Coalition for Uniform Risk Evaluation

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

The Coalition for Uniform Risk Evaluation (CURE) was a phantom organisation -- a follow-on coalition program following the demise of Dan Quayle's Competitiveness Council. CURE served as a front for the Ad Hoc Committee on Comparative Risk, which was a peak lobby and strategy group put together by a range of industries with poisoning and polluting problems. The idea was to set a standard for the threshold of calculated risks to health or the environment. Any level calculated by themselves to below this threshold should not be regulated by government agencies.

This organisation was nominally run by Lewis R Freeman Jr, VP Government Affairs for the Society of the Plastics Industry. However Wayne Valis of Valis Associates handled all the organisation, and Thorne Auchter - supposedly President of the Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) Both Valis and Auchter worked for the tobacco industry and the IRP was actually a front for tobacco. Auchter was a partner with James J Tozzi in lobbyshops Multinational Business Services (MBS) and Federal Focus. So tobacco had a hand in iCURE at the top level (Auchter used CURE letterhead and was a key contact man for the members).

CURE appears to have been put together by the chemical industry, but later infiltrated and perhaps taken over by tobacco. Generally the chemical and pharmacuetical industries refuse to be openly aligned with cigarette companies because of their poor reputation in politics and the public arena. The intention of risk assessment was to strangle the major health and environmental agencies, (FDA, EPA, etc) and block their efforts; enforced Risk Analysis was generally sufficient to stop the agencies from functioning with any real effect.

“CURE was involved with a 1993 proposal of a US Executive Order on regulatory reform that addressed, among other things, risk assessment,” according to Norbert Hirschhorn and Stella A. Bialous. Its members included electronic, paper, plastics, and beverage industries, and it was supported by Philip Morris, with at least $100,000. Its campaign in the early 1990s involved coordinating efforts by a variety of organizations aimed at “questioning the risk factors of federal agencies.” Among the groups that CURE worked with were TASSC (The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition), Federal Focus, which worked on targeting local officials and unfunded mandates. The aim appears to have been to cultivate support among state and local officials for a challenge to federal risk assessment policies.

The 1993 Executive Order proposal backed by the groups included “principles of sound science, cost-benefit analysis and the use of risk-assessment for regulatory prioritization.” Philip Morris hoped that “inconsistency language” in the proposal would help reopen the Environmental Tobacco Smoke Risk Assessment. At White House meetings on the Executive Order, CURE was represented by The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.

Documents & Timeline

1993 Sept Wayne Valis of Valis Associates report to the members of CURE. He has sent them a memo from Lewis R Freeman of the Society of Plastic Industries, re a Clinton-Gore White House meeting with CURE, over the "Pending Regulatory Executive Order." White House participants included:

  • Jack Quinn, Chief of Staff to Vice President Gore (who presided) [He was also a lawyer-lobbyist for tobacco, before and after his WH/Gore service],
  • Sally Katzen, Administrator of the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget; (Jim Tozzi's previous office under President Reagan)
  • Robert Rubin, Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy; and
  • Heather Ross (whose position, l do not recall being specified)
    [She was Special Assistant to the President]

Invitees to, the 2-hour meeting, in addition to me [Freeman], were representatives of the:

  • Business Roundtable (Deputy Executive Director Pat Engman and the BRTs General Counsel);
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Jeff Joseph, Vice President, Domestic Policy)
  • National Association of Manufacturers, Jim Carty, (Vice President,. Government Regulation and Competition);
  • National Federation of Independent Business (Wendy Lechner, Manager, Research and Policy Development);
  • National Small Business United (John Gailes, Exec. Vice President).
  • General Motors (Ronald Sykes, Sr Washington Representative); and
  • lndustrial Biotechnology Association (two company representatives who are on the association's Board, one of whom, is with the agricultural busincss part of Monsanto).

Jack Quinn indicated that the proposed Executive Order was tentatively to be signed next Wednesday, Sep 29. We were permitted to review the draft, in considerable detail and take notes, but could not take a copy with us.

As I have briefed Wayne Valis and Thorne Auchter in some detail about the document and the meeting, they may be able to answer some questions if you can't reach, me. [2]

[The members of CURE may or may not have known that Thorne Auchter's IRP was a Philip Morris operation. Jack Quinn would have known, but Gore and Clinton were probably not told. Clearly the Business group had got most of what they were asking for in the Bush request for an Executive Order]

1993 Oct 4 Helen Sanders of Valis Associates (tobacco lobby firm) was sending this memo on a forthcoming Legislative Strategy Meeting to:

  • Ad Hoc Committee on Comparative Risk, and
  • Coalition for Uniform Risk Evaluation (CURE)

The list is a mixture of representatives, mainly from the energy and chemical industries (poisoning or polluting problems) + alcohol, the Business Roundtable, and Koch industries. Ralph Vinovich was representing the Tobacco Institute This organisation was nominally run by Lewis R Freeman Jr, VP Government Affairs for the Society of the Plastics Industry. However:

* Auchter used CURE letterhead,
* Auchter was a key contact man for the members.

1994 Philip Morris Corporate Affairs -- Proposed Budget papers show that they supported CURE and TASSC and Federal Focus as part of the "junk-science" program. The budget has provisions for:

Advance Sound Science/Expose Bad Science
Objective: Commission a Study/Workshop on the Myth of Epidemiology Relative to the US -- Europe and Promote the Debate on Risk Assessment/Risk-Risk" and the Marketing thereof.

  • travel expenses for invited panel members - $80,000
  • 2-day transcription and publication of material mailing to all participants - $70,000
  • develop/implement communications roadshow for US, Euroepean markets - $80,000
            Total : $230,000

Develop Local/State Official Risk Assessment directed Toward WRO/USA CA Goals -- CURE Objective: to ensure synergy between the TASSC program, CURE, Federal Focus (Mayor/Local Official and Unfounded (sic) Mandates) and any other organizations that are pursuing this avenue of questioning the risk factors of federal agencies .

  • continued support through CURE
            Total: $100,000 [3]
[TASSC was The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition -- the junk-science operation of Steven J Milloy created for the tobacco industry by APCO & Associates
The Federal Focus projects were about running a 'grassroots' program for Mayors on Unfunded Mandates. This was a tobacco operation being run by Thorne Auchter and Jim Tozzi at Multinational Business Services.]


Source: Norbert Hirschhorn and Stella A. Bialous, “Second hand Smoke and Risk Assessment: What Was in it for the Tobacco Industry?” Tobacco Control 10 (2001): 375-382, 379