Paul Lansing

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

Paul Lansing was a Associate Professor of Law at the University of Iowa for the relatively 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

1986 June: The Anti-smoking Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) unexpectedly sprung some hearings on the tobacco industry with only a few week's notice. He planned to inquire into 'Smoking in Public Buildings'.

A major effort was then made to stall the hearings (led by Republican Thomas Bliley of Virginia). Jim Savarese at Ogilvy & Mather was also to recruit a network of academic lawyers in the constituency of the members of the Waxman Committee -- and set them to work writing op-ed articles for their local newspaper and making personal representations to their Congressmen, questioning the Constitutional legality, etc.

1986 June 13 Susan Stuntz, Director of Issues Management at the Tobacco Institute has written to Bob Lewis in charge of Federal Relations re: the Waxman Committee hearings, to restrict smoking in federal buildings. Californian Rep. Henry Waxman was also floating the idea of cigarette advertising bans.

Because of clearance problems, Bob Tollison's study and statement were not available for submission to the Waxman committee until Thursday afternoon, 6/12. Given the now "unofficial" nature of the hearing, should Tollison now go ahead and submit the statement? I query, because if Bliley's strategy is to continue to protest the hearing, he may not want us to submit additional information for an "official" record. Tollison is awaiting instructions from me.

[Thomas Bliley (R-VA) -- known as "Mr Tobacco" among Congressmen -- was demanding both new hearings, and the classification of Waxman's earlier June hearings as "unofficial". A new "official hearing" date had been set for June 27. [3]

1986 Aug James Savarese is now creating a cash-for-comments network of academic lawyers, which is integrated into the economists network. This group are being specifically recruited to combat the threat of the hearings being run in Congress by Rep. Henry Waxman into public smoking and advertising to children. The Senate was also set to hold hearings into second-hand smoke.

1986 Aug 12 James Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute who has complained that the tobacco industry needs more academic lawyers willing to provide comment in the media in support of the industry, especially on advertising issues. With this new Savarese/Tollison network of business lawyers, they are dealing with Panzer, rather than Peter Sparber and Susan Stuntz.

The idea is to have these academic lawyer promote the tobacco industry's causes by writing op-ed articles for their local newspapers, and acting as 'independent' witnesses at State legislature hearings or local government ordinarnce hearings, etc. Their academic [rather than crass-commercial] status is the important factor. Savarese writes:

    There are 19 people on the list, 16 are lawyers and 3 are economists. The three economists are Bob Ekelund in Alabama, Bill Mitchell in Oregon, and James R Kearl in Utah.
    • Professor Ekelund is an expert on the economics of advertising and knows the law.
    • Professor Mitchell is a political scientist tuned into the constitution and an expert on first amendment arguments.
    • Professor Kearl is probably the only person in Utah who will make these arguments (He was a Mormon with a flexible conscience).
    We have used both Ekelund and Mitchell on other projects with the Tobacco Institute. We are still having problems with New Jersey but have calls in to several people. I'll let you know as soon as we get someone there. As you can see, the majority of these people are new with the exception of Ekelund, Parkman, and Mitchell. They all understand the issue and will be on call should we need them. [4]

This is an extension of the Cash for Comments Economists Network and it uses some of the same resources provided by George Mason University. Savarese also attaches the annual report from the Public Choice Society and Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University. This was Tollison's money-laundry service.

1986 Aug 12 The cash-for-comments academic lawyer network was run by Savarese. It included three economists

enclosed is the academic lawyer list. There are 19 people on the list, 16 are lawyers and 3 are economists.

We are still having problems with New Jersey but have calls in to several people. I'll let you know as soon as we get someone there.

As you can see, the majority of these people are new with the exception of Ekelund, Parkman, and Mitchell. They all understand the issue and will be on call should we need them.

[The two copies of this list of cash-for-comments lawyers have minor differences, probably reflecting the date of recruitment of the academics. See both below.]

