Michael T. Buckley

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

Michael T. Buckley a lawyer and tobacco lobbyist at Covington and Burling which was one of the two main legal companies in the USA which provided both legal and lobbying services to the tobacco industry, both through the Tobacco Institute, and directly to the companies themselves. (mainly Philip Morris). One task regularly undertaken by a small group of C&B lawyers was to provide witnesses in various legislative and local ordinance hearings.

Mike Buckley specialised in providing Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) briefings for the Tobacco Institute.

Documents & Dates

  • CTR's Covington & Burling lawyer who does ETS briefings for the Tobacco Institute

1991 Jan 4 Industry strategies to defeat the ETS risk assessment

1. To block the release of, or, short of that, to modify the EPA risk assessment and workplace policy guide to reflect more accurately the scientific consensus on ETS,
2. To build a record of the flaws and controversies surrounding the risk assessment and policy guide and the SAB review of those documents for use in legislative and regulatory battles on ETS .
[Much more on Strategies] http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/kto24e00/pdf
Accompanying notice to TI http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gah46e00/pdf

[Note: Mike Buckley and Claussen Ely were the C&B representatives in this group]

1992 Jun European Bureau for Action on Smoking Prevention (BASP), List of consultants getting the BASP newsletter [1]

1992 Oct 13 Sharon L Boyse (the organiser of BAT's anti-science efforts) to Paul Dietrich (an American who ran numerous scams for the industry):

"I would like to discuss with you Mike Buckley's approach to you about the Venezuela conference."

[Document now not found]

1993 Jan 21 Buckley is in San Diego, CA doing some 'editorial board' meetings. He is also meetings with and organising key tobacco allies, and testifying himself before the City Council's Ad Hoc citizens study committee on smoking regulations. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/otz92b00/pdf

1993 Jan 25The tobacco industry is attacking the credibility of the World Health Organisation, which has recently condemned smoking as a health hazard. The specialist anti-WHO lobbyist Paul Dietrich (at Squire Sanders & Dempsey) has writen to Sharon L Boyse at BAT. Dietrich and his partner David A Morse have created a fake organisation known as the Institute for International Health and Development (IIHD) which questions WHO's effectiveness and attacks their budgets. Dietrich, claiming to be an independent lawyer, has been promoted now as the authority on the WHO.

  • The New York Times has been given his name as a source when other journalists have called asking to do a story on the WHO
  • He has been interviewed on the subject by The Economist (London), The London Times, the International Herald Tribune, and the Financial Times.
  • The leading Italian financial daily, Mono Economico has now asked him to rewrite his May 1992 Wall Street Journal article for them.
He encloses a magazine cutting attacking the WHO's Japanese director general.


1993 Feb 25 A Tobacco Institute document labelled "'1993 EPA Briefings"' This refers to a concerted attack on the ;;Environment Protection Agency;; by the tobacco companies via briefings to various editorial boards and journalists. It lists the various briefings to editorial boards, meetings with legislators (often one-to-one), organised radio interviews, etc. by:

They are meeting the media, town councils, airport officials, and legislatures in: San Diego, Dallas, Kansas, Lincoln, Salt Lake City, Carson City, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Hilton Head, Sacramento, Denver, St Louis, Minneapolis, Monroe County this month and had scheduled meetings cancelled in Santa Fe, Cheynne, Charleston, Nashville, Minneapolis, Pierre and Madison. https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=pppn0048 Diane Avedon ran this operation out of the Tobacco Institute: Here is her advice to witnesses and early schedule. https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=hglp0059 Diane Avedon's list of witnesses involved in these EPA Briefings https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=mjhd0046

1993 Apr 16 Kay Packett's memo to Mike Buckley and Chris Proctor (both C&B lawyers). She wants them to check a draft manuscript by Larry Holcomb that deals with Carbon dioxide levels (probably in aircraft). He was doing sham air-testing at that time. https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=nhhk0031

1993 Feb 1 Mike Buckley of C&B has been doing briefings in the mid-west States for the Tobacco Institute. He mentioned John Mangum and Rip Wilson of Philip Morris USA in relationship to Arizona Legislative Council. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jgf50c00/pdf

1993 Jun 1 1988 to 1993 Diana L Avedon at the Tobacco Institute ran a major media-tour operation called the Scientific Witness Teams. This operation circulated variable teams of TI staff spokespersons, contracted sham air-testing company staff, one or more Covington & Burling lawyers, and other more specialied tobacco lobbyists. They were used in two ways:

  1. As fire-fighters, to turn up in some town or region when problem about public or workplace smoking was arising, and do media interviews.
  2. To make regular media tours through various parts of the country to promote Tobacco Institute propaganda.

They were paid to visit major cities in each state, where the Regional Tobacco Institute staff would have arranged radio, TV or news coverage, and set up meetings with key officials at the local councils, counter air-ports (smoking bans) and meet with the editorial boards of media outlets. This is Diana Avedon's list of the key contractors on these group media-tours. It had the advantage of each participant getting to know the others, which introduced a collegial element to their shared message distortions.

1993 Jun 1   TI list of "Witness/Expert Appearances Scientific/Legal/Spokespersons."
Thomas Lauria
Assistant to the Tobacco Institute President,
Mike Buckley
lawyer-lobbyist with Covington & Burling,
Simon Turner
IAQ witness/executive of ACVA/HBI,
Gio Batta Gori
Corrupt science researcher at Nat. Cancer Institute
He ran the Tobacco Working Group for the industry until fired.
Bill Wordham
Tobacco Institute's Media spokesperson
Gray Robertson
Partner in ACVA then owner of HBI
Lifelong contractor for sham air-testing with TI
Peter Binnie
owner/partner of ACVA and HBI
He sold his share of HBI to Gray Robertson
Larry Holcomb
Ran sham air-testing company (airlines)
Holcomb Environmental Services
John C Fox
Lawyer lobbyist for TI via Pettit & Martin
Later also through Pillsbury Madison & Sutro
Richard Silberman
Healthy Buildings International (HBI)
spokesman on 'sick buildings'
Walter Merryman
TI Public Relations, then Issues Management
Later VP at the Tobacco Institute.
David Remes
legal strategist from the main law firm
Covington & Burling (C&B)
Frank Powell
National Energy Management Institute
(NEMI) organiser who worked for TI
Melinda L Sidak
C&B lawyer; strategist in science corruption
Worked on recruitment of scientists.
Rudy Cole
He ran restaurant front-group RSVP
He organised lobby against smoking bans.
Larry Halfen
Environmental Consultants; TI witness
An attached 1991 Witness List includes
Brennan Dawson
Media relations at the Tobacco Institute
Jeff Seckler
Exec. in charge of HBI's sham air testing
He later turned whistleblower.
Jim Goold
Lawyer sent on media tours by the Tobacco institute to train witnesses.
Joe Pedelty
worked for Holcomb Environmental Services
Did sham air-testing for TI
Jolly Ann Davidson
NASBE school/educational lobbyist,
ran "Helping Youth Decide" program for TI
Dick Wagner
GMU economics professor (Tollison aide)
Key in cash-for-comments network
Bernadette Davidson
lawyer and media lobbyist with John Fox
She was retained by TI as IAQ witness
Walter J Decker
Ran Toxicology Consultancy Services
Provide witness services for the TI
Also attached is a 1990 Witness List (page 35) includes
Bill Orzechowski
TI Director of Economic Issues
He was ex-US Chambers of Commerce
Mike Davis (Dallas Texas)
Prof of Econ. and Business Management
Witness for the Tobacco Institute.
Morris Coats
Prof Economics West Virginia.
Worked in cash-for-comments net.
The main long document has this 1989 witness list attached with the addition (to above)
Dwight Lee
economics professor and leader of
cash-for-comments economists network
David A Weeks
Boise Idaho physician, TI Witness
Partner of S James Kilpatrick in Per-Med Corp.
Alan Kassman
Ex tobacco industry scientist. Retrained
to provide legislative and media briefings.
Robert Tollison
GMU professor of economics who ran the
cash-for-comments economists network
Richard Wagner
Economics professor and TI witness.
Tollison's understudy in c-for-c network
Jack E Peterson
Industrial hygienist; ran Peterson Assoc.
Also worked for Dow Chemicals
Bestype Consulting Corporation
they ran TI's "Sick Building Syndrome"
and "Tight Building Syndrome" seminars.
Dennis A Vaughn
Lawyer-lobbyist for Tobacco Institute,
Associate of John Fox at P&M and PM & Sutro
The 1988 List includes most of above with the additions of:
Alan W Katzenstein
Biostatistician with Katzenstein Assoc.
Witness for Tobacco Institute,
David Brenton
Ran the Smokers Rights Alliance
His wife Sue had her focus on airline smoking.

[Numerous other documents detail the day-to-day organization of these groups spread over five or more years.]

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