David C Wilhelm

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

David Wilhelm was a Democratic lobbyist during the Clinton administration when he became the youngest-ever Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He later ran a number of think-tanks, and a Chicago lobbyshop known as The Strategy Group. His partners in these operations were Democratic political lobbyists with WhiteHouse connections Michael Lux, and an unknown K. Together with Wilhelm they had a Chicago-based money laundering operation which was registered as WLK Associates.

One of the major clients for both The Strategy Group and WLK Associates, was the Tobacco Institute. Susan Stuntz the TI's Issues Manager sent Wilhelm to Springield to make connections with the key members of the AFL-CIO and Chicago Federation of Labor. Lux and two female staff were sent on other information gathering trips.

Wilhelm was also considered part of the Savarese/Tollison Cash for Comments Economists Network and he accepted commissions to write op-eds for newspapers on themes developed by the Tobacco institute, and was paid generously for these services. James Savarese also ran the Labor Management Committee for the Tobacco institute.

David Wilhelm and Mike Lux worked with a relatively small coterie of Democrat associates:
Michael Lux - Robert S McIntyre
David Senter (AAM)
The Strategy Group - Progressive Strategies
AFL-CIO - WLK Associates
Tobacco operations:
Citizens for Tax Justice
Labor Management Committee
Cash for Comments Economists Network
James Savarese - Susan Stuntz
Documents/think-tanks, etc.
Wilhelm/Lux (Doc Index)

Think-tank express

Wilhelm and Lux are compulsive think-tank breeders and manipulators. They are either founders or funders and operators of these Democratic think-tanks which serve to hide the funding and control.

Associated Think-tanks/etc


Documents & Timeline

1956 Oct 2 David Wilhelm born in Champaign, Illinois

1963-77 raised in Athens Ohio.

1976 Short-term staffer on Ohio's Jimmy Carter for President campaign

1977 Aug Graduated with a B.A. in Government from Ohio University,

1978-80 Wilhelm gets his Master of Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Then interned with Senator Howard Metzenbaum.

He also claims to have received honorary doctorates from Ohio University, the University of Charleston, and Wheeling Jesuit University, and taught or served as a fellow at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Ohio University, DePaul University, and the University of Akron.

1986 May The Tobacco Institute is celebrating their success in having Professors of Economics (the surreptitious members of their Cash for Comments Economists Network) and a few others, plant many articles attacking the Packwood excise tax plan on local newspapers (as op-eds) in many states. They have circulated this long memo with headlines and placement details in various State newspapers, together with quotes from the various articles:

David Wilhelm, in the Mesa (AZ) Tribune, and the Altoona (PA) Mirror.
"Loophole lobby breathes easy..." and "Packwood tax reform..."
"...Packwood hopes to raise $75 billion over the next five years by boosting these federal sales taxes. And what would this money be used for? Reducing the deficit, you say? No such luck. ...Instead, the money raised from higher taxes on consumers would be used to finance the retention of some of the biggest corporate loopholes on the books today." David Wilhelm, in the Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin, and the Levittown-Bristol PA Courier-Times. (April 6,1986)
'"Packwood favors loophole lobby" and "Loophole lobby finds friends in the Senate"

1987 Sep 15 The Tobacco Institute has recruited Robert S McIntye from Citizens for Tax Justice. He is attending their "College of Tobacco Knowledge" so he can speak with some authority about cigarettes. The agenda for the Tobacco Institute's "College of Tobacco Knowledge" lists him as Exec Dir, Citizens for Tax Justice. The actual role of the College is to train industry disinformation staff in how to counter attacks made on the industry. [3]

1988 Apr 28 Sam Chilcote of the Tobacco Institute praises the work of David Wilhelm and Robert S McIntyre's Citizens for Tax Justice and the Labor Management Committee (LMC). He encloses news clippings of stories they have generated. http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/lfhb0032

1988 Aug 9Mike Lux is faxing David Wilhelm (via the Tobacco Institute) on details of "The Upcoming Iowa Cigarette Tax Fight" He wants to enlist the "Iowa Citizen Action Network" and form a coalition of unions around this core (It has a full-time staff of 40 - so it must have been funded from other sources also). David Wilhelm scrawls an enthusiastic note on the return fax saying he knows these guys and also the TI's local lobbyist Bill Winners. They are linked to the Citizens for Tax Justice. [4]

1988 ?? Wilhelm resigned as Executive Director at Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), a labor-based anti-excise-tax operation run by six labor unions with membership associated with the tobacco industry, and funded mainly by the Tobacco Institute. It was handed over to their associate Robert McIntyre.

During the 1988 election cycle both Wilhelm and Lux worked in Democratic politics. Lux was a senior staffer on the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden.

1988 Mike Lux and David Wilhelm established The Strategy Group, a PR and lobby firm, which serviced the tobacco industry. it's main client was as the public relations organisation for the Tobacco Institute's Labor Management Committee. They also set up for tobacco interests another 'grassroots' anti-excise tax operation, the Consumer Tax Alliance. They also ran two think-tanks, Leadership 2000 and Leadership for the New Century which occasionally acted as fronts for the tobacco industry. [5] [6]

1988-90 Mike Lux and David Wilhelm, were sending their lobbying earnings through WLK Associates. Wilhelm became a member of the tobacco industry's Labor Management Committee, which acted as a channel to fund tobacco money to a number of liberal/Democrat organizations willing to front excise tax operations for the industry. [7] [8] [9]

1989 Jan 20 President Reagan was now replaced by President HW Bush. VP Dan Quayle is promoting a Competitiveness Council report which recommends excise tax increases as a way to reduce the deficit. This became the vehicle for the Bush administration's regulatory review activity - originally the role of the OIRA in the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) The Labor Management Committee was formed to fight this problem which the unions also saw as regressive in the extreme.

1989 Jan 4 James Savarese and his assistant Leslie Dawson are on a $10,000/month retainer (plus expenses) They are paying the expenses of the members of the Labor Management Committee which Savarese runs with union and labor consultants (paid directly). The core group are:

Also on the LMC are lawyers and dozens of others not on Savarese's expenses list. See full list from this time [11]

Another note says that the:

1989 June 28 Lux and Wilhelm are offering to attend a special session of the Missouri Legislature and contact the labor 'allies' in the state. They are operating under the control of Jim Savarese then with his own company. They are planning to fight an earmarked state cigarette tax, and they believe that the two most important AFL-CIO leaders will not oppose the taxes strongly. Savarese wrote:

One potential new ally is a statewide consumer organization call the Missouri Citizen/Labor Coalition. Traditionally, they have worked on energy and health care issues, but are beginning to work on tax issues. Their director, Tom Bixby, is an old friend of mine and is open to the idea of working with us. Clearly, though, we would need to move very quickly to get their help in time for the special session. If the Tobacco Labor Management Committee and/or CTJ (Citizens for Tax Justice - controlled by the tobacco unions) decide to make any proposals for the special session, the focus would probably be on eliminating the state deduction for federal income taxes paid. [13]

1989 July 1 Susan stuntz the TI's Issues Manager has sent Wilhelm to Springield to make connections with the key members of the AFL-CIO and Chicago Federation of Labor. Mike Lux and two female staff were sent on other information gathering trips. Wilhelm was charging $140 an hour at a time when that was more than a daily wage, and Lux charged $100/hr. (plus expenses) Their female staffers were changing $80-120 an hour. Total billing for June was $16,533.05. [14]

1989 Nov 7 Wilhelm and Lux are now also working with David Senter at the American Agriculture Movement (on behalf of the Tobacco Institute) [15]

1990 They have now started a new Consumer Tax Alliance (CTA) supposedly "a coalition of about a dozen labor and public interest groups" which has so much money they sponsored "a series of four television advertisements to educate the public about those taxs and who pays them" (broadcast in 47 media markets in 15 states.) The labor unions supporting the CTA are suspiciously like those which support the CTJ and the Labor Management Committee, and David Wilhelm is Executive Director. [16]

1992 Wilhelm was the Campaign Manager for the 1992 U.S. Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. Lux was National Constituency Director on this Clinton campaign. Lux also served on the Clinton/Gore transition team.

1993 Jan- Nov 1994David Wilhelm was named Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. His partner Michael Lux served in the Clinton White House from January 1993 to mid-1995 as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. [17] He was responsible for "outreach to constituencies around the major 1993-94 health care reform battle."

1993-95 Lux at WhiteHouse in charge of the 1993-94 health care reform battle

1994 Clinton's Mid-term elections

1998 /E According to his Wikipedia puff, Wilhelm "worked in the venture capital space." He partnered with Chicago lawyer Kevin Conlon to strt [[Wilhelm & Conlon Public Strategies] (now Conlon Public Strategies)

1999 When Lux and Wilhelm split up, Lux went on to become "co-founder and president of Progessive Strategies LLC"

1999Wilhelm founded Woodland Venture Management + two venture capital funds - then Hopewell Ventures.

2008 Feb Wilhelm and Lux are both working for Barack Obama to defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

2008 Aug Grant from Atlantic Philanthropies allows Campaign for Community Change to hire Lux as a senior fellow.

2008 Nov - 2009 Lux on Obama/Biden transition team.

2008 /E Wilhelm is a founder of the Ohio Appalachian Business Council. He served as Head of the Steering Committee for the City of Columbus' bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and is a lifetime superdelegate to the Democratic National Committee.

2010 Served as co-chair of a successful statewide campaign in support of the Ohio Third Frontier. He is co-chair of the advisory council for the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.

2010/E He now resides in Columbus, Ohio and is "a global renewable energy developer, currently working for Hecate Energy. Co-founder of the Center for Public and Social Innovation.