multi-talented individual who's by-line also decorated a "Legion article." The report says:
O&M provided revised version of the article for client approval. Ryan C Amacher, PhD, from Clemson University will sign the piece. They also says further down the page:
- " Op-ed Articles:
O&M provided an update on this project.We are collecting original copies of the published articles to print in a collection.
- Economic news service:
O&M provided draft copies of three "tax quotes" columns and three editorials We are writing two additional sets of materials and obtaining economists' photographs for final production.
- Preparting for excise hearings in Congress:
O&M will begin preparing C Mather Lindsay for testimony and will identify spokespersons at AFL-CIO and CTJ.
[ Cotton Mather Lindsay was clearly already a member of the economists network at this time.
CTJ = Citizens for Tax Justice, a think-tank that the tobacco industry partly financed]
1985 May 29: William Kloepfer (PR) to Sam Chilcote (Pres.) at the Tobacco Institute: They have lined witnesses for the
- Rangel Hearing (June 6) on tax burdens for low income wage earners
- David Wilhelm of Citizens for Tax Justice
- Vince Trevelli, of AFL-CIO
- Hal Hochman economist of City Uni of New York (a network economist)
- Jose Trevino, Exec Director of LULAC (Hispanic lobby)
- Stark Hearing (cigarette excise)
- Cotton Mather Lindsay, a Clemson economics professor, has received extensive briefing and material, including OTA draft. He is now preparing to collaborate with O&M on a statement. We expect it to run about 10 pages and be completed in approximately seven working days from go-ahead signal. We'll ask him to proceed this week. Lindsay is available for dress rehearsal session in Washington.
- Robert Mclntyre, director of federal tax programs, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), will testify from liberal-labor perspective. Again, drafting can begin immediately with a seven-day turnaround. We will try this week to get him started on a draft.
- Others including labor movement, LULAC, Veterans, etc. [See]
- OP-ED ARTICLES
This project has proven to be more successful than expected — and popular with both the media and the authors.
So far, sixteen op-ed pieces of twenty-three submitted have either appeared or have been accepted for publication. That's a.700 batting average! We're looking for almost all of our 42 economists to participate.
In addition to sending the article to the major newspaper in their region, the economists also copy their Member of the House and/or Senate tax writing committee, as appropriate.
Attached is a tabulation of media and Congressional coverage, as well as clippings and copies of Hill response. We are providing these to Federal Relations now for possible Congressional Record inserts.
1985 June 12: The formal "Committee on Taxation and Economic Growth" put together by the tobacco industry to support its propaganda, now has its own letterhead to write to Congressional politicians and aides. It claims to be a
"bi-partisan organization of public policy experts and public finance economists founded in 1984 to examine ways of creating a federal tax system which will provide adequate revenue in an efficient, equitable manner. The letterhead shows that:
and the Executive Board consists of:
- Robert Tollison of George Mason Institute is Chairman,
[Note Delores Martin's name is not on the letterhead, even though she was involved initially, and later with the network.]
- Thomas Borcherding, Claremont Graduate School
- Harold Hochman, Baruch College, CUNY
- Cotton M Lindsay, Clemson university
- Fred McChesney, Emory university,
- Dwight Lee, University of Georgia
- Richard Wagner, Florida State Uni.
1985 June 14: /E Cotton Mather Lindsay has given evidence at the Congressional 'Stark hearing' into Bill HR 236, the Stark bill that would increase federal excise taxes on cigarettes from 8 to 16-cents a pack.
In my opinion, this legislation is ill conceived. My opposition is based upon four points that I wish to make here today. He also secretly has a fifth reason:
- First, the excise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products are among the most unfair of the available federal tax instruments.
- Second, the allocative effects of the bill are harmful to both consumers and producers of tobacco products
- Third, the indexing procedure specified in the bill is incorrectly structured and will not achieve the objectives of this provision.
- Fourth, the proposal to allocate a portion of the tax revenues to the Medicare Trust Fund is based on a faulty premise.
He forgets to mention this fifth reason.
- "The Tobacco Institute is paying me well to make this statement."
[A note on the cover-page says "File — Economist File - CM Lindsay (make one if we don't have already" which suggests that this was early in the Tobacco Institute's formal employment of him (via O&M/James Savarese).
1985 July 15: Maureen Delanty of O&M - June Monthly Report to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Institute
- Coordinated final arrangements for economist's presentation on excise taxes at the Western Economic Association conference in Anaheim. Agency will forward papers and deliver status report on current prospects for publishing these and earlier academic pieces.
- Coordinated Cotton M. Lindsay's drafting of comments on Congressman Stark's legislation to increase and earmark the federal cigarette excise. Agency is making changes client requested and will return to Fred Panzer as soon as possible. Lindsay is available to "practice" for his testimony if and when the client requests it.
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:
Professor Matt Lindsay
Department of Economics, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631, 803-656-3471
Professor Ryan Amacher
College of Textiles and Industry, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29631, 803-656-3471/3177
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." He is listed [along with 50 other economists] as a contact in:
He is available on two weeks notice as a witness for hire. He is listed under two separate headings:
- Cotton Mather Lindsay
J. Wilson Professor of Managerial Economics, Department of Economics, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
[Also the home of Ryan Amacher who also works for the Tobacco Institute.]
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.
- 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: " 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 Apr 3: James Savarese writes to his stable of economists on the subject of "New Research Opportunities." [A sure-fire come-on with academics]
I would like to thank you for all of your cooperation and diligence in handling the projects we have worked on together. I am taking this opportunity to alert you to some new research opportunities that may be available in the upcoming weeks.
He includes an OTA paper on the dangers of smoking and also...
The Tobacco Institute is interested in considering research proposals which would establish a much more realistic examination of the social cost issue as it relates to the smoking issue.
... rebuttals developed by Bob Tollison and Richard Wagner to the OTA report.
The scent of possible research money on top of the op-ed writing must have generated substantial academic enthusiasm. Lindsay is listed as one of the recipients of this letter on the "Brainstorming - Research Ideas" project.
The Institute would like to examine proposals for research that test, in a quantitative way, a number of propositions on the relevant cost considerations that apply to the smoking issue.
If some aspect of this interests you, please provide me with a brief (1-2 page) description of any project you have in mind by April 30. Please include a cost approximation.
1986 Apr 3: This appears to be the approved copy of the letter on "New Research Proposals" that Jim Savarese sent to his long list of network economists. This letter leaves no doubt that these academic economist knew that they were being paid to protect the interests of the tobacco industry.
The economist were also being given outline "rebuttals" developed by Tollison and Wagner to help them in writing their counter-attacks to an an Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) anti-smoking report.
I would like to thank you for all of your cooperation and diligence in handling the projects we have worked on together. I am taking this opportunity to alert you to some new research opportunities that may be available in the upcoming weeks. This went out to the long list of cash-for-comments economist on the network.
As you know, the tobacco industry is exposed continuously to a barrage of attacks on economic issues. Many of these attacks involve a serious perversion of the concept of social cost. The Tobacco Institute is interested in considering research proposals which would establish a much more realistic examination of the social cost issue as it relates to the smoking issue.
I have attached a report prepared by the staff of the Office of Technology Assessment which is representative of the kind of "research" being put forth by anti-tobacco activists. I have also included the rebuttals developed by Bob Tollison and Richard Wagner to the OTA report.
The Institute would like to examine proposals for research that test, in a quantitative way, a number of propositions on the relevant cost considerations that apply to the smoking issue.
Lindsay's name has been ticked in this copy, indicating that he had replied with a proposal.
1986 Apr 23: Lindsay writes back to Savarese on behalf of himself and Mike Maloney. they:
"... have concocted some ideas for work that we are convinced will have a real impact. The first concerns the methodology employed by the OTA in arriving at their $65 billion cost. The procedure is so transparently incorrect that one suspects them of intentionally overstating this estimate, though I'can't imagine why they would want to do such a thing.
