Monday, 18 May 2020

Secret Tobacco economists network, Part 13 : political hearings and questionable ethics

Overview of previous posts here

Evaluating the witnesses

The industry evaluated the performance of the economists for effectiveness. The Tobacco Institute wanted to know if it would be good to use them again for future hearings, so it sent out questionnaires to its field agents to answer questions like

The same document also talks about other active programs, like Economic Impact studies produced by the Tobacco Institute (studies written to claim taxing the tobacco industry would have a negative impact), the scientific witness program and the helping youth decide program.

The August 1986 Field staff evaluation ofresources describes how the regional tobacco vice-presidents (RVP) thought the economists performed at the testimonies (emphasis added)

A memo from Susan Stuntz describes how the field lobbyists complained that the recruited economists were too conservative, making it difficult reaching liberal legislators. Stuntz dismissed this criticism

Of course, the economist were paid for their testimony

Still, being a good witness did not mean the economists were sure they would be asked for other outputThis probably explains why the Savarese "tax hearing readiness" lists do not match with the activities of all economists in the network: economist not suited for testimony still benefitted the industry, as these economists were still useful when writing op-eds (and vice versa).

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