Robert McCallum was appointed Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2001. In that position, he oversaw the DOJ's 1999 case against the major American tobacco companies.
Prior to his appointment at DOJ, McCallum was a partner at Alston & Bird, an Atlanta-based law firm that did trademark and patent work for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. McCallum signed a friend-of-the-court brief by the administration in 2002 that urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to consider an appeal by the government of Canada to reinstate a cigarette smuggling case against R. J. Reynolds that had been dismissed. The department's ethics office had cleared McCallum to take part in that case.
In 2005, during its case against the tobacco companies, DOJ drastically cut its request for an industry-sponsored smoking cessation program from $130 billion to $10 billion. McCallum, a political appointee, was accused of interfering with the case by requiring Justice Department lawyers to cut their demand.
Following the DOJ's tobacco case, Robert McCallum became President George W. Bush's nominee to become US Ambassador to Australia. He assumed the position July 21, 2006, despite having had no involvement with the country, or any foreign policy experience at all. 
Related SourceWatch resources
- R.J. Reynolds
- Chronology of R.J. Reynolds Northern Brands cigarette smuggling in Canada, Physicians for Smoke-free Canada & Nonsmokers Rights Association of Canada, 2001.
- Tobacco smuggling
- William Birnbauer, "Envoy under tobacco cloud", The Age, June 11, 2006.
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