  • ALABAMA, Professor Robert Ekelund, Dept of Economics, Auburn University [Also economists network]
    • Los Angeles/Southern California -- Professor Donald P Lyden (Woodland Hills, CA) Don is a business law professor at California State University at Northridge
    • San Diego -- Lloyd R Cohen, JD. PhD -- California Western School of Law, San Diego.
  • COLORADO, Professor John C Ruhnka, University of Colorado, Graduate School of Business Administration, Denver
  • FLORIDA, Professor Marvin E Newman -- Rollins College in Winter Park, Clearwater,FL
  • ILLINOIS, Professor Randy E Barnett, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago
  • IOWA, Professor Paul Lansing -- Department of Industrial Relations, Phillips Hall, University of Iowa
  • KANSAS, Professor Douglas Whitman -- University of Kansas School of Business, Lawrence KS
  • MARYLAND, Professor John A. Gray -- Loyola College, School of Business and Management, Baltimore,
    On vacation until 8/18/86
  • MICHIGAN, Professor Steven B Dow-- Michigan State University,Dept of Business Law, East Lansing/Detroit
  • MINNESOTA, Dr David A Reese, Gustavus Adoiphus College, St Peter, MN
  • NEW JERSEY/Camden/Rutgers, Professor William Clarritt -- Rutgers University, Department of Business and Accounting, Newark, NJ
  • NEW MEXICO, Professor Allen Parkman -- School of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, [Also economists network]
    • New York City, Anthony Wiener, Professor of Management, Polytechnic University of New York, Brooklyn
      Tony will be out of the country during August. He was very enthusiastic about the free speech arguments. Harvard J.D., with strong economic emphasis in his teaching and research.
    • Rochester, Professor George M Sullivan -- Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Business, Rochester, NY
      George would like to see a legal brief on the subject he is arguing.
  • OHIO/Cincinnati, Prof Richard Nathan, Ohio State University, Columbus ohio
  • OREGON, Professor William Mitchell -- Department of Political Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, [An old recruit for the economists network]
    Bill will be in Washington in late August for the American Political Science Association meetings. He would like to go to lunch with us on August 28.
  • PENNSYLVANIA, Professor John Bagby, State College, PA
    John is a business law professor at Penn State, which is about halfway between Pittsburg and Philadelphia.
  • UTAH/Salt Lake City, Professor James R Kearl -- Department of Economics, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
    Jim is Mormon, so he has a problem with most Tobacco Institute issues; however, he says he would probably be comfortable with a 1st Amendment op-ed on the advertising ban.
  • TEXAS, D. Bruce Johnsen-- Department of Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX [5] [6]

1986 Aug 14 Savarese has recruited his latest academic lawyer in New Jersey, so he sends the complete list along to Fred Panzer -- who sends it to Anne Duffin. He writes a note to her:

Here's the full list of experts -- tailored to your issue -- lawyer/economist or lawyer/business-management. One for each State represented on Waxman committee. [7]

1986 Aug 14 Along with the list of new recruits, Savarese has included a "Fee for developing list of academic lawyers in states with Congressmen on Waxman's subcommittee.
Complete invoice, 18 states, 29 academicians. ...  $11,400.00 [8]

1986-87 Tobacco Advertising projects
This document explains the background to the hurried recruitment of academic lawyers.
1986 Sep 27: Out of the blue, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) enacted by overwhelming voice-vote a resolution to promote the idea that the Congress should ban any form of media advertising of tobacco products. This was the second serious attempt to ban tobacco advertising from the press (first two years earlier).

In the same month, columnist Jack Anderson reported that the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU had struck a secret deal with the tobacco industry where the tobacco industry was to pressure its ally, Sen Jesse Helms (R-NC), into dropping his planned amendment outlawing dial-a-porn phone calls in exchange for them offering support for tobacco advertising. The pornography measure which the ACLU opposed, would be attached to a privacy bill protecting citizens from electronic surveillance. In exchange the ACLU would then openly support the tobacco industry's 'Constitutional' right to retain advertising.

James Savarese was immediately asked to recruit a number of academic lawyers who would be willing to lend their support in opposition to any advertising bans on 'Constitutional' grounds. This is only one small part of a massive project funded by the tobacco, advertising and publishing interests. It was later developed into a consortium known as the Freedom to Advertise Coalition (FAC).


1986 Dec 1: An internal Tobacco Institute memo from Anne Duffin says that

The first of what could be multiple 1987 advertising hearings could occur as early as mid-January in the Senate, a week later in the House. Hearings in the House are more likely, however, in February or March, unlikely in the Senate in the near future. But we must explore options quickly and adopt an overall plan.

She anticipates a well-resourced attack on the industry from Reps Waxman and Synar.

TI has neither manpower nor funds to develop and utilize all of the following resources. Nor do I recommend we try to do so. But all should be considered and preparations taken for action, depending on what sorts of restrictions are proposed in coming months,: and by whom:

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Freedom of Expression Foundation
    [A think-tank founded by Senator Robert Packwood and run by UCLA Professor Craig Smith
  • Tobacco lawyers, Covington & Burling, and TI staff are working with a task force of AAAA, AAF and ANA Washington executives [all advertising agency groups] to head off the NYSBA resolution on its way to New Orleans [annual conference] in February and/or win affirmative action from ABA.
  • Placement of op-ed page articles and letters to editor by law-oriented professors of business in target cities and states, with judicious distribution of reprints.
    Twenty-plus such professionals have been identified and ready to start. Awaiting ammunition on all-text regulation from Covington & Burling, and draft copy from Ogilvy & Mather, due Dec 15.
  • Jean Boddewyn, [Baruch College, CUNY] is also working on another possible op-ed piece and C&B's David Remes will investigate editing down Roger Blackwell and/or Scott Ward's Aug 1 testimony for other articles. [The testimony was given at Congressional hearing] [9]

1986 Dec 16: Jim Savarese writes to Anne Duffin at the Tobacco Institute:

Attached are three prototype Op-Editorials that address the advertising issue. I realize that some of the arguments made will not be acceptable, but I wanted to see exactly how far we could push.

In-addition, these prototypes are too lengthy for most newspapers and need to be cutback.
I have also attached a page of quotes from which excerpts can be drawn.

Please let me know how you want to proceed. [10]

    Prototype articles:
    • Advertising Ban On Tobacco: A Costly Economic Mistake [11]
    • Economics, Free Speech, and the Cigarette Ad Ban [12]
    • An Advertising Ban On Tobacco: A Threat To Freedom [13]

1987 Jan 6 Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute.

Attached are the three op-ed articles and the current lawyers list. As you know, the Institute has paid for the lawyer list. These three op-eds were sent to Anne and you before the holidays. The attached invoice is for production of the three pieces. Production of three advertising opinion editorials..... $3,000 [14]

['Anne' is Anne Duffin, The list is the same as the longer version above.]

1987 Feb 26 Savarese to Fred Panzer on Tobacco Ad-Ban Op-ed Project

I have attached three more editorials. They are from:

I will wait to hear from you before I send these back to the authors for newspaper submission. [15]

Note that even these professors of law were quite content to have their personal op-ed articles passed through the PR people at the Tobacco Institute, and the major tobacco law-firms before being given permission to send them on to newspapers as 'personal opinion'.

1987 Mar 16 Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute about the operations of his legal-advertising network (not the main economists network).

Enclosed are revisions to articles by D Bruce Johnson, [Steven] Eagle, [Donald P] Lyden, [William C] Mitchell, [Paul] Lansing, [Lloyd R] Cohen, and [Douglas] Whitman.

The [Allen] Parkman piece won't do. It needs to be entirely rewritten.

We will get back the next batch of three soon:

  • "Law, Advertising, Cigarettes" by Marvin E, Newman, Orlando, Fla,;
  • "If We Let Congress Across this Line — What Next?" by John C. Ruhnka, University of Colorado;
  • "Proposed Ban on Tobacco Advertising" by Steven B. Dow, Dept. of Business Law, Michigan State University. [16]

Lansing's draft article (included here) is "Cigarette Advertising" and it has been extensively edited and 'improved' by Tobacco Institute staff.

1987 Mar 17 The Status report on the Tobacco Ad-Ban project has numerous comments about the editing and rewriting of articles, and the submissions for publication of the various cash-for-comments lawyers involved in this scam. [See actual]

They are still filling in some important states in the network:

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia -- We are working to find a good academic-minded lawyer in the state of Pennsylvania.

Anna Tollison, who signs herself "Assistant to Mr Savarese" has updated the Status Report. For this member she writes:

IOWA (Lansing)
3/19 Sent back to author for submission to Des Moines Register

1987 Apr 11 Lansing has a Tobacco Institute-inspired article "Tobacco-advertising issues light up" in the Des Moines Register . [See page 12]

1987 Apr 13 [For the Feb 1987 Ad-Ban Campaign] Members of the academic lawyer-advertising network run by Jim Savarese were planting op-ed propaganda articles on their local newspapers.

This list gives the dates of publication and the newspapers in the various states:

Paul Lansing -- DesMoines Register -- 4-13-87

1987 Apr 14 Jim Savarese sends payment details for the "Tobacco Ad Ban Project" to the Tobacco Institute.



Local Newspaper

ALABAMA Ekelund Montgomery Adv. $400
LA Herald Ex.
San Diego Union
COLORADO Ruhnka Denver Post --
FLORIDA Newman Orlando Sentin --
INDIANA Lanfvardt Indianapolis St --
ILLINOIS Kindt Chicago Tribune $400
IOWA Lansing Des Moines Reg. $800
KANSAS Whitman Kansas City Star $700
MARYLAND Gray Baltimore Sun --
MICHIGAN Dow Lansing St. Jrnl --
MINNESOTA Reese St. Paul Pioneer --
NEW JERSEY Clarritt Newark Star --
NEW MEXICO Parkman Albuquerque Jrnl --
(not spec.)
Democrat Chron
OHIO Eagle Toledo Blade $800
OREGON Mitchell Oregonian $800
UTAH Kearl Salt Lake Trib --
TEXAS Johnsen Dallas Times $700

Bob Tollison, Bill Shughart, Gary Anderson & Carol Roberts
re-writes, editing, and research, -- 11 articles + production
. Expenses $450
. TOTAL $16,450

1987 May 7 Later Billing and payment details show funds paid for later work and for successful planting of articles on their newspapers.
[Some paymens probably represent commissions for having sent letters to their Congressmen] Additional Payments were made to:

  • Lyden -- $1100
  • Runhka -- $1800
  • Newman -- $400
  • Lansing -- $1200
  • Whitman -- $1300
  • Dow -- $1000
  • Reese -- $900
  • Parkman -- $500
  • Eagle -- $1200
  • Tollison's GMU production staff receive another $2375.

1987 Jun 9 Anna Tollison writes to Fred Panzer re Ad-Ban project

I have attached an updated list of the current status of this project.

Originally, 18 lawyers were contacted to write articles. As of today, 7 articles have been published, 7 have been submitted to newspapers, and 4 are still outstanding.

We are working on the added placements you requested in Detroit, Cincinnati, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

1987 Jun 22 Schedule of Payments for the "Tobacco Ad Ban Project" Some of the lawyers appear to have dropped out.



Local Newspaper
ALABAMA Ekelund Montgomery Adv. $2000
LA Herald Ex.
San Diego Union
COLORADO Ruhnka Denver Post $1800
FLORIDA Newman Orlando Sentin $800
INDIANA Lanfvardt Indianapolis St $1500
ILLINOIS Kindt Chicago Tribune $1400
IOWA Lansing Des Moines Reg. $2000
KANSAS Whitman Kansas City Star $2000
MICHIGAN Dow Lansing St. Jrnl $1500
MINNESOTA Reese St. Paul Pioneer $1500
NEW MEXICO Parkman Albuquerque Jrnl $1500
OHIO Eagle Toledo Blade $1200
OREGON Mitchell Oregonian $2000
TEXAS Johnsen Dallas Times $1500

1988 Nov 10 Jim Savarese writes to Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute.

I have attached two Items. One is a draft cover letter that we will send out to the participants in the ad ban project along with some materials. The other is a preliminary list of people who have agreed to write op-eds. We are still working on finding lawyers in Connecticut, Boston, and Seattle.

His letter to cash-for-comments lawyers and economists is in draft form:

We are embarking on another op-ed project. I am asking you again to write an editorial supporting the basic right to advertise legal products and oppose attempts to censor commercial speech either by outright bans, onerous restrictions, or punitive use of the tax code.

