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Heartland Institute  

Jump to full article: SourceWatch (Center for Media & Democracy), 2010-04-20


The Heartland Institute, according to the Institute's web site, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is "to discover and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems". . . .

Tobacco ties

Although Heartland calls itself "a genuinely independent source of research and commentary," its has been a frequent ally of, and funded by, the tobacco industry. According to a 1995 internal report by Philip Morris USA (PM) on its corporate contributions budget, the company uses its contributions "as a strategic tool to promote our overall business objectives and to advance our government affairs agenda," in particular by supporting "the work of free market 'think tanks' and other public policy groups whose philosophy is consistent with our point of view. ... [W]e have given general support over the years to such groups as the Heritage Foundation, Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Washington Legal Foundation and a variety of other organizations that help provide information about the ultimate course of legislation, regulation and public opinion through their studies, papers, op-ed pieces and conferences."[9]

Internal company documents show the following contributions from PM to Heartland (which is probably an incomplete list):

* $25,000 in 1993[10]

* $65,000 in 1995[11]

* $50,000 in 1996[12] . . .

Roy E. Marden, a former member of Heartland's board of directors, was until May 2003 the manager of industry affairs for the Philip Morris (PM) tobacco company, where his responsibilities included lobbying and "managing company responses to key public policy issues," which he accomplishes by "directing corporate involvement with industry, business, trade, and public policy organizations and determining philanthropic support thereto." In a May 1991 document prepared for PM, Marden listed Heartland's "rapid response network" as a "potential spokesperson" among the "portfolio of organizations" that the company had cultivated to support its interests. . . .

Notwithstanding this long and intimate partnership with the tobacco industry, Heartland president Joe Bast bridled in February 2005 when writer Glenn Fleishman characterized the institute as a "sock puppet of industry" and criticized its role as both a tobacco mouthpiece and an opponent of municipal wi-fi initiatives. "No, there is no 'Philip Morris exec.' on our Board of Directors," Bast wrote in reply to Fleishman's article. . . .

More recently, in 2006 the Heartland Institute partnered with the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) in "a campaign to change public opinion about tobacco." The campaign will utilize press releases, letters to editors and an effort to win coverage in magazines and journals . . .

In February 2009 Heartland lists 5 of its personnel as being "Tobacco Policy Experts".[29] These were Joseph Bast, Ralph Connor, the Local Legislation Manager; John Nothdurft, Heartland's Legislative Specialist; Brad Rodu, from the University of Louisville and W. Kip Viscusi, a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School.

Heartland also currently lists "Tobacco" as being one of its seven priority topic areas. In an essay -- titled "Tobacco and Freedom" -- Heartland's senior fellow - legal affairs, Maureen Martin and President, Joseph L. Bast, argue that smokers already pay too much tax, that proposals for further restrictions on tobacco and smoking are based on "junk science", that lawsuits against the tobacco industry are an example of "lawsuit abuse", that bans on smoking "hurt small businesses and violate private property rights", that the harm caused to smokers can be reduced by "educating" them "about their options" and that restrictions on smokers violate "the basic libertarian principles that ought to limit the use of government force.

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