Boyden Gray (Doc. Index)

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C. Boyden Gray is a long term conservative lobbyist with very close family connections to the tobacco industry, and also a major operator for tobacco and other poisoning and polluting industries through a series of think-tanks, in particular the Citizens for a Sound Economy which was founded by him with money from the Koch Brothers.

The Gray family has run RJ Reynolds Tobacco for a couple of generations:

Family history

The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was one of the original competitive companies reformed during the judicial (anti-trust) split up of the old tobacco trust (monopoly) which operated in the 1890s and early 1900s. For many years this was a moderate-sized company headed by RJ Reynolds himself, but over the generations it gradually came to be owned by an old Southern family based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In 1921, following World War I, Reynolds came under the control of Bowman Gray I (aka "Sr.") the then head of the Gray family. He made the company's fortune by introducing a pre-rolled American cigarette at a time when Egyptian tobacco was considered the best available. These new 'ready-made' cigarettes were sold under the "Camel " brand using Egyptian symbolism on the packet. even though only a fraction of the tobacco actually came from the Middle East.

Bowman Gray I was also the first to introduce mass advertising and aggressive marketing techniques, and, by the time he died of a heart attack in 1935 (most likely caused by his smoking) the company was spending $200 million a year on advertising Camels alone. The company was then run by a series of executives who had been recruited by Bowman Gray I

Bowman Gray II (aka "Jr.") took over the company a decade after World War II (He only became president in 1957). But by then it was the top American cigarette company. However his tenure came at the time the smoking-health (S&H) controversy was getting underway and he lacked the entrepreneurial abilities of his father. During his time as head of the company, Philip Morris (denigrated by the Southerners as an "upstart New York firm run by Jews" ) took the lead -- both in cigarette sales, and in organising the industry's political and public-relations countermeasures to growing anti-smoking activism.

Expansion into Food and other industries

Bowman Gray II became increasingly more concerned about the health issues than were the managers of Philip Morris, and so he started the move by RJR into other businesses, both to decrease the company's reliance on cigarette sales, and also to utilize the extraordinary profits generated by cigarettes. In 1963 the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company had revenues of $117 million, while 20 years later it was a conglomerate with $14 billion in annual revenues.

Bowman Gray Jr died in 1969 without designating an established successor or family succession path -- which left Reynolds subject to constant managerial in-fighting, and it became vulnerable to take-overs. The sons of this generation were more involved in other businesses and in playing right-wing politics

Prominent members of the Gray family were:

  • Alice Shellton Gray; who founded the Human Betterment League (an organisation promoting eugenics)
  • Gordon Gray; a businessman, newspaper-owner, radio network owner, and Secretary of War, who also established the Bowman Gray Medical School and donated heavily to Wake Field and Duke Universities (both of which had long links to RJ Reynolds). He was also associated with the eugenics movement (Birthright Inc, and Sterilization League of America), and he was a member of the powerful Council of Foreign Relations, and politically involved with the Republican Party. He was the father of C Boyden Gray.
-- White House legal counsel for President Reagan and Bush I
-- Adviser to Bush II.
-- partner and corporation lobbyist through Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, later Boyden Gray & Associates
-- chairman/CEO of the Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens for a Sound Environment and a number of associated think-tanks, policy institutes and pseudo-grassroots organisations.
[Note: He has long worked at the top of the Republican Party, and he provided political connections and support for the tobacco industry. As a lobbyist, he had been a vigorous defender of other large industry groups in support of unfettered free-enterprise, and is a recognised climate denier/lobbyist on behalf of major energy companies. There is now a fourth generation, with Bernard Gray, and Burton C Gray Jr.]

Documents and Timeline

• Clayland Boyden Gray did not want to be called Clay Gray, so he uses only the first initial went to Harvard. He was first in his class at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He then clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren.


1990-91 During his years in government Gray helped negotiate the 1991 Clean Air Act amendments. As a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr he has done legal work and lobbying for utility and drug companies


1992 Mar 2 Mayada Logue of Philip Morris reports to her boss Steve Parrish that she has had discussions with John D Graham of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis about his meetings with tobacco lobbyists Thorne Auchter [ex OSHA] and C Boyden Gray [CSE - Bush I and II counsel].

Thorne Auchter was paid by Philip Morris to lobby for an Executive Order making Risk Assessment mandatory for all of the health and environmental regulatory agencies.

Lunch meeting with John Graham who gave me specifics on two meetings he had. One with Thorne Auchter concerning the Executive Order and the other with Boyden Gray, President Bush's General Council. John Graham is writing a book about the unintended risks we take when attempting to avoid other risks. There will be a chapter on smoking in the book. He said that most of the information in that chapter is from the Surgeon General's Report and asked if we would review it for accuracy. Bob Pages has agreed to review it.

Bob Pages was an in-house scientific lobbyist (title "Senior Scientist) and director of the PR division known as "Science & Technology" [2]