Past attempts to restrict tobacco advertising and promotion have been unsuccessful because of strong opposition from defenders of First Amendment rights. However, it is anticipated that legislation of this type will again be introduced in the 101st Session of Congress. This legislation will include proposals to ban tobacco product advertising, to control the content of ads, to mandate counter-advertising, and to disallow tax deductions for tobacco product advertising expenses. The point of this exercise is to support tobaoco's right (the right of a legal product) to advertise on basic constitutional grounds. Arguments which touch on issues such as censorship and cutting off the free flow of information might be useful. ([these] could set a dangerous precedent). With these basic guidelines in mind, please write whatever is comfortable for you and please don't feel constrained to adhere to any of the argumentation laid out here, which is just meant to be suggestive. The editorial should be two to three double-spaced typed pages. Please send it to me. I will go over it, and return it to you with submission instructions .

Please feel free to contact me or any of my staff (Leslie Dawson, Sandy Parish, or Anna Tollison) if you have any questions.

The list includes both economists and lawyers including this one.

1988 Dec 8 Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute returns corrected and processed op-ed articles opposing advertising restrictions to Jim Savarese.

Enclosed are Op-Ed pieces by [Allan] Parkman, [Henry] Butler, [Douglas] Whitman and [Lloyd] Cohen. They have been cleared by legal counsel with


Our lawyer said the pieces by [Paul] Lansing and [Ronald] Groeber are unsalvagable. I'll have more on this tomorrow when he returns for out of town. Meantime go ahead with the four good ones.

1988 Dec 22 This is the draft of the article by Lansing which later appeared in the Des Moines Register . There was remarkably little sub-editing required by the Tobacco Institute before it was submitted. It must have been largely rewritten by the tobacco industry lawyers.

1989 Jan 19 Op-Eds Opposed to Restrictions on Cigarette Advertising "The arguments against the advertising ban are impressive . The proposed prohibition would be a clear violation of the First Amendment's constitutional protection of freedom of speech by the cigarette companies . In addition, it would be a concurrent violation of the public's right to information about individual cigarette brands . . .Under the Supreme Court's interpretation, the public's right to information and the commercial speech protection provided by the First Amendment would prevail ." Paul Lansing, associate professor of business law at the University of Iowa in Des Moines Reaister, January-19, 1989 . [[17]

1989 Jan 19 [Dated 26th Jan] Fred Panzer to Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco Insititute. He is writing on the "op-ed project" and explains that this article has been published and that "Professor Lansing will follow up by enclosing a copy in a brief letter to his Congressman and Senators." Panzer also said that he would circulate this to members of the Freedom to Advertise Coalition. Lansing's op-ed was printed in the Des Moines Register .

This issue has been in public debate since December 1985, when the American Medical Association's House of Delegates approved a resolution calling for a legislative ban on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. Legislation was proposed in both the 99th and 100th Congress for just such a ban.

Another legislative proposal was made to disallow tax deductions for tobacco product advertising. While neither of these proposals has become law, they do raise serious issues about the government's right to regulate truthful advertising for lawful products. Does the government go too far when it proposes to ban all cigarette advertising?

The arguments against the advertising ban are impressive.The proposed prohibition would be a clear violation of the First Amendment's constitutional protection of freedom of speech by the cigarette companies.... etc.

1989 Mar 14 James Savarese & Associates is billing the Tobacco Institute for

Tobacco Advertising Ban Project: Final of three payments             $19,000

The attached list shows what each member of the cash-for-comments lawyers network has achieved with his op-ed articles. For this member it says:

      Received by Savarese   11-30
      Sent to Fred Panzer      12-2
      Returned to Savarese   12-9
      Returned to the Economist 12-22
Published -- Des Moines Reg 1-19-89 1989 Aug 1 James Savarese's report on the status of the Cash for Comment Economists Network for July 1986 list the recent 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 Oct 17 Jim Savarese, a favoured consultant to the Tobacco Institute, writes to Fred Panzer about their new Ad-ban project.

I have attached a list of some of the lawyers who participated in the Ad Ban campaign in February 1987. These are the ones I would recommend to use again, but remember we haven't contacted these people since 1987 so I don't know if they are still available or still at the same schools. We should also try to find a couple for the Northeast Area.

He lists 14 tame lawyers who wrote articles for them in 1987, and among the list was "Iowa, Paul Lansing, Des Moines Register -- 4-13-87"