[They have their priorities right for such a commission — they have predetermined the results before conducting the research.]
The second concerns tobacco banning in public accommodations such as restaurants. We believe that it is possible to measure the gains and losses that will occur from such legislation, and that it can be shown to be welfare decreasing for society as a whole.
He also asks cryptically "Will we be meeting at the Place D'Armes in November?"
[It's either a luxury hotel in Montreal, Canada, or one in the French Quarter of New Orleans]
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 May 16: Jim Savarese and Bob Tollison have reviewed the "Social Cost' (OTA) research proposals received and they suggest to the Tobacco Institute those that "Merit Consideration for Funding:"
Although these can be improved in some regards to ensure they are most useful to the industry, three proposals seem to have a good deal of merit. They also want some revised and re-submitted:
- "Is Absenteeism Related to Smoking? An Empirical Study" by Robert Ekelund, Richard Ault, and John Jackson. This is a solid, well thought out proposal. I think they could show that smokers are not more absent from work, other things equal.
- "The Relevance of Consumption Benefits from Smoking: An Empirical Assessment" by Dwight R. Lee and Phillip A. Cartwright. This is a good proposal to estimate the benefits of smoking, which, strangely enough, has never been done. This research will be quite useful.
- "Employment Effects of Smoking Bans in Public Accommodations" by CM. Lindsay and M. T. Maloney. This is an interesting proposal about smoking bans and the impact on restaurants.
They propose rejecting the Kurth-Coats proposal; the Lindsay-Maloney proposal; and one from Henry Butler.
- "Improving the Accuracy of the Assessment of Social Cost Associated with Smoking" by Barry W. Poulson.
[There is also a scathing criticism of the Kurth-Coats project and heavy criticism of one from economist Cotton Lindsay. They have gone back to Henry Butler to give him a chance to revise his proposals. Dennis Logue, Barry Poulson and the Cartwright & Lee proposal also aren't up to the standard required.
On the whole, the economist's network scored fairly low by their standards.]
1986 May 19: A contract economics advisor Ed Battison gives his appraisal of the research proposals received from the economists:
Cotton Lindsay, Clemson U,
The background remarks are interesting and of some value in arguing against OTA estimates. Correct estimate of the present value of future cost savings is a valid concept. Realistic discount rates (6% to 10%) are necessary.
To accept this approach, however, is to imply or lend validity to the OTA health care cost estimates associated with smoking. One must decide if these research results are worth the effort and the implication.
[The attempt at a cure might be worse than the disease.]
The OTA study has several other weaknesses not mentioned by Lindsay, such as multiple risk factor roles, control group costs of nominal health care for smokers that corresponds to those of nonsmokers, etc.
This proposal is of interest only if we are willing to accept his statement: "We propose to perform a revised estimate of these costs and attributable deaths in light of..." as not in conflict with the industry's position.
[There is only one way to read this... "If we can trust him to produce a result that we want."]
On the other proposal on the employment effects of smoking bans in public accomodations, Lindsay & Maloney's background reasoning is good. However, in 1., there are other factors also at work that affect the economies of scale and trend of restaurants to diversify in relation to income levels and population density. The method described is vague.
In 2, it is rather ambitious on a macro-scale, which leads the reader to assume a micro-scale is intended. It will be very difficult in a model to quantify the impact of smoking regulations on the demand/supply of restaurant services. This proposal must be made much clearer in its intent and method because other factors are present.
[In other words, this claim to produce a valid study is ridiculous.]
1986 June 5: Susan Stuntz writes that she is interested in the absenteeism proposal by Ekelund, Ault and Jackson, and the food-service industry/smoking ban study by Lindsay-Maloney. She thinks the Cartwright-Lee and Poulson projects are worth reviewing.
Savarese's attached note says about this proposal:
"Employment Effects of Smoking Bans in Public Accommodations" by C M. Lindsay and M. T. Maloney.
