Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
Shook, Hardy and Bacon (SHB) is a law firm based in Kansas City, Missouri. It also has offices in Geneva, Houston, London, Miami, Orange County, CA, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington D.C. For decades, the firm has represented the nation’s largest tobacco companies.
American Legislative Exchange Council and “Tort Reform”
Shook, Hardy and Bacon has long been tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Its partners have served on the Civil Justice Task Force and have been at the forefront of the "tort reform" movement.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
A partner at the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Washington D.C. offices and a chair of the law firm's Public Policy Group, Victor Schwartz, sits on the ALEC Board of Scholars. He is a long-time co-chair of ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force, as of 2011.  Schwartz has been called the "undisputed king of tort reform" (an issue promoted in ALEC model bills that are approved by the Civil Justice Task Force). He also is affiliated with the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) and the Washington Legal Foundation. In 2007, Schwartz was called one of Washington, D.C.'s 50 top lobbyists.
Mark Behrens, also an SHB partner, ias an Advisor to ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force as of 2011. Another partner, Phil Goldberg, is also an Advisor to ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force as of 2011.
Shook, Hardy and Bacon clients and ALEC priorities
According to the American Association for Justice, Shook, Hardy and Bacon has:
“played a pivotal role in the tobacco industry’s campaign to ward off litigation over smoking-related illnesses. In one memorable memo, the law firm’s attorneys advised Phillip Morris to stop testing the effects of nicotine, saying “the performing and publishing of nicotine related research clearly seems ill-advised from a litigation point of view. Not coincidentally, ALEC was heavily involved in the tobacco fight, pushing for restrictions on tobacco litigation and attacking pension funds that dared to divest in tobacco companies, while being compensated to the tune of $200,000 for its work. Similarly, when Shook, Hardy and bacon began representing the pharmaceutical industry, ALEC was suddenly every drug manufacturer’s best friend.”
SHB Lobbying and ALEC
In 2009, Shook, Hardy and Bacon attorneys Mark Behrens and Corey Schaecher traveled to North Dakota to speak with legislators and their staff about ALEC’s asbestos bill, the Innocent Successor Liability Act, without registering as lobbyists. After days of interacting with elected officials, the “North Decoder” blog revealed their lobbying activities on January 23, 2009; within hours, ALEC submitted letters of authorization permitting Behrens and Schaecher to lobby on their behalf, the same day the corporation most likely to benefit from the legislation, Crown, Cork, and Seal, also registered the two as lobbyists. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, this is the only instance in which ALEC has ever registered to lobby in any state.
As a 501(c)(3), ALEC is not permitted to participate in lobbying activities. In its 2009 IRS Form 990, in response to the question “Did the organization participate in lobbying activities” (page 3 question 4), ALEC replied “no.”
Clients of Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP have included, but are not limited to:
- Philip Morris, now Altria Group (also involved in ALEC)
- Eli Lily and Company
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- GlaxoSmithKline (also involved in ALEC)
- Guidant and Wyeth
- Sprint Nextel and
As of May 2010, clients included:
- American Home Products Corporation
- Applebee’s International, Inc.
- Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Bank of America, N.A.
- Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Inc.
- Big Twelve Athletic Conference
- British-American Tobacco Company, Ltd.
- Business Men’s Assurance Company of America
- Capstar Broadcasting Corporation
- Cargill, Inc.; Conoco Inc.
- Crititech, Inc.
- Deutsche Financial Services Corporation
- Dodson Group
- E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company
- Electric Energy, Inc.
- Eli Lilly and Company
- Farmland Industries, Inc.
- Farmland Insurance Company
- Farmland National Beef Packing, L.P.
- First Union Corporation
- Ford Motor Company
- Fort Dodge Laboratories
- G.D. Searle & Company
- GTE Corporation
- Helzberg Diamonds
- HNTB Corporation
- Interstate Bakeries Corporation
- IPC International Corporation
- Kansas City Royals Baseball Corporation
- Kraft Foods, Inