CTR Special Projects

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

CTR Special Projects was a secret division of the tobacco industry's Council for Tobacco Research accounting procedures for research projects and payments that could damage either the industry or the people being paid.

Projects were protected behind this wall of secrecy it they could yield results harmful to the industry. The lawyers and staff were directed, to keep them from the public by shielding them through attorney-client privilege. Edwin Jacob of Jacob Medinger law firm handled these accounts for many years, then handed them over to Shook Hardy & Bacon (probably when Ed Jacob retired)

Bypassing the SAB

The CTR had a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) made up of reasonably trusted scientists who checked out main grant applications, and who gave the system the gloss of being a genuine scientific grant-making operation. However the Scientific Director of the CTR would pass certain grant applications to the Ad Hoc Committee (mainly of lawyers and some tobacco executives) who approved them without passing them through the SAB. These were then paid from a number of secret Special Accounts #3 or #4 or #5, and so became known as Special Projects. The terms Special Projects #4 (etc) and Special Accounts #4 were both used for these accounts

Information about the CTR's "Special Projects" division was revealed in the case of Susan Haines v. Liggett Group, presided over by judge H. Lee Sarokin, a landmark American legal case against the industry in which Judge Sarokin suggested that the mountains of tobacco industry documents that had been protected by the attorney/client privilege be made public. Sarokin said these documents could not be held under attorney/client privilege because doing so violated the crime fraud exception.

In Haines, the plaintiff alleged that tobacco company defendants perpetrated a public relations fraud, and presented evidence showing that the defendant tobacco companies were aware of the risks of smoking; were concerned about the publication of those risks by others and the consequent impact upon cigarette sales; and sought to discredit or neutralize the adverse information by proffering an independent research organization called the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), which claimed it would examine the risks of smoking and report its findings to the public. The plaintiff presented evidence that industry-funded research which might indict smoking as a cause of illness was diverted to CTR's secret research projects division ("Special Projects") and that the research efforts CTR publicized were primarily directed at finding causes other than smoking for the illnesses being attributed to smoking.

Industry-funded research projects which would have tended to prove smoking was a cause of illnesses, was diverted into "CTR Special Projects" division, where they were intentionally shielded by attorney-client privilege so as to prevent their public disclosure.[1][2]

Special Project Accounts

  • Special Account #3 was designated as a "File for Litigation" and was "used to maintain an office where several doctors work on an analysis of medical literature." It was paid through Edwin Jacob's firm. It was not used to fund research, but to coordinate smoking and health databases for use by the industry, especially litigating counsel.
  • Special Account #4 was used for paying fees and expenses of expert witnesses willing to prepare statements or consult (1969 to 1989) -- especially on Congressional and regulatory matters." It was first administered by Jacob & Medinger and then by Shook, Hardy & Bacon starting in 1986.
  • Special Account #5 was originally for the lawyers, and usually for larger amounts ($400K,etc)
  • Lawyers' Special Accounts was a vague term meaning that they were handled through Special Account #3, #4, #5, and separate institutional grants.

