Coalition for Affordable Sports and Entertainment

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

Disambiguation: Note the abbreviation CASE was also used in the period 1985-6 for Citizens for A Sound Economy. This later became just CSE

CASE was a phantom coalition founded in 1983 by RJ Reynolds and the Tobacco Institute. It seems not to have had even a nominal head until 1987 when it was already in decline -- but later in 1988 it was revived.

  • Philip Morris and others called it a "Coalition for ...."
  • The Tobacco Institute insisted that it was the "Committee for ...."

Generally they just called it CASE, but search for "Committee for Affordable Sports and Entertainment also.

It was listed in their funding files under both "Education" and "Freedom to Advertise" (FAC) headings.

Documents & TimeLine

1984 The Tobacco Institute and RJ Reynolds claim that they put together a group of car and motor-cycle racing organisations to form CASE. This was an attempt to block the bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. It appears to have been an entirely phantom organisation -- and they hired in spokespersons when required.

1985 Sep 16 Fred Panzer at the Tobacco Institute advises his associates about a James Savarese proposal to use CASE [Coalition for Affordable Sports and Entertainment] as a front:

Here is Jim's proposal for an economic study on the impact of our industry's sponsorhip of sports events. It would be done for CASE. [This is an] economic impact study of tobacco sponsorship of sports events. As we discussed, much of the solid data we will need to generate the cost/benefit numbers will be based on at least the first four public opinion surveys that will be conducted.

We have designed the project to require a minimal amount of proprietary information from the companies. Obviously, the more they share with us, the more thorough the study will be.

We will produce the study with the assistance of the economists at the Center for the Study of Public Choice] at George Mason University. Dwight Lee, who is leaving the Center for an endowed chair at the University of Georgia, will head the project team. [2]

This was effectively a Cash for Comments Economists Network side-project.

1986 Jan Tobacco Institute's budget/plan:


1986 June 3 Bill Klopfer (Tobacco Institute PR) memo about a meeting of the Communications Committee of the Tobacco Institute. He lists their main activities during the year including organising op-eds and letters-to-the-editor attacking the Synar bill advocating advertising bans on cigarettes.

And, as the prohibitionists extend their extinguisher to the area of brand sponsorships, our chances to vivify the Committee for Affordable Sports and Entertainment improve.

We call it CASE. It began with our contacts in motor and bike racing circles. Last year, the head of the American Motorcyclists Association wanted to testify before Waxman but never got an answer to his request. He'll be in our office next week to talk expansion of CASE, to help us match sponsored events to the districts of key Congressmen, and to discuss some supportive petitioning and poll-taking at some of the sponsored events.

One member company has been especially helpful with introductions in this area, and we expect to call on all of you. [4]

It would be a mistake to assume Klopfer was telling the truth about the CASE foundation. He was a consumate liar, and they often sought to exaggerate their circle of supporters when talking to the cigarette companies.

1986 Jun 24 Sam Chilcote advises the Tobacco Institute's Executive Committee that

Chairman Henry Waxman of the House Health and Environment Subcommittee has scheduled oversight hearings July 21 on tobacco advertising and promotional practices.

The tactics he proposes to counter Waxman include the use of:

  • Advertising Industry. Over the past year, our strategy has been to encourage the advertising industry to take the visible lead on this issue.
  • Members of Congress. We are now attempting to recruit Members willing to testify. As with all other friendly witnesses, we will offer assistance in drafting testimony.
  • Constitutional law expert. Prof. Burton Neuborne, New York University.
  • Prof. Jean Boddewyn, Baruch College, City University of New York; who recently edited two studies for the International Advertising Association. (IAA).
  • Sports Promotion. Two years ago, with assistance from staff at RJ Reynolds, we helped form the Coalition for Affordable Sports and Entertainment (CASE). This organization is prepared to testify and assist in lobbying.
  • Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom of Expression Foundation have already asked to testify and the latter will urge its members to contact the Subcommittee.


