Lloyd R Cohen

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

Lloyd Cohen was a Professor of with the Californian Western School of Law in San Diego for the short time he worked for the tobacco industry. He was briefly a member of the Cash for Comments Economists Network which was run for the Tobacco Institute by Professor Robert D. Tollison and lobbyist James Savarese with the help of Tollison's wife Anna and the staff from the Center for Study of Public Choice which was located on the grounds of George Mason University.

The Cash for Comment Economists Network operated for about ten years (between May 1984 and 1993-4 -- at the Independent Institute) Savarese and Tollison then appeared to have formalised their partnership, with Tollison and his wife becoming part of James Savarese & Associates. In fact, it later became obvious that this was always being run surreptitiously as an arms-length operation of Ogilvy & Mather (later Ogilvy Adams & Rinehard)



The Cash-for-Comments Economists' Network was run by Savarese through a partnership with Professor Robert D Tollison who used the staff and facilities of the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University to prove cut-out and organisation services. They developed and maintained a network of Economics Professors with at least one on tap in virtually every US state. As one Professor transferred or dropped out (there was a regular turn-over) a new one would be recruited in that State. In all, about 130 university professors were involved in the period 1985-1995, and costs ran to $3 million/year at a time when professor's salaries were in the $30-40,000 pa range. An active network member at a State university could almost double his normal salary.

  The main focus of the group was to write commissioned op-ed articles on a subject determined by the Tobacco Institute. The draft article would then pass back through the network to TI staff, who were essentially public relations experts. Here they were 'improved' and refined; then sent to the Institute's outside lawyers for vetting. Modified articles then returned to the professor, who would then send them to a designated State newspaper as if they were his 'independent expert opinion'. The professors received a base amount for writing and bonuses for successfully planting the article on the newspaper. Some, but not all, received a small (eg.$1000) annual retainer.[2]]

  Published papers would also be copied by the professor and sent to his local Federal Representative and Senator (for a further bonus). Sometimes there were special commissions, but generally the work was writing op-eds and LTE's where they were paid just on results (varied from about $700 to $3000 over the years). Network members could also be called upon to provide witness services and promote the cigarette companies' political/economic line at local ordinance or State legislative hearings. An active professor of economics at a State University could almost double his salary with these activities and with some further appearances, for instance, speaking on the importance of cigarettes in economic terms at major economic conferences, etc.
      Cash for Comments Economists Network   &   Robert Tollison   &   James Savarese   &   Network Document Index


Documents & Timeline

1989 Aug 1 James Savarese's report on the status of the Cash for Comment Economists Network for July 1986 list two Lloyd Cohen successes in planting commissioned op-eds on unsuspecting newspapers.

Ad Ban
Continued ad ban op-ed project . As of August 1, 1989 ten op-eds have been published :


1989 Dec 23 He has written an editorial for the tobacco industry lobby.
Op-Eds Opposed to Restrictions on Cigarette Advertising

"In their effort to stamp out the 'evil' of smoking, decent people who favor this legislation are all too willing to trample on constitutional liberties. Freedom of speech and press are not only, or even most importantly, about the expression of political views. Rather, they are about the liberty to carry on everyday life without Big Brother censoring the information you receive even when such censorship is arguably for your own protection."

Lloyd R. Cohen, John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago in The Chicago Tribune, December 23, 1989 [4]