This is an interesting proposal about smoking bans and the impact on restaurants.
1986 June 11: Peter Sparber at the Tobacco Institute memoes Fred Panzer, his boss enclosing a number of Congressional statements.[Days after they were given]
Enclosed are statements prepared for various Congressional hearings on the tax issue that specifically comment on earmarking to some degree.
These statements are by:
I've asked Jim Savarese, who provided these papers, to begin working on copy that could serve as the text for multipurpose anti-earmarking publications.
- Henry Butler of Texas A&M,
- William Shughart and Dwight Lee of George Mason submitted to Ways & Means, June 20, 1985;
- Bob Tollison of George Mason for the Chafee subcommittee on September 10, 1985;
- Randy Rucker of North Carolina State on the Rose bill on July 18, 1985; and
- CM Lindsay of Clemson for hearings on the Stark bill which never were held.
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 = 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:
South Carolina [ Region VI ]
Professor Matt Lindsay
Department of Economics , Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29631, 803-656-3471
- brainstorming/research proposal
- restaurant smoking restrictions
1987 Jan 6: and 12 Jim Savarese advises the Tobacco Institute that some economists were no longer working for his network. However Matt Lindsay is still being listed as their main South Carolina economist-for-hire.
In order to keep this project straight with respect to the economists, 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.
[The invoice is missing, and he gives no details of the current project.]
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 attached invoice covers the project of re-contacting the original 42 economists and coming up with the present 34 people.
An internal memo within the Tobacco Institute explains to Regional Directors why they had needed Savarese to check on availability:
The primary purpose of this contact is to determine if a given economist is capable of testifying effectively before a legislative body.
They have been informed that someone from TI will be in contact with them.
We request that an initial contact be made by telephone immediately. Please let me know when this initial contact has been made. Personal meetings should be arranged and completed no later than May 1, 1987.
1987 Jan 6: Savarese is charging the Tobacco Institute $3,200 to update the cash-for-comments economists list (with Matt Lindsay still active)
1987 Jan 26: The South Carolina lawyers, Tompkins, McMaster and Thomar have written to their local Tobacco Institute representative Richard Morgan (in Atlanta Georgia) He has been asked to check on economic witnesses [Apparently associated with some smoking ban]:
I have your memorandum of January 20, 1987, relative to the Economic Witness Program.
[He has also checked on others]
Out of an abundance of caution, I am responding to your memo. You asked about the following economic witness: Professor Matt Lindsay Department of Economics, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29631 Phone: 803/656-3481
I do not know the gentleman.
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 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:
it is difficult to achieve vertical equity [equal burden on everyone] through excise taxes because the amount of the tax paid depends on purchases rather than income.
This simplistic analysis is accompanied by a list of the cash-for-comments economist from the network [to whom it will presumably be sent] together with handwritten notes as to the skills and value of each as witnesses at legislatures or local ordinance hearings.
Breweries and tobacco companies write checks to the government for the excise taxes on beer and cigarettes, but here economists 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. 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. 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.
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.
This may be fine for Mussolini, but it is antithetical to tax principles in a free and open society.
This economist is credited with:
|Is this analysis right?|
|At a superficial level; Yes.
It is not that the analysis is wrong, it is simply that it is inadequate. It looks at only the surface factors — at a complex economy simply in terms of fiscal measurements.
If this were an Economics 101 paper submitted by one of his students, this Professor would have given it a "D" of "E" rating.
You can't describe the benefits of good architecture or good political activities merely by discussing measurements — especially not superficial measurments such as the height, width, weight, or number of floors and rooms. You need to look at the social and cultural consequences of the building — as you do of the political actions.
1987 May 22: Dick Morgan (Atlanta Regional VP for Tobacco Institute) reports about the Economic Witness Program.
Sterling Smith and I interviewed Matt Lindsay, PhD, Clemson University yesterday.
We were both very favorably impressed by his appreciation of the legislative process and persuasive means to affect attitudes.
He has testified in Columbia (marketing divorcement) for Southland Corporation.
The enclosed proposed statement, I believe he said it was developed with Dr Savarese for TI, may be of interest.
We will have continuing excise tax and CIAA proposals in South Carolina. Dr Lindsay will be a valuable asset in our team effort.
The associate formal report says that they evaluated him by Telephone and personal meetings, and recommended that the results were "Very positive. Strong - "Keep Him"
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.
SOUTH CAROLINA, Lindsay, Columbia State, [circ.] 110,000, [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 SOUTH CAROLINA 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)
[Cotton Mather] Lindsay for Greenville News —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 Matt Lindsay Clemson University Clemson, SC
Excise Tax Op Eds: None accepted for publication.
Field Staff Contact: Yes.
Field Staff Evaluation: Very positive.
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: Matt Lindsay handed over his role in the cash-for-comments network
to Ryan Amacher [both Clemson University]. However he appears to have continued to play a minor role.
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.
1988 Mar 31: The Tobacco Institute's list of available economists, with details of their target for a review of Robert Tollison and Richard Wagner's "Smoking and the State" book (secretly funded and published by the tobacco industry). Jim Savarese writes to Jeff Ross who looks after the cash-for-comments network:
I have listed below potential areas where we could place book reviews for the Tollison/Wagner monograph.
Targeted paper: Greenville Times
Economist: Matt Lindsay, Clemson University
(Note: His name on this version has been struck out and replaced by "Ryan C Amacher".
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 Matt Lindsay, Clemson University,
Prof Ryan Amacher, Clemson Univ.
[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.
Professor Matt Lindsay
Department of Economics, Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29631 803-656-3471
Professor Ryan Amacher
College of Textiles and Industry, Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina 29631 803-656-3471/3177
|Other books and publications by Cotton Mather Lindsay|
- Two Essays On Income Distribution And The Open Society by Irving Kristol, Peter T. Bauer, Cotton M. Lindsey
- Policies and prescriptions : current directions in health policy by Cotton M Lindsay, for the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney, Australia (an extreme libertarian/Atlas-linked think tank).
- The Price of health: An economic analysis of the theory and practice of financing health services. by Arthur Seldon, Anthony J. Culyer and Cotton M. Lindsay.
|The Independent Institute, which is itself a component of the Atlas Group of ultra-free-market think tanks with links to the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute [all heavily dependent on commissioned corporate funding] appears to have taken over the role of administrator of the Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments network at the end of the 1990s.
Their research director and journal editor, Robert Higgs, was already a member of the network. Tobacco funding continued to flow to the Independent Institute which appears to have taken on the role of 'warehousing' these academic supporters to insulate them from discovery. The Institute acquired the bulk of the cabal of cash-for-comments economists who were still operating, and some who had been retired:
- Bruce L Benson, Florida State
- Robert Higgs, Independent Institute
- William Shugart, Utah State
- Richard Vedder, Ohio University
Also dozens of other academics and writers who provided independent contract services to the tobacco industry — like Richard Epstein, John Goodman, Peter Huber, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Rubin, Peter Samuel, S Fred Singer. Russell Sobel, etc.
- Burton Abrams, Uni of Delaware
- Gary Anderson, California State at Northridge
- Dominick Armentano, Uni of Hartford
- Peter Boettke, George Mason Uni
- Thomas DiLorenzo, Loyola College, Maryland
- Robert Ekelund, Auburn Uni
- Lowell E Gallaway, Ohio Uni
- Randall Holcombe, Florida State
- Dwight Lee, Southern Methodist Uni
- Cotton 'Matt' Lindsay, Clemson Uni
- Fred McChesney, Northwestern Uni
- Mark Pauly, Uni of Pennsylvania
- Richard Stroup, Montana State
- Mark Thornton, Ludwig von Mises Institute
- Richard Wagner, George Mason Uni
- Bruce Yandle, Clemson Uni