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.
— A minor figure who appears to have been recruited to the cash-for-comments economists network by Doreles Martin, also of Nebraska University. However there is no sign that he was ever active. —
The 1985 Tobacco Institute document, "Federal Markets", which was sent to the Tobacco Institute's Regional and State Directors, provided a long list of the likely allies the industry had among academic economists in opposing the earmarking of cigarette excises for healthcare and for other purposes. The industry was particularly interested in attacking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which it always feared would attempt to regulate cigarettes as a drug.
The Tobacco Institute's contractors kept a registry of those academics available to write articles or letters on demand, provide witness services at legislative or local ordinance hearings, etc. or give lectures to various influential bodies — or have one-to-one meetings with legislators. They were never required to divulge the industry connections, and they were never required to make any outright statement in support of smoking ... in fact, the complete opposite. Those who could maintain proudly that they were non-smokers were seen to be more sensible, and to have more credibility with the gullible readers who thought that political influence involved brass-bands and flag waving zealots.
Writing economic and political op-ed pieces and letters to the editor were the easiest way for these academics to earn some quick cash without sticking their neck out enough to be noticed. In their articles they attacked the principle of cigarette taxes, not the taxes themselves. They attacked the idea of the FDA extending its mandate, rather than the question of whether nicotine was a drug.
Payments were laundered through a couple of channels linked to the George Mason University's Center for the Study of Public Choice and its director Robert Tollison, and also through a labor/economics lobbyist named James Savarese.
The purpose of the network 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, and the scam ran very successfully for a couple of decades. It was considered influential enough for the Tobacco Institute to continue its funding when other projects suffered budget cuts. As a result, hundreds of op-ed articles appeared in many dozens of influential newspapers across America.
Some key documents
• Roger Riefler of the University of Nebraska also collaborated with Dolores Martin, another economists from the University of Nebraska who was one of the foundation members of the cash-for-comments network.
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.]
Jeff Ross, who is running this program at the Tobacco Institute, sends his bosses (George Minshew and Hurst Marshall) a note headed "41 States" saying "Attached is the final list of economists."
1987 May 22: Michael Brozek the Regional Vice President for Region IV wrote to George Minshew at the Tobacco Institute presenting his Economic Witness Evaluation. He writes:
Please convey to those in charge of the economic witness program; it is one thing to evaluate an economic witness over lunch, by telephone or over cocktails. But, it is quite another thing to evaluate these potential witnesses in the acrimonious, politically charged, circus-like disarray of a committee hearing. In essence, some of these guys (as in the case of Minnesota) fold under any unfriendly inquisition.
He then deals with each of them on a case-by-case basis:
The ivory tower is different from the political trenches.
My recommendation, if we are to continue this economic witness program, a political orientation would be advisable in order to better equip these witnesses for potentially politicized circumstances.
NEBRASKA: Professor Roger Riefler
After careful consideration and after reviewing the political aspects of our testimony, it was decided that we not use Professor liefler during the legislative session.
However, TI counsel Bill Peters is interested in developing an ongoing economic dialogue program with Nebraska legislators throughout the year... not just during crisis periods. Therefore, we will put in place a plan, for your consideration, to this effect.
1986 May: /E A Tobacco Institute list of "Schedule of Payments - Excise Tax Op-Ed project" (April-May 1986) lists those academic economists who have already planted their article on a local newspaper, and the amount they are to be paid (generally $900 to $1100). However a number still have not completed their commission.
Riefler in Nebraska has been given the target of planting his article on the Omaha World-Herald — but he had not yet been marked for payment.
This is the last reference to him in the tobacco archives.