Thorne G. Auchter

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

Thorne G. Auchter was a former Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety & Health at the U.S. Department of Labor circa 1982. After leaving the Reagan Administration office, he joined forces with James J Tozzi and they went seriously into the lobbying business. He became director of Federal Focus, a non-profit that Tozzi appears to have started to become a platform for Washington lobbying. He and Tozzi then established and ran the Multinational Business Services (MBS), which worked for Philip Morris. [1]

They also established and ran two so-called think-tanks, the Institute for Regulatory Policy and the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (He was Executive Director in 1997), and he was associated with other tobacco lobbying organisations.


Thorne Auchter was born on March 6, 1945 in Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from Jacksonville University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968, when he started as a job site construction supervisor at Auchter Company, a family-owned construction firm based in Jacksonville. Seven years later, in 1975, he became the Executive Vice President of that company.

He served as special events director for Florida during President Ronald Reagan's 1980 election campaign. On February 11, 1981 President Ronald Reagan announced that he would nominate the then 35-year-old Auchter to become the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA regulates smoking in working environments. [2]

One of the main goals of the Administration of President Reagan was to provide industry with relief from the burden of onerous government regulation, and this became Auchter's goal at OSHA. Before long, the labor unions were publicly critical of almost every move Auchter made. In September 1983 a Philadelphia-area coalition of unions called on Auchter to resign from office because of the "systematic and insidious dismantling of OSHA." [3]

In March 1984 Auchter left OSHA to become president of the B.B. Andersen Companies, a construction and development group located in Kansas. Controversy developed when it turned out that in 1981 at the OSHA he had dropped a proposed safety violation $12,680 penalty against one of the Andersen companies. Critics accused him of accepting the job as a quid pro quo.

In 1986 Auchter and Jim Tozzi (who had a similar background in the Washington bureaucracy) founded the non-profit organization Federal Focus, Inc. and later in 1991 an operation they called Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP). As director of this secretly-funded (Philip Morris) organization, Auchter and Jim Tozzi were involved in many pro-tobacco activities.

Auchter also wrote to Philip Morris officials on the letterhead of Wayne Valis' Coalition for Uniform Risk Evaluation (CURE) -- another lobbying front group -- to discuss a White House meeting that he had attended regarding the 1991 draft of the executive order.

In 1996 Jim Tozzi, James MacRea and Thorne Auchter founded the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) [4] as a subsidiary of Multinational Business Services (MBS). Auchter then became the Executive Director of CRE. [5]

Currently he is the CEO of 'Grace Digital Media' owned by Cheryl Reagan, who also runs Federal News Service. [6] [7]

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