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WARNING: 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.


Smoking-Gun docs.


Independent Institute
David J Theroux
Mary LG Theroux
Independence Institute
Cash-for-comment economists' network
General TI networks
James E Long
George Berman
James Savarese
Ctr.Study Pub.Choice
James Buchanan
Robert Tollison
Anna Tollison
Richard Wagner
James C Miller III
Carol M Robert
Elizabeth A Masaitis
Committee on Tax & Economic Growth
Harold Hochman
Fred McChesney
Thomas Borcherding
Delores T Martin
Dennis Dyer George Minshew
William Prendergast
Bill Orzechowski

Dominick Armentano Burton A Abrams
Lee Alston
Ryan C Amacher
Gary Anderson
Lee Anderson
William Anderson
Terry Anderson
Scott E Atkinson
Roger Arnold
Richard W Ault
Michael Babcock
Joe A Bell
Bruce L Benson
Jean J Boddewyn
Peter Boettke
Thomas Borcherding
William J Boyes
Charles Breeden
Lawrence Brunner
Henry N Butler
Bill Bryan
Cecil Bohanon
John H Bowman
Dennis L Chinn
Morris Coates
Roger Congleton
Jeffrey R Clark
Michael Crew
Allan Dalton
John David
Michael Davis
Arthur T Denzau
Clifford Dobitz
John Dobra
Randall Eberts
Robert B Ekelund
Roger L Faith
David Fand
Susan Feigenbaum
Clifford Fry
Lowell Gallaway
Celeste Gaspari
David ER Gay
Kenneth V Greene
Kevin B Grier
Brian Goff
Sherman Hanna
Anne Harper-Fender
Kathy Hayes
Dennis Hein
James Heins
Robert Higgs
Richard Higgins
F Steb Hipple
Harold M Hochman
George E Hoffer
John Howe
Randall G Holcombe
William Hunter
Stephen Huxley
John D Jackson
Joseph M Jadlow
Cecil Johnson
Samson Kimenyi
David Klingaman
Michael Kurth
David Laband
Suuner Lacroix
Dwight R Lee
Dennis Logue
James E {Auburn} Long
C. Matt Lindsay
Donald P Lyden
Craig MacPhee
Mike Maloney
Delores Martin
Chuck Mason
Charles Maurice
Fred McChesney
James E McClure
William McEachern
Richard McKenzie
Robert McMahon
Arthur Mead
Paul L Menchik
John F Militello
William C Mitchell
Greg Neihaus
James A Papke
Allen Parkman
Mark Pauly
William Peterson
Harlan Platt
Michael D Pratt
Thomas Pogue
Barry W Poulson
Edward Price
Robert Pulsinelli
Raymond Raab
Roger Riefler
Terry Ridgeway
Mario Rizzo
Morgan Reynolds
Simon Rottenberg
Randy Rucker
Richard Saba
Todd Sandler
David Saurman
Mark Schmitz
Robert Sexton
Gordon O Shuford
William Shughart
Robert J Staaf
Thomas Stimson
Wendell Sweetser
Mark Thornton
Mark Toma
David G Tuerck
Richard Vedder
Bruce Vermeullen
Richard Wagner
J Keith Watson
Burton Weisbrod
Walter E Williams
Thomas L Wyrick
Bruce Yandle
Boon Yoon
Richard O Zerbe




Robert Higgs     [ PhD]    

— A Research Director at the Independent Institute who also filled in for the cash-for-comments network of academic economists. Both Higgs and his think-tank were in the pay of the tobacco industry and Higgs led the tobacco industry's attack on the FDA. —  

Amongthose in the cash-for-comments economist network, Robert Higgs is an exception to the rule. He was not an academic economist. The others were all Professors of State Universities — exploiting their academic standing in the community.

Higgs was the Research Director of the Independence Institute (effectively a full-time scientific lobbyist in a Californian think-tank funded mainly by the Coors brewing company) and he was only recruited as a member of the economists network to fill a gap in their State coverage.

As such, he was paid to write letters, op-ed articles, and to appear at witnesses at Congressional inquiries, local ordinance hearings and the like, spouting tobacco industry propaganda, while declaring himself to be a lillywhite ethical economist, who's only concern was the public well-being. Higgs was well known to the lobbyists and disinformation executives of the tobacco industry before he was recruited into their formal network.

The network was set up in November 1982 by James Savarese (working through his own company and Ogilvy & Mather PR) with later expansion nationwide through Professor Robert Tollison of George Mason University.

Tollison and Savarese acted as contractors and cut-outs, using the Center for the Study of Public Choice at GMU, which supplied the adminstration staff. They recruited ultra-libertarian economics professors at the major state universities through the Public Choice Society and various regional economics societies.

These people were generally ultra-libertarians, and that many of them were Tea-Party disciples of Ayn Rand, Frederick Hayek and/or Ludwig von Mises. Nor was it necessarily made worse by the fact that the industry they helped prosper made a product that caused the premature death of about four million people globally each year.

With the network operations, they were not paid retainers or salaries, but were erratically commissioned to perform specified functions (usually for $1000 to $3000 per project) when the tobacco industry came under attack. Some earned much more — often in the $20-40,000 range — for producing 'independent research' which was customised to produce the desired results.

Payments were never made directly from the tobacco industry to the economists. Commissions were all carefully laundered through Savarese's company or Tollison's GMU operations — and so the economist (wrongly) assumed this would provide deniability if ever challenged over selling out their academic credibility to the merchants of death.

Higgs was different since he also operated through the Independent Institute, the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute — all three think-tanks generously funded by the tobacco industry, and also by Joseph Coors and other billionairre family foundations dedicated to destroying the regulatory powers of the US government.

While the academic network economists were just in it for the money (although generally politically aligned), Higgs is more difficult to fathom. Clearly he was ideologically driven in his choice of profession, and he lacked the normal moral values of those in a caring society. However the money he made from the tobacco industry may also have been a significant factor in his motivations.

Probably no commentator has done more to damage the reputation of the Food and Drug Administration — and certainly, no one had been proved to be more wrong in his attacks on any US government agency.


The Independent Institute is based in Oakland, California and was heavily supported financially by Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute. Robert Higgs, their Research Director, worked as a paid contributor to the cash-for-comments economists network.

Don't confuse this with the Independence Institute was based in Colorado, and financed by Joseph Coors (who sat on the board) and by other large corporations.

Both organisations had tobacco industry involvement. Philip Morris funded the Independence Institute only to the tune of $10,000 pa, while The Independent Institute received $25,000 pa plus commissions for work done.

Some key documents

• Research Director at the Independent Institute. Editor of The Independent Review. In the mid 1990s he claims to have been at the University of Seattle.

He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.
In 1977, while at the Independent Institute, he was also a fellow of the Cato Institute and working for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
    See puff piece http://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=489

    He coauthored some historical material with Lee J Alston

• WikiPedia puff piece

The Independent Institute
Closely associated with the Independent Institute were other tobacco industry friends and lobbyists. The most obvious of these are:
  • David and Mary Theroux, founders President and Vice President
  • Thomas Borcherding, Claremont Graduate School (network economist)
  • James Buchanan, George Mason Uni (worked with Tollison for tobacco)
  • George Tullock, GMU/Uni of Arizona (Buchanan associate)
  • Allan C Carlson (Rockford Inst, Philadelphia Society)
  • Robert Crandall, Brookings Institute (also SEPP/Singer)
  • Richard Epstein, Uni of Chicago (PM consultant and AEI)
  • George Gilder, Discovery Institute, American Spectator, Scaife lackey.
  • Richard Stoup, Montana State Uni (network economist)
  • Robert Tollison, George Mason Uni (network economist)
  • Richard Wagner, GMU, Florida and Georgia (network economist)
  • Walter E Williams, GMU, Oregon (network economist)

1989: Robert Higgs, then with Lafayette College, is a discussant with Gary Anderson, at a meeting of the Public Choice Society. Morris Coats, another network economist, is a Speaker.

1989 March 17: He is at Lafayette College and with the Public Choice Society.

1994 March 16: A group of academic economists including almost all the members of the Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments network sent an "An Open Letter to President Clinton on Healthcare Reform." This had been organised by David J Theroux, the founder and operator of the Independent Institute apparently with the assistance of an academic network member, Simon Rottenberg. [The institute was well-funded by the tobacco industry]. They say:

In The Open Letter to President Clinton, 565 economists and 76 other scholars from all 50 states and the District of Columbia state their firm opposition to any form of direct and indirect price controls in any healthcare program.

    Rationing Health Care: The New Threat of Price Controls, by Simon Rottenberg and David J. Theroux

    They use the old straw-man scare techniques of the sky-falling.
In countries that have imposed these types of regulations, patients face delays of months and years for surgery, government bureaucrats decide treatment options instead of doctors or patients, and innovations in medical techniques and pharmaceuticals are dramatically reduced.
Which, as anyone who has lived in England, Canada, Australia, etc. knows, is pure rubbish.

    Along with Higgs and his associates, also on this list of signatories were a number of think-tank lobbyists [including most of the Hoover Institute] and others who worked for the tobacco industry, and the Research Director of the Independent Institute, Robert Higgs, who was also a fill-in network economist.

1994 Sep: This is the claimed date he joined the Independent Institute as a Senior Fellow in Political Economy.

1994 Oct: He is involved in an attack on the FDA, via Reason Magazine

1994 Oct 14: The Tobacco Institute has received a proposal from William Shughard III (at Uni of Mississippi — but writing here on the Independent (sic) Institute letterhead). He has proposed a book and media project on "Sin Taxes" as a public relations project. [The Independent Institute is in Oakland California]

However in the book, "'Sin' Taxes", the Independent Institute is assembling the in-depth critique necessary to expose the impact of sin taxes and to crcate a major debate in academic, business, media, and policy-making circles. The book will be aggressively promoted in the major media and used to form the basis for numerous media projects in the electronic and print media, with the authors serving as spokespersons for ending such policies.

    This project will be systematic in its approach and will result in the singular book on the subject. In addition, a conference could be held separately to present the results before an audience of inedia figures, academics, business leaders, and policy-makers.

    The resulting book will be published through a major publishing house and widely promoted and distributed for review and sale. In addition, a media promotional campaign will be pursued based on the project's very timely and aews-making findings.
He also outlines the way in which the book will be promoted
"Sin Taxes would be completed by a team of authors, who would report to and work in conjunction with the Independent Institute's Research Director, Dr Robert Higgs, who oversees the Institute's overall research program. The research manuscript would be commissioned for completion within a twelve month period, with a research outline submited for approval before formal research would begin.

    Upon receipt of the draft study, the manuscript would be critically reviewed by Dr Higgs, and a select committee of outside scholarly readers drawn either from or recommended by members of the Instintte's Board of Academic Advisors. The manuscript would then be revised based on this review process. Upon completion of the revisions, the volume would enter into publication production through the major publisher.
The various chapters were to be from
William Shughart, Adam Gifford, Dwight Lee, Thomas DiLorenzo, Richard Vedder, Mark Thornton, Bruce Benson, Richard Wagner, Robert Ekelund, Gary Anderson, Gordon Tullock and three others who are not on the cash-for-comments list


1994 Nov 7: Philip Morris has a photo of Robert Higgs at the University of Washington. He appears to be leading some demonstration attacking Kessler (FDA)

    Copies are in both Tom Borelli's files, and in one labeled Competitive Enterprise Institute.http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gqc87d00/pdf

1995: Executive and Board of Directors of Independent Institute

1995 Feb: Clippings of Economists's Network op-ed articles sent to the Tobacco Institute.

  • The FDA's Quest for Power, by Gary M Galles and Robert L Sexton.
  • Ever-expanding federal government stealthily constricting individual freedoms, by William J Boyes
  • Smoking ad ban by FDA appears to be self-serving, by Joe Bell
  • President can't hid political vanity behind a smoke screen, by Robert Higgs
  • FDA Shouldn't take the Role of Parents, by Ed Price
  • Teen-smoking crisis is really overblown, by Lowell Gallaway

About this time Robert Higgs appears to be working (with Tobacco Institute knowledge) for Philip Morris, which was running the main anti-FDA and anti-David Kessler campaigns.

1995 May 22: Robert Higgs was one of the main speakers at an American Enterprise Institute public seminar Reforming the Food and Drug Administration: The Regulation of Medical Devices

Controversy has always surrounded the Food and Drug Administration's oversight of the nation's food and medical industries. The FDA's heightened level of activity in the past four years has brought forth renewed criticism and proposals for reform. This seminar, the second in a series of three sessions on FDA reform sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, focuses on the regulation of medical devices

[This would have been at least part-funded by tobacco.]

1995 Jun 12: Newspaper article by Robert Higgs Don't trust the FDA to reform itself has been filed by Philip Morris under "Corporate Affairs Projects"

1995 July 13: Philip Morris's Victor Hann also has Robert Higgs and Walter Williams (both cash-for-comments economy hacks) listed under "Contacted Media" for some other project. They are anticipating Higgs publication of an op-ed in National Daily.
[This appears to be related to the Philip Morris suing of ABC TV]

1995 July 13: The newsletter of the Independent Institute says:

To evaluate the effects of tax reform on the American public, the Independent Institute assembled 27 leading economists, legal experts, policymakers and journalists for the conference, De-Taxing America? Alternatives to Predatory Politics, July 13th, in Washington, D.C.
[Dwight Lee copied his speech to Philip Morris. (for payment)]

    Excise taxes on "politically incorrect" products [read 'cigarettes'] or activities are used increasingly to fund the "nanny state." In the opening session, chaired by Independent Institute research director Robert Higgs, William Shughart II (U. of Mississippi), editor of the forthcoming Institute book based on the studies presented at the conference DE-TAXING AMERICA: Predatory Politics and the Public Interest, examined the arguments used to rationalize excise and other selective taxes.

    Traditionally, such taxes are claimed to minimize economic distortions, to fund targeted programs, and to reduce "spillover" costs of the targeted behavior, but Shughart concluded that only anti-social political considerations and ill-founded attempts at social engineering can explain their widespread use.

    Uninformed voters, Dwight Lee (U. of Georgia) explained. are more favorably disposed toward tax increases when revenues are "earmarked" for popular programs. Earmarking helps politicians circumvent taxpayer resistance by making more funds from general revenues available for discretionary spending.

Thomas DiLorenzo (Loyola College) [A tobacco tout who worked outside the Savarese/Tollison network] explained how excise taxes funding "politically correct" propaganda threaten free speech, including that of business people who risk regulatory retribution and IRS audits for criticizing unequal taxation.
Also mentioned in the same conference report are William Niskanen (Cato Institute), Bruce Benson (network economist from Florida State); Gary Anderson (network economist from California State, Northbridge), Robert Ekelund (network economist from Auburn Uni).

1995 July 15: The Independent (Newsletter of the Independent Institute) has him speaking at a conference "De-Taxing America: Alternatives to Predatory Politics." The theme set by Houfe Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Congressman Bill Archer, was a call for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service.

Excise taxes on "politically incorrect" products or activities are used increasingly to fund the "nanny state." In the opening session, chaired by Independent Institute research director Robert Higgs, William Shughart II (Uni. of Mississippi), editor of the forthcoming Institute book based on the studies presented at the conference.

    DE-TAXING AMERICA: Predatory Politics and the Public Interest, examined the arguments used to rationalize excise and other selective taxes.

1995 Aug: Robert Higgs, Jean Boddewyn, Dwight Lee and other cash-for-comments economists are involved in two related battles in support of the tobacco industry:

  • An attempt to discredit David Kessler and the FDA to block them controlling aspects of the cigarette industry.
  • Attempts by the advertising industry to maintain tobacco advertising.
There are a mass (204 pages) of press clippings and notes on media contacts from this RJ Reynolds file.

    The industry has struck (or is in the process of striking) coalition deals with these think-tank allies over the FDA problem.
  • The Alexis De Tocqueville Institution
  • The Small Business Survival Committee
  • Frontiers of Freedom
  • The Independent Institute
  • The Business Leadership Council
  • National Center for Policy Analysis
  • Institute for Policy Innovation
  • Capital Research
  • CATO lnstitute
  • Citizens for a Sound Economy
  • Citizens Against Government Waste
  • Heritage Foundation
They have also co-opted sections of the Veterans organizations, unleashed the Freedom to Advertise Coalition and frightened senior citizens, and both organised labor and the agricultural sector.

1995 Aug: Raymond Keating has written a long diatribe against the FDA for the Small Business Survival Foundation "FDA Hazards: How FDA Red Tape Impacts Entrepreneurs and the US Economy." It attacks the FDA on all fronts:

  • Under Commissioner David Kessler's leadership, the FDA has become chief advocate for the 'nanny state'.
  • the FDA is slowing medical proeress, hampering entrepreneurial enterprises, and destroying jobs due to regularoy obstacles and bureaucratic gridlock.
  • In the August/September 1995 issue of Reason maeazine, Rick Henderson reported that "the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health takes more than three times longer to approve a Class III or 'substantial risk' medical device (such life-saving products as heart valves or CAT scanners) than do the agency's counterparts in Europe:'
  • Thomas G. Donlan noted industry trends driven by the FDA's regulatory maze in the July 3. 1995 issue of Barron's: "The failure of US regulation can... be seen in the scrambles that have roiled the industry to put research and manufacturing offshore. to make partnerships with foreign drug firms and to merge and merge and merge again in an attempt to create firms that are large enough to weather all the risks of regulation:'
  • Robert Higgs, in a report for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted the hurdles companies face even when making improvements in already existing products or in their manufacturing processes: "Changes in the product or the manufacturing process. no matter how small, might cause the product to be consigned to an indefinite stay in preapproval purgatory."
  • Higgs also reported that FDA policies and conduct have boosted costs for medical device firms considerably — perhaps adding $10 million to $20 million to a firm's budget, as well as several additional years before a new device gets to the market.
  • 20 more pages like the above.

1995 Aug 7: CATO's Policy Analysis newsletter runs a headline article by Robert Higgs: Wrecking Ball: FDA Regulation Of Medical Devices. It credits Higgs as:

Robert Higgs is research director at the Independent institute in Oakland, California. This study is adapted, with permission of the independent Institute, from a chapter that will appear in the Institute's forthcoming book, American Health Care: Government, Economic Processes, and the Public Interest, edited by Simon Rottenberg.
[Rottenberg was another member of the cash-for-comments network run by the Tobacco Institute.]

    They also put out a press release promoting Higgs 'study'

1995 Sep 4: In an article in Insight magazine "the Kessler Tobaccomania" Higgs is quoted as using these examples of the sluggishness of the FDA in giving approvals.

  • Where is the device that women can use to detect breast cancer ?
  • The infant jet ventilator (Page 3)
    Independent experts with no ties to industry are remarkably clear about with whom they believe the blame for the increased number of infant deaths lies. The FDA caused "anywhere from 10 to several hundred infant deaths" nationwide, according to Joel Nobel, who runs ECRI, an internationally respected independent testing organizanon in Northern California.
  • HIV home testing kit.
    Since 1937 a division of Johnson & Johnson has been trying to win approval from the FDA for an HIV home-testing kit.

        Manufacturers say the technology is proved but the bureaucratic process under Kessler is murderously slow. An additional 29 percent of adult Americans would be tested ax AIDS if home-test kits were available, according to a 1992 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1995 Sep 12: The Atlanta Chronical publishes an op-ed by Robert Higgs, "Power-hungry FDA is hazardous to out health". The Philip Morris lobbyist has noted the paragraph:

"Most likely, however, FDA regulation to keep cigarettes away from kids will be an entering wedge for much more extensive regulation."

    Even those of us who do not smoke should pause to consider the risks of a more powerfull FDA.
[Note how he plays the "I am a non-smoker" card!]

1995 Sep 21: The Competitive Enterprises Institute (CEI) promotes itself to Thomas Borelli (Philip Morris) for a new annual donation on the basis of :

  • The CEI's anti FDA stance, and its use of Robert Higgs.
  • They are also considering hiring Dr Michael Gough [Steve Milloy's partner] to further their attacks on the FDA.
  • Involvement in Global Environmentalism (following Rio Earth Summit)
  • Book "The True State of the Planet"
    • Robert Balling (Arizona State Uni)
    • Dennis Avery (Hoover Institute)
  • Risk Management
  • Regulatory Reform using Steve Milloy (TASSC)
    CEI has been particularly active on this issue in recent months. We provided congressional testimony and worked with congressional staff in Senator Dole's office and elsewhere. CEI published a series of op-eds on regulatory reform, and in July we released a critical comparison of the House and Senate reform bills by Steven J. Milloy, who is becomingly increasingly prominent in this field.
  • Michael Fumento
    We are midway through production of Science Under Siege, a documentary based on Michael Fumento's book of the same title. It is being directed by Kent Washburn, who also produced our television and radio spots on FDA reform. We anticipate that the documentary will be aired in the late fall, on National Empowerment Television, whose facilities we are using for much of the production. After that, we will seek out such other outlets, such as the Discovery Channel, for additional broadcasts of the film.
Again, I ask that Philip Morris renew its support of CEI with a two-year grant at the $200,000 level each year. Please contact me should you have any questions or comments regarding our work. Let me offer my gratitude for your past support, and my hope for your continuing support in the future.

1995 Oct: /E Philip Morris has been sent a list of the Tobacco Institute's network economists who had been commissioned, and had...

... prepared and submitted op-eds [attacking the FDA] for publication to major newspapers in select states — targetting key Congressional districts:

    Economists prepared and submitted op-eds for publication to major newspapers in select states:
  • Dr William Boyes, Arizona State University
  • Dr Barry Poulson, University of Colorado
  • Dr Dominick Armentano, University of Hartford
  • Dr Dwight Lee, University of Georgia, Athens
  • Iowa economist tbd [To Be Determined]
  • Dr Cecil Bohanan, Ball State University
  • Dr Robert Pulsinelli, Western Kentucky University
  • Dr Michael Kurth, McNeese State University (Louisiana)
  • Dr Bill Shughart, II, University of Mississippi
  • Dr Joe Bell, Southwest Missouri State University
  • Dr Terry Ridgway, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Dr Allen Parkman, University of New Mexico
  • Dr Lowell Gallaway, Ohio University
  • Dr Ed Price, Oklahoma State University
  • Dr William Mitchell, University of Oregon
  • Dr J.R. Clark, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Dr Michael Davis, The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Robert Higgs, Independent Institute, Edmonds, Washington
  • Dr Charles Breeden, Marquette University
They had been told to "attack the FDA proposal from an anti-big government, anti-regulatory perspective" with a number of pre-determined themes
  • While FDA claims their focus is on preventing youth smoking, the action is the first step to impose harsher regulations on tobacco;
  • The FDA regs will have repercussions on not only the tobacco industry, but vending, confectionery and candy industries, distributors, advertisers and sponsors for sporting events; and
  • The regs will have a devastating impact on jobs.

[This memo demonstrates just how compliant these academic tobacco lackeys had become — and how much they were willing to follow tobacco industry instructions in writing their op-ed pieces.]

1995 Oct: The Ludwig Von Mises Institute's newsletter, "The Free Market" carries the headline article "Are Cigarettes Doomed" written by Mark Thornton, one of Robert Ekelund's graduate students at Auburn University (and himself a cash-for-comment academic also). He postulates that

Clinton's ten-point program to prevent teenage smoking will fail like all previous attempts at government nannyism.

    Clinton's concern for "our children," or at least the ones his attorney general isn't gassing, and Kessler's worry about our health, are but a smokescreen for totalitarian political ambition. That's what's behind curbs on advertising, bans on vending machines, and phony tobacco "education" campaigns.
The contributing editors of this esteemed journal are:
  • Jeffrey A Tucker (editor)
  • Thomas J. DiLorenzo, life-long tobacco consultant and promoter
  • Jeffrey M. Herbener,
  • Robert Higgs, cash-for-comment network economist, Independent Institute
  • Mark Thornton, cash-for-comment network academic from Auburn University. [Which housed the US Chapter of the Mises Institute]

    In June 1998 the same newsletter with the same contributing editors published an article by DiLorenzo attacking "the Clinton administration seeking to nationalize children" [I kid you not - it was an attack on free day-care.]... and promoting a booklet "California Children and Families First Initiative of 1998," DiLorenzo was then also an 'adjunct scholar' of the Mises Institute. [Which just means they paid him to write the report]

1995 Oct 20: The Washington Post has an article by John Schwartz: FDA Figures Show It's Helping Get Medical Devices to Market Faster

The Food and Drug Administration, accused by its critics of bureaucratic sloth, announced some m mbers yesterday indicating that when it comes to approving new medical devices, the beleaguered agency might actually be doing its job.

    During the recently ended 1995 fiscal year, the agency said, it all but eliminated its backlog of medical devices awaiting review and significantly sped up review times for all but the most rigorous product examinations. [snip]

Robert Higgs, author of a new anti-FDA report, "Hazardous to our Health?" from the California-based Independent Institute, said,
    "Obviously, they've retrieved themselves from the abyss of a year or so ago.... But it's still a fact that the reviews take twice as long or longer than reviews took in the.'80s "
Higgs warned that any changes for the better at the FDA "could all be undone immetliately if FDA Commissioner David A Kessler decides to reassign those people to an attack on tobacco."

    When asked, however, about tobacco industry support for the institute that funded his study, Higgs said, " "I'm not on anybody's take. All the stuff that's in those reports is documented. It wouldn't matter if the dcvil himself paid for [the study], it would still be as true.""

1995 Dec 8: The Savarese Status Report on the FDA Op-ed Program says that Higgs's draft op-ed would be published by the Seattle Post Intelligencer newspaper.

[See article]

1995 Dec 21: Savarese & Associate's Status report to Carol Hyrcaj at the Tobacco Institute on the FDA op-editorial program [Dec 8th].

Enclosed please find the following:
  • Updated status report on the FDA op-editorial program
  • Copy of Robert Higgs' (Washington) published op-editorial
As reflected in the status report, we have replaced Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Houston congressional district with three new states (California, Massachusetts and West Virginia). As you know, we have already received Robert Sexton's (California) article, as well as confirmation that the economist in Massachusetts is able to participate.

At this time, we are asking those economists that have published, to forward a copy of their article to their congressman/congresswoman.
Clearly some of their draft articles were not entirely satisfactory and required rewrites by Savarese's staff. The notes include some additional revealing items such as:
  • Professor Cecil Bohanon — "Revised op-ed returned to economist 11/10"
  • "Professor Pogue has been contacted. We are waiting to hear whether he will be able to particpate."
  • Professor Kurth — "Will have op-ed to us by next week" [for checking]
  • Professor Ridgway — "Will have op-ed to us in a week"
  • Professor Gallaway — "Returned revised op-ed to economist 11/2"
  • Professor Davis — "Returned revised op-ed 11/3"
  • Clifford Fry, Resources Inc, Bryan Texas — "Had to identify new economist. Sent materials 11/14"
  • Prof Charles Breeden, Marquette University, — "Had to identify new economist. Sent materials 11/14"
[These last two were obviously a fill in for a Texas and a Wisconsin economist who had dropped out or the network.]

1996 Jan 5: This Status Report on FDA Op-ed Program is revealing about the master-servant relationship between the tobacco industry and their network economists. It lists 20 attempted newpaper plants of their anti-FDA propaganda and details about the 20 economists who wrote these articles on commission. Higgs is a ring-in obviously to fill a gap left by some academic economist not being available:

Bob Higgs, The Independent Institute, 714 Laurel Street, Edmonds, WA 98020
  Seattle Post Intelligencer - Published December 20,1995
  Contacted Congressman White 12/27/95
Attached in front of this document is a model letter to be used by the professors when sending a copy of their article to a local Congressman. Of course the cover letter to the Congressman makes no mention of the fact that the Tobacco Institute paid $3,000 to have the op-ed written.
See also the earlier version of this report which notes which op-eds have been sent for revision before being submitted to the newspaper.

1996 Jan 17: Tom Borelli, one of the key scientific disinformation exponents of Philip Morris has e-mailed to his associates:

This morning NBC news had a news segment critical of FDA's drug approval process. The segement featured a an interview with Robert Higgs regarding his recently release book on the FDA.

    Higgs works with both the Independence Institute and Competititve Enterprises Institute (CEI). I will get the transcript of the interview for distribution

1996 Jan 26: This Status report for the FDA Op-Ed Program shows that they were still planting articles and contacting Congressmen for the Tobacco Institute.

1996 Feb: /E The Tobacco Institute's Media Relations report on the Economists:

  • An extensive economist op-ed program was implemented to focus media attention on the FDA's agenda. The program attacks the FDA proposal from an anti-big government, anti-regulatory perspective. Targeting key Congressional districts:
  • Economists prepared and submitted op-eds for publication to major
        newspapers in select states :
    • Dr William Boyes, Arizona State University
    • Dr Barry Poulson, University of Colorado
    • Dr Dominick Armentano, University of Hartford
    • Dr Dwight Lee, University of Georgia, Athens
    • Iowa economist tbd [To Be Determined]
    • Dr Cecil Bohanan, Ball State University
    • Dr Robert Pulsinelli, Western Kentucky University
    • Dr Michael Kurth, McNeese State University (Louisiana)
    • Dr Bill Shughart, II, University of Mississippi
    • Dr Joe Bell, Southwest Missouri State University
    • Dr Terry Ridgway, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • Dr Allen Parkman, University of New Mexico
    • Dr Lowell Gallaway, Ohio University
    • Dr Ed Price, Oklahoma State University
    • Dr William Mitchell, University of Oregon
    • Dr J.R. Clark, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    • Dr Michael Davis, The University of Texas at Dallas
    • Robert Higgs, Independent Institute, Edmonds, Washington
    • Dr Charles Breeden, Marquette University
[Along with the core group of Tollison, Wagner, Ekelund, etc. these are mostly the 'stayers'.]

1996 Feb 14: The Competitive Enterprise Institute [funded by Philip Morri] was inviting participation in a lecture by Robert Higgs, How FDA Is Causing A Technological Exodus: A Comparative Analysis of Medical Device Regulation—U.S., Europe, Canada, and Japan.

FDA regulation of the medical device industry is rapidly turning the United States into one of the least favored sites for new medical device firms. It is also depriving American citizens of access to new technologies in medical diagnosis and treatment.

    Dr Higgs will describe the extensive changes of recent years in FDA regulatory policies, and how this has led to a massive shift of industry resources to other countries. He compares the FDA's approach with those of Europe, Canada and Japan, and concludes that consumers in the U.S. have lost significant therapeutic benefits as a result of the very policies that are supposed to protect them.

    CEI has been involved in FDA isssues since 1987, and is currently sponsoring radio and television announcements which pose the question: "If the government approves a drug which will start saving lives tomorrow, then how many people died yesterday waiting for the government to act?" CEI does not propose to abolish FDA, or even to alter its standards of safety and efficacy. Instead, FDA's current veto power over new drugs and devices should be changed to one of certification.

    Rather than being banned outright, drugs and devices which do not meet FDA's standards should be available under professional supervision, with clear warning of their unapproved status.

1996 Mar 8: Kelleigh Varnum, of Savarese & Associations advises Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute that:

We have located an economist to replace John David (WV). His name is Cliff Dobitz (ND). The status report reflects this addition.

    Also attached is Ed Price's (OK) letter to Congressman Largent.
Doblitz was an old network contributor from North Dakota. But presumably he had not then been contracted or contracted to attack the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) which was the then-current project for both op-ed writing and contacting Congressmen.

    The Status Report for this FDA Op-ed Program records Higgs involvement.

1996 Apr 16: Kelleigh Varnum advises the Tobacco Institute on the progress of the FDA Op-ed Program.

To date, 14 of 20 articles have published.
  • David Kurth (LA) informed us that his op-ed published on February 21, in Lagniappe. Apparently, there was a breakdown in communication with the editor and he did not realize that the article had published. Enclosed is a copy of the article. Unfortunately, it is of very poor quality. We will forward the original to you when we receive it.

  • Although the Atlanta Constitution has promised for quite some time to publish Dwight Lee's op-editorial, there still have not been any developments. As a result, we have directed Dwight to pursue other outlets for submission.

  • Cecil Bohanon (IN) is contacting the editor of the Journal Gazette. He will pursue other outlets for submission if they decide not to publish his article.

  • Publication of Barry Poulson's (CO) and Cliff Dobitz's (ND) op-editorials is forthcoming.

  • Both Mike Davis (TX) and Terry Ridgway (NV) are checking with their editors on the status of their articles.
The general list also records this economist other attempts.
  • Seattle Post Intelligencer Published December 20,1995
  • Contacted Congressman White 12/27/95

1996 May 17: Kelleigh Varnum-Roffman of Savarese & Associates is reporting to Walter Woodson at the Tobacco Institute re the FDA Project. She includes:

  • Updated status report on the FDA op-editorial program
  • Original copy of Cliff Dobitz's (ND) published op-editorial
  • Copy of Michael Kurth's (LA) letter to Congressman Hayes
To date, 15 of 20 articles have published. Please find below some brief notes regarding the status of the remaining op-editorials.
  • Publication of Barry Poulson's (CO) op-ed is forthcoming.
  • Although the Atlanta Constitution has promised for quite some time to publish Dwight Lee's op-editorial, there still have not been any developments. As a result, Lee is pursuing other outlets for submission.
  • Cecil Bohanon (IN), Terry Ridgway (NV) and Mike Davis (TX) are checking with the editors of their papers. They will report back to me on the status of their articles. We will pursue other outlets for submission if any of the above are declined.

    The package contains a list of the current cash-for-comment economists working on the project with a note that:
Bob Higgs, Independent Institute
      Seattle Post Intelligencer published Jan 20
[Higgs] contacted Congressman White 12/27/95

1996 June 24: Status Report on FDA Op-Ed Program. It lists the various network economists and the articles they have planted with their newspapers. It also records publication dates and those newspapers which declined to use the propaganda, together with the Congressmen who have been contacted.

    About this network economist [a temporary stop-gap because no academic was available] it says:

Bob Higgs, The Independent Institute, 714 Laurel Street, Edmonds, WA 98020
Submitted to: Seattle Post Intelligencer - Published December 20,1995
Contacted Congressman White 12/27/95

1996 Aug: /E Noel D Campbell of Gordon College (and the Cato Institute) has sent a draft copy of his monograph "Reforming the FDA: Speeding Drug Approval" to Philip Morris. He footnotes and thanks for assistance the following 'experts':

  • Robert M Goldberg, adjunct scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Sam Kazman, General Counsel, Competitive Enterprise Institute,
  • Lydia Verheggen, Citizens for a Sound Economy,
  • Robert Higgs, director of the Independent Institute. Dr Higgs emphasizes the convoluted nature of US drug approval. (thrice)
  • Council on Competitiveness Fact Sheet, "Improving the Nation's Drug Approval Process," Office of the Vice President, [Dan Quayle] 1991,
  • Jeffrey N. South, Washington Times
  • Alexander Volokh, Reason magazine,

1996 Dec: /E Philip Morris's Public Policy donation via Slavitt/Dunham (recommended by Inmann) of

  • $10,000 to the Independent Institute run by David Theroux, with Robert Higgs as its Research Director.
  • $25,000 to the Independence Institute
        This is a Colorado version of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. Joseph Coors sits on the board, and it has financial support from the Castle Rock Foundation, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, the American Enterprise Institute, FREE, and the Pacific Research Institute.

1996 Dec: /E Cato Institute Annual Report: Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute. include Cash-for-Comments /Public Choice economists Terry Anderson, Dominick Armentano, Thomas DiLorenzo, Robert Higgs, Dwight Lee, Richard Stroup, Walter Williams and also Jennifer Roback, the Outreach Coordinator for the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Henry Manne from the GMU Law School

The Savarese network of economists continues behind the scenes until at least early 1999. However, after the Cipollone Case (when thousands of tobacco documents were released to the public) and following the Master Settlement Agreement (1997-98) when millions of documents were put on-line, the evidence of later activities disappears from the tobacco archives.

This doesn't mean that these economists stopped working for the tobacco industry — just that they kept their communications to the telephone — and Savarese didn't send their material on to the Tobacco Institute for vetting and legal checks.

2006: At the University of Prague

2013: Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal The Independent Review.

Independent Institute
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:

Senior Fellows
  • Bruce L Benson, Florida State
  • Robert Higgs, Independent Institute
  • William Shugart, Utah State
  • Richard Vedder, Ohio University
Research Fellows
  • 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
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.


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