Anna Tollison

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


Anna Tollison was the wife and partner of economist Robert ('Bob') Tollison from George Mason University, who ran a recruiting and laundry service for academic economists across the USA to allow them to secretly work for the tobacco industry without being exposed by legal discovery. She worked through the front of James Savarese & Associates; James Savarese was a professional lobbyist who originally worked through Ogilvy & Mather PR in organising the Cash-for-Comments Economists Network. Later Savarese and Tollison took over the operations and ran it themselves using the facilities of the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason Uni. (Tollison was its director).

Anna Tollison was clearly a major figure in the economists network scam. At its peak, this network of cash-for-comment academic economists from many of the major universities across America, numbered well over 50, and since some came and went over the years, the total corrupted by this group must have been over a hundred.

Anna Tollison is credited as more than just a token presence representing her husband by an auditor who looked into the operation for the Tobacco Institute. She was clearly seen by the industry administrators as a substantial figure involved in drafting some of the original material; in directing those creating lists of potential candidates; and in working on the recruitment of leaders of the labor unions, herself.

This whole operation was reminiscent of the "WhiteCoats" program for secretly recuiting scientists in Europe (ARIA), Scandinavia (EGIL), Asia (ARTIST) to pretend they were indepenfent while writing letters and articles on behalf of the tobacco industry.