[CASE was put together and controlled by RJ Reynolds. Barry Lynn of the ACLU was a paid lobbyist. The Freedom of Expression Foundation, run by Dr Craig R Smith, was actually a front for Senator Packwood himself -- but claiming to be a think tank promoting "Commercial free speech". This was standover tactics. Packwood used this think-tank to lever cash donations out of the tobacco companies without putting his own name out in front.

1987 Feb The Director of Advertising Issues at the Tobacco Institute, Fred Panzer reports:

Freedom to Advertise -- organisation
The Committee for Affordable Sports and Entertainment (CASE) was contacted with disappointing results. The racing community is in a holding pattern, experiencing some inner turmoil and trying to develop a consensus on how to handle the ad ban issue. Ed Youngblood of the American Motorcyclist Association and executive director of CASE, will meet with other leaders at the NASCAR meeting in Orlando in March and get back to us. [6]

They now have an Executive Director, but what there is of a coalition is in turmoil.

1988 Oct Report on primary activites of the Tobacco Institute lists under the heading "Advertising Issues" [Page 15]

The anti-tobacco forces closed out the month with a media event meeting of the Surgeon General's Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health (ICSH) on sports sponsorship. Although they lined up an array of hostile witnesses, headed by Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, media coverage was exceptionally sparse.

We covered and reported on the ICSH meeting on the "public health implications of tobacco sponsorship of sporting events." We also coordinated preparation and submission of favorable testimony.

Statements were submitted by the Tobacco Institute, the Smokeless Tobacco Council, the Committee for Affordable Sports and Entertainment (CASE), the National Tobacco Council, The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), and the Alvin Ailey Dance Group (who were funded by Philip Morris).

We began work with company representatives to form a coalition of performing and visual artists to oppose any legislation in the next Congress that would ban corporate sponsorship of cultural events. Timelines and budget have been submitted and meetings with member companies are set for next month.

Similarly, staff is working with member companies to reactivate CASE to oppose legislation banning tobacco sponsorship of sports events. This coalition represents most motor sports. Timelines have been submitted and meetings with member companies are set for late November or early December.[7]

1988 Dec /E Tobacco Institute memo on Advertising/Warning Label Issues. The cigarette advertising-ban issue had been revised by an AMA conference in Houston (Nov 1988). They were also being threatened by coming under the control of the FDA, so the messages the industry and its allies must promote are:

  • This is a First Amendment, free-speech issue
  • Restrictions on advertising and promotion are unwise -- can lead down the slippery slope to other industries.
  • Advertising doesn't influence young people to smoke -- it only effects brand selection.
  • Reducing advertising will not reduce smoking.
  • Counter advertising is not effective -- the anti-smoking message is already at saturation point.
  • Tobacco sponsorship of cultural events enhances education in many communites.

They also add an extensive list of supporters and witnesses who will appear at any hearings. This includes:

    Advertising Witnesses
  • Mary Covington, executive director, International Advertising Association.[8]
[She was the ex-Philip Morris Corporate Affiars executive, and ex-head of ICOSI]

1989 Nov /E Tobacco Institute Public Affairs budget and operating plan for 1990 says:

Advertising Restrictions
Our allies, the civil liberties groups and the membership of the Freedom to Advertise Coalition, perceived the bills as tantamount to prohibition.

[The] Coalition for Affordable Sports and Entertainment (CASE) has been revitalized and expanded to include cultural and entertainment groups in addition to the original sports organizations. CASE can be counted upon to provide witnesses, written testimony and other third party support on the issue of sponsorship.

Strategy II: Goals and Tactics:

  • Support organizations adversely impacted by the severe censorship provisions of content control legislation that would eliminate [] sports, cultural, entertainment sponsorship;
  • Create a government relations task force for CASE and encourage it to contact and educate key public policymakers on the importance and limitations of promotional activities. [9]