Woodward & McDowell
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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
Woodward & McDowell is a political public relations firm that works on behalf of the nation's top corporations to help them do "grassroots" organizing and push through ballot measures. Clients include the California Chamber of Commerce, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, ConocoPhillips, the Western States Petroleum Association. It promotes itself as a "ballot measure and issue advocacy" firm.
Woodward & McDowell has assisted the tobacco industry in defeating measures designed to safeguard public health.
Helping the tobacco industry defeat clean indoor air law
Woodward & McDowell helped the tobacco industry defeat Proposition 5, the California Clean Indoor Air Act of 1978, which was the first attempt in the U.S. to pass a statewide clean indoor air law using the initiative process. Proposition 5 would have required smoking and no-smoking sections in workplaces, public places, and restaurants. The initiative petitions were circulated in late 1977 and early 1978, and the initiative was voted on in the November 1978 election. Brown and Williamson, working with the other tobacco companies, played a major role in defeating Proposition 5. To fight measure, the tobacco companies formed a front group called Californians for Common Sense, and hired Woodward & McDowell to manage the campaign to defeat Proposition 5.
The campaign plan to defeat Proposition 5 that Woodward & McDowell created for the tobacco industry emphasized the need to focus away from health and on to the idea of governmental intrusion into individual rights. A 1978 Brown & Williamson memo commenting on bills in California to regulate indoor smoking reported that, "The industry is getting professional advice to avoid the confrontation issues of smoker's health and nonsmoker's health. Instead Woodward & McDowell are saying stick exclusively to a campaign built around arrest, expensive walls, added tax costs, fines, forced segregation and adult choice and democracy of the market place."
Woodward & McDowell
111 Anza Boulevard, Suite 406
Burlingame, California 94010
- Woodward & McDowell Woodward & McDowell Web page (home page), accessed February 12, 2010
- Woodward & McDowell Past Clients Web page, accessed February 12, 2010
- Arthur J. Stevens, Lorillard No title Letter. 1 page. January 17, 1979. Bates No. 3622697
- Stanton A. Glantz, et al. The Cigarette Papers Chapter 10: Environmental Tobacco Smoke and the Nonsmokers' Rights Movement, Page 417, 420 and 421, 19998, University of California Press
- J.S. Stockdale CAMPAIGN PLAN PREPARED FOR THE TOBACCO INSTITUTE BY WOODWARD AND MCDOWELL, Report. 5 pp. August 25, 1977. Bates No. 2024372962/296
- David Tannenbaum Buying Votes, Buying Friends:Tobacco industry political influence Multinational Monitor, Wednesday, July 1 1998
- Ernest Pepples, Brown & Williamson ETTER CONCERNING CALIFORNIA STRATEGY PREPARED BY LEGAL COUNSEL TO TOBACCO COMPANY RENDERING LEGAL ADVICE TO TI EMPLOYEE AND COPIED TO TOBACCO COMPANY EMPLOYEES AND IN-HOUSE LEGAL COUNSEL TO TOBACCO COMPANIES, 2 pages, February 21, 1978. R.J. Reynolds Bates No. 513884432/4433