Quotes from the Final Opinion in USA vs Philip Morris USA

  1. (213 )Defendants Philip Morris, Reynolds, Lorillard, Liggett, B&W, American, CTR, and the Tobacco Institute developed a variety of joint research projects that were dubbed Special Projects. These projects assumed numerous forms and names, including CTR Special Projects, Lawyers Special Projects (projects paid through Lawyers Special Accounts), and Tobacco Institute Special Projects. These projects were exclusively funded by these particular Defendants. The main purpose of these projects, which were primarily lawyer-developed, directed, and supervised, was to obtain and develop witnesses favorable to Defendants for testimony before Congress and other regulatory bodies, for use in litigation, and for support of industry public statements.
    TIRC/CTR through its "Special Projects" allocated funding on a non-peer reviewed basis for research projects associated with litigation and witness preparation and were not designed to address smoking and health issues in a way that would be helpful to increasing public knowledge about smoking and disease.
    Special Projects were overseen by the main members of the Committee of Counsel, i.e., the General Counsels of Defendants Philip Morris, Reynolds, Lorillard, Liggett, B&W, and American. The Committee of Counsel received frequent updates on Special Projects.
    Special Projects were often managed by yet another committee called the Ad Hoc Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee consisted of in-house counsel, litigating lawyers, and other agents such as public relations and research representatives of Defendants directed to conduct long range policy planning with respect to research and witness development.
  2. (238) CTR Special Projects were a separate category of research projects funded by CTR. Unlike the grant-in-aid category of research, CTR Special Projects were not screened by the CTR Scientific Advisory Board ("SAB"); instead the process was directed by the General Counsels of Philip Morris, Reynolds, Lorillard, Liggett, B&W, and American, as well as attorneys at outside law firms including Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon. The work was specifically commissioned for possible use in litigation.
  3. (243) CTR Special Projects allowed participating tobacco manufacturers access to papers and statements by scientists before they were submitted for publication to journals or to regulatory bodies. Special Project funding also allowed Defendants to have some say in publications resulting from such funding.
  4. The Tobacco Institute failed to identify scientists as recipients of CTR Special Project funding and/or Lawyers Special Accounts, when incorporating their statements and conclusions in press releases and other publications as those of supposedly independent researchers or research results.
  5. (43) From 1966 through October 31, 1990, payments to CTR's Special Projects fund totaled $18,270,623.65, which included: $29,665.00 from American; $2,571,345.40 from B&W; $144,254.75 from Liggett; $1,638,490.68 from Lorillard; $5,837,923.49 from Philip Morris; and $6,029,255.33 from Reynolds.
  6. (184) Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan was yet another law firm which played a major advisory role as counsel for Reynolds, B&W, and CTR. Edwin Jacob attended and gave presentations at Committee of Counsel meetings; he was also involved in the administration of CTR Special Projects.
  7. (222) In a follow-up letter dated January 4, 1966, attorney John Russell of Perkins, Daniels & McCormack informed J.E. Bennett, President of Lorillard:
    "As you are aware, the lawyers have, together with the staff of Council for Tobacco Research, been reviewing our industry's research program with a view toward developing some sort of a master plan."
    Russell advised that there were three categories of research:
      A. Adversary needs (Congress,litigation, etc.);
      B. Defensive needs; and
      C. Basic research.
    He further advised that some projects would be paid through Lawyers' Special Accounts and some out of CTR. An April 12,1966 Reynolds document describing the mission of the Tobacco Institute discussed Defendants' goals including witness development in upcoming health litigation. The document stated that the authorization and purpose of CTR Special Projects and Ad Hoc Committee lawyer projects was to assure efficient handling of medical evidence and to provide the industry with witnesses for health litigation.
  8. (230) Discussions and details of the lawyers' special projects were to be kept confidential. In this same document describing what occurred at the January 4, 1978 meeting, attendees were advised not to discuss the details of Special Account No. 4 in writing, and instead discuss any questions on the matter in a phone call. No response to a letter within a given date was assumed to mean that "the matter [was] agreeable."
    In a February 9, 1978 letter to Thomas F. Ahrensfeld, General Counsel for Philip Morris; Max H. Crohn, Jr., General Counsel for Reynolds; Joseph Greer, General Counsel for Liggett; Arnold Henson, an attorney with Chadbourne & Parke; Ernest Pepples, General Counsel for B&W; and Arthur J. Stevens, General Counsel for Lorillard, William Shinn of Shook, Hardy & Bacon wrote of the "need for special areas of research with due regard for the politics of science, the importance of developing witnesses and the need for a responsive mechanism to meet unfounded claims made about tobacco." In this document, Shinn recommended approval for funding of projects through Special Account No. 4 and CTR Special Projects. Once again, recipients of this letter were reminded not to retain notes on matters of witness development. http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/rtjj0191

Documents & Timelines

[Just the most interesting or extreme examples]

1986 Feb 27 The five major law firms which service the tobacco industry for litigation purposes met to discuss the work each was doing to identify the best witnesses on 'Addiction' (their term) to be used when defending tobacco cases or giving evidence at hearings. [Of course they always denied that cigarettes were addictive .. just 'habit forming']

They reviewed evidence that about a dozen of their witnesses had given, and tried to narrow their list down to a few of the best. They said about this witness:

On February 27, 1986 a meeting was held in the offices of Shook, Hardy & Bacon regarding activities in and preparation of the addiction/dependency area (Agenda attached). In attendance for the meeting were

  • Marc Firestone and Peter Grossi (Arnold & Porter),
  • Bruce Sheffler (Chadbourne & Parke),
  • Jean McCarthy (Webster & Sheffield),
  • Cris Windham (Womble, Carlyle)
  • John Johnston, Wendell Stone and Therese Joern (Shook, Hardy & Bacon).

John Johnston and Cris Windham began the meeting by commenting on the testimony of plaintiffs' addiction experts in (two cases) Roysdon and Galbraith. John indicated that Reese Jones (Galbraith) was an effective witness regarding the psychopharmacology of nicotine, but that he lacks clinical experience in the treatment of drug addicts and was no able to field practical questions directed to him (e.g. comparisons between smoking and LSD, cocaine).
John and Cris agreed that Bernard Ellis (Roysdon) served well as an addiction witness.

[NOTE: This document would normally be prohibited from release because of lawyer confidentiality. However because this meeting constituted a conspiracy, the court has compelled production]

1986 April 7 A letter from Patrick Sirridge, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, to Alexander Holtzman, General Counsel for Philip Morris; Wayne W. Juchatz, General Counsel for Reynolds; Josiah J. Murray, III, General Counsel for Liggett; Ernest Pepples, General Counsel for B&W; Paul A. Randour, General Counsel for American; and Arthur J. Stevens, General Counsel for Lorillard, informed CTR Board members that Shook, Hardy & Bacon would take over both the administration of Special Account No. 4 from Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan and the submission of research proposals for CTR Special Projects.

According to this letter, Shook, Hardy & Bacon anticipated higher funding requests for "certain witness development expenses incurred by national litigation counsel." [2]

1988 Mar 30 A cumulative list of six Special Projects (since July 1981) paid to Theodor D Sterling Limited. He was paid $2,549,111 for these secret project from the tobacco industry's CTR to this date. He had also manged to get other funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Firemans's Fund Insurance, Lawrence Berkley Labs, NYC Health Dept, NIOSH and the Quebec Province consumer protection agency for these projects. [3]

Court-declared list of scientists

Note: this is just a partial list of those being paid via Special Project accounts. It deals only with the scientists known to the courts at the time it was compiled. Many other academics and professionals were paid via these accounts.  

Scientists funded by tobacco to fake scientific results. Payments were made through secret Special Account #4 by the Council of Tobacco Research (CTR) — a scientific front group promoting the idea that science had not proved that cigarettes were bad for your health.
Able-Lands Lauren Ackerman ACVA Atlantic George Albee
Aleph Foundation Arthur D. Little Aspen Conference Atmospheric Health Sciences
Domingo Aviado James Ballenger Alvan L Barach Walter Barker
Broda O Barnes Battelle Columbus Laboratories Battelle Memorial Institute Walter Becker
Peter Berger Rodger L Bick Billings & Gussman Richard Bing
BioResearch Laboratories Theodore Blau Irvin Blose Walter Booker
Evelyn J. Bowers Thomas H Brem Lyman A. Brewer, III Brigham Young University
Oliver Brooke Richard Brotman Barbara B Brown K Alexander Brownlee
Katherine Bryant Victor B Buhler Thomas Burford J. Harold Burn
Marie Burnett Maurice Campbell Carney Enterprises Duane Carr
Rune Cederlof Domenic V Cicchetti Martin Cline Code Consultants Inc.
Cohen, Coleghety Foundation Colucci, & Associates Computerland W Clark Cooper
A. Cosentino Daniel Cox Gertrude Cox CTR (??)
Geza De Takato Bertram D Dimmens Charles Dunlap Henry W Elliott
Engineered Energy Mgt. Inc. Environmental Policy Institute J Earle Estes Frederick J Evans
William Evans
Expenses related to Congressional Hearings in Washington D.C.
Hans J Eysenck Eysenck Institute of Psychiatry Jack M. Farris Sherwin J. Feinhandler
Alvan R Feinstein Herman Feldman Edward Fickes T. Finley
Melvin W First Edwin R Fisher R. Fisher Merritt W. Foster
Richard Freedman Herbert Freudenberger Fudenberg Arthur Furst
Nicholas Gerber Menard M. Gertler Jean Gibbons Carl Glasser
Donald Goodwin B. Greenberg Alan Griffen F. Gyntelberg
Harvard Medical School Hearings-Kennedy-Hart Bill William Heavlin Norman Heimstra
Joseph Herkson Richard J. Hickey Carlos Hilado Harold C. Hodge
Charles H Hine Hine Inc. Gary L Huber Wilhelm C Hueper
Darrell Huff Duncan Hutcheon Industry Research Liaison Committee Information Intersciences
International Consultancy International Technology Corporation International Information Institute J.B. Spalding Statistical Service
J.F. Smith Research Account Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan Joseph Janis Roger Jenkins
Marvin Kastenbaum Leo Katz Marti Kirschbaum Kravetz Levine & Spotnitz
Lawrence L. Kuper Mariano La Via H. Langston William G. Leaman
Michael Lebowitz Samuel B. Lehrer William Lerner Edward Raynar Levine
G.J. Lieberman S.C. Littlechild Eleanor Macdonald Thomas Mancuso
Nathan Mantel R. McFarland Meckler Engineering Group Milton Meckler
Nancy Mello Jack Mendelson Michigan State University Marc Micozzi
Irvin Miller K. Moser Albert Niden Judith O'Fallon
John O'Lane William Ober J.H. Ogura Ronald Okun
Ingram Olkin Thomas Osdene (Philip Morris) Peat, Marwick Main & Co. Thomas L. Petty
Pitney, Hardin & Kipp Leslie Preger Walter J. Priest R. Proctor
Terrence P. Pshler Public Smoking Research Group R.W. Andersohn & Assoc. L.G.S. Rao
Herbert L. Ratcliffe Attilio Renzetti Response Analysis Project Response Analysis Consultation
R.H. Rigdon Jay Roberts Milton B. Rosenblatt John Rosencrans
Walter Rosenkrantz Ray H. Rosenman Linda Russek Henry Russek
Ragnar Rylander George L. Saiger D.E. Sailagyi I. Richard Savage
Richard S. Schilling Schirmer Engineering Corp. S. Schor G.N. Schrauzer
Charles Schultz John Schwab Carl C Seltzer Murray Senkus (Reynolds)
Paul Shalmy R. Shilling Shook, Hardy & Bacon Henry Shotwell
Allen Silberberg N. Skolnik JF Smith Louis A. Soloff
Sheldon C Sommers (CTR) JB Spalding Charles Spielberg Charles Spielberger
Lawrence Spielvogel St. George Hospital & Medical School Stanford Research Institution Project Russell Stedman
Arthur Stein Elia Sterling Theodor Sterling Thomas Szasz
Foundation for Research in Bronchial Asthma and Related Diseases The Futures Group Paul Toannidis Chris P. Tsokos
University of South Florida Helmut Valentin Richard Wagner Norman Wall
Wayne State University Weinberg Consulting Group Roger Wilson Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Jack Wiseman George Wright John P. Wyatt J. Yerushalmy
Irving Zeidman.
Source: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-dcd-1_99-cv-02496/pdf/USCOURTS=dcd-1_99-cv-02496-4.pdf
See also http://industrydocuments.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/rtjj0191

This is not an exhaustive list.

Sourcewatch resources

External resources

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  1. Frontline Online, Public Broadcasting Service Inside the Tobacco Deal: Plaintiff v. Liggett Group
  2. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pjp91f00 Haines V. Liggett Group, Inc. 140 F.R.D. 681 (D.N.J. 1992)] Legislation/law. 1992 2 pp. Bates No. TIBU0000045/0046