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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.


Alexis de Tocqueville Institution is remarkably secretive for an organization slurping up tax-exempt dollars from the benefits of an IRS 501(c)(3) charity.

For a number of years AdTI has been active in a series of activities apparently intended to benefit Microsoft Corporation, in spreading smears and innuendos about competitors of Microsoft in the public marketplace. This is at odds with its stated purpose of promoting economic competition, to pure and simple public relations work that should be performed by for-profit public relations businesses.

Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
AdTI (Doc Index) Documents

Microsoft Funding Scare Tactics?

Widespread reports across the internet trace back to a single WIRED news story making a claim that Microsoft admitted to providing some funding to Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, but the source cannot be independently verified.

In June 2002 open-source software advocates wondered if an AdTI criticising open source software was actually a veiled Microsoft response to recent reports of rising government and military interest in open-source systems. Wired magazine reported that a Microsoft spokesman confirmed that they funded the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. "We support a diverse array of public policy organizations with which we share a common interest or public policy agenda such as the de Tocqueville Institution," the spokesman wrote in an e-mail." [1]

Pitching to big tobacco

When the then President Bill Clinton unveiled his proposed health care plan in 1994, AdTI was quick to sport an opportunity for hustling some corporate cash. In early February AdTI President Merrick Carey faxed a letter to David P. Nicoli, the Legislative Counsel for tobacco and food company Philip Morris. Carey claimed that while the press had focussed on the proposed funding of the scheme by a big hike in tobacco excise fees, there were also proposals for over $103 billion in other taxes.

AdTI proposed to help rescue Philip Morris from the adverse impact on its products by waging a PR campaign for the company. “We believe it is essential for there to be a quick, massive public education effort undertaken to make the American people aware of this heretofore silent tax increase. AdTI has a proven track record of generating national, regional and local press on issues as different as the proposed VAT, environmental regulation, national defense and international economics. Our press abilities are, quite frankly, second to none,” Carey wrote. [2]

“We would like to undertake a concentrated press and public policy information campaign strategy over the next two months to heighten public awareness of the new Health Tax Increase, which will include 1) background papers, opinion articles and letters in major newspapers and magazines that highlight the health tax increases, 2) outreach to key columnists, TV and radio commentators on the magnitude of the tax increase, 3) briefings to ensure that public officials, policymakers and the press are aware of the tax increases, and 4) original research studies which document the negative economic impact of health care taxes,” Carey wrote.

In return for a total of “$60,000, or $30,000 a month” for the two-month campaign, AdTI pledged that the company would have the “full energies” of Cesar Conda, Bruce Bartlett, Carey and its consultants. “We plan to activate our key Advisory Board members, including Jack Kemp, Robert Kasten, Dick Armey, Michael Boskin and others to mount a public awareness campaign immediately,” Carey wrote.

Documents released as a result of a court judgement against big tobacco also reveal Alexis de Tocqueville Institution performed paid services for Tobacco Institute in preparing a disinformation document, which was extensively used in legislative lobbying by big tobacco.[3]

 Donations to AdTI  1994  1995  1996  1997  1998
 Philip Morris  ?   $75,000 [4]   $75,000 [5]   $50,000 [6]   ?
 Tobacco Institute   $0 [7]    $20,000 [8]   $20,000 [9]   $20,000 [10]   $0 [11] 

In 1994 S. Fred Singer was Chief Reviewer of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution's attack on EPA regulation on environmental tobacco smoke funded by the Tobacco Institute. [12]

"The report's principal reviewer, Dr Fred Singer, was involved with the International Center for a Scientific Ecology, a group that was considered important in Philip Morris' plans to create a group in Europe similar to The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), as discussed by Ong and Glantz. He was also on a tobacco industry list of people who could write op-ed pieces on "junk science," defending the industry's views."[13]

On the available evidence, a reasonable person can draw the conclusion that Alexis de Tocqueville Institution frequently operates on the exclusive behalf of commercial clients, to create the illusion that "disinterested third-party research" has confirmed the commercial organization's public relations necessity of the moment. In fact, it is self-evident that reports are tailored to the requirements of the funding source, not disinterested, not objective, nor fair and balanced, and are crafted to deceive.

Northrop and AdTI

The Center for Security Policies wrote about a letter to President Clinton dated January 5, 1995:

"Under the auspices of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution's Committee for the Common Defense, Melvin Laird, James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Harold Brown, Caspar Weinberger, Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney wrote a joint appeal (see attachment) to President Clinton urging that the opportunity to secure full value from a $20+ billion investment in the B-2 program not be squandered by a premature termination of production of this aircraft." [14]

Donald H. Rumsfeld who served as Secretary of Defense from 1974 until 1977 under President Gerald R. Ford, and Frank Charles Carlucci III who served Secretary of Defense from 1987 until 1989 under President Ronald Reagan, were not only two of the seven people that signed but they were also a member of that 'Committee for the Common Defense' as can be seen on the fax Adivsory Boards of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. That list was sent almost 1 year earlier by Merrick Carey (president of ADTI) to David Nicoli (Legislative Counsel of Philip Morris) as an attechment to his letter asking $60,000 for a two month pro-tobacco campaign (see above).

Mr. Rumsfeld was in May 2001 according to Multinational Monitor a member of the National Security Program of AdTI [15]

During the 'House Military Procurement Subcommittee' hearing about the B-2 bomber on March 12, 1997, Loren Thompson said as Senior Fellow of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution:

"We all know what makes the B-2 a unique aircraft. It combines the traditional virtues of heavy bombers -- intercontinental range and big bombloads -- with stealth technology and precision targeting capability. A B-2 can fly anywhere in the world within a few hours, safely penetrate modern air defenses, and precisely destroy up to sixteen separate targets with minimum collateral damage. No other aircraft in the world can reliably accomplish such a mission."

"That brings me to the message of my testimony today, which is simply this: the alternatives actually cost more, and yet probably won't work."[16]

There are strong indications Northrop Grumman did pay Alexis de Tocqueville Institution for the work Loren Thompson and others at AdTI did.

"... Loren Thompson, a B-2 promoter at the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a defense think tank that has received Northrop funding." Unproven in War, B-2 May Miss Iraq By John Mintz, Washington Post, February 18, 1998

"Northrop's lobbying for the B-2 has covered all of the bases, from hiring up former Pentagon officials to press Congress, to orchestrating fake "grassroots" uprisings. The company's top in-house lobbyist on the B-2 is Robert Helm, a former Pentagon Comptroller. ... The foremost public proponent of the B-2 is Loren Thompson of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution in Arlington, an outfit that receives funding from Northrop." Washington on $10 million a Day, by Ken Silverstein, Common Courage Press, 1998

The name 'Robert Helm' also appeared as director of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution on AdTI's 990 form for 1996. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) under the above mentioned Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci.

That same 'Committee for the Common Defense' was in 2002 responsible for a pro-Microsoft report stating: Open Source Software May Offer Target for Terrorists.

Individuals, Salaries (from 990s), Activities

Prior to 2001, the organization allowed its 990 forms, required by law to be available to the public, to contain directors names and addresses and compensation amounts. The five highest salaries of employees was included, and payments to the highest outside consultants was included.

The 990 forms are publically available on website database for 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. Since Mid-September 2004 AdTI also has 990 forms on their site for 2001, 2002 and 2003. [17]

Jeffrey Bell DirectorDirectorDirectorDirector   
John Berthoud Staff: $67,841      
Christian Braunlich  Treasurer: $92,400    
Kenneth Brown   Staff: $105,000Consulting: $60,000President: $38,280President: $89,667President: $50,005
Dan Buck    SecretaryDirectorDirectorDirector
Frank Cannon SecretarySecretarySecretary    
Merrick Carey President: $95,400Former President:
Dr. Anne Carson DalyDirector      
James Courter  Consulting: $55,000     
John Fonte  Consulting: $73,099     
Gregory Fossedal ChairmanChairman/Director: $42,000
Consulting: $153,000
Consulting: $102,000
Chairman: $60,000
Consulting: $60,000
Chairman: $60,000Director: $70,000Chairman: $43,000
Mike Gravel     DirectorDirector/Hon.
Robert Helm Director      
Robert W. Kasten  Director
Consulting: $100,500
Consulting: $138,000
Consulting: $100,000   
Bronwyn Lance   Staff: $52,000    
Sita Mazumder     DirectorDirectorDirector
Dan McGroarty  Consulting: $94,000     
Philip Peters Staff: $114,083     
Robert Severns Director      
John Shanahan V. President: $9,524      
Ruth Smith     Director  
Clifford Sobel Director      
Loren Thompson Senior Fellow: $75,000Staff: $94,442     
Irving Horowitz      DirectorDirector

Other people involved in these AdTI projects:

AdTI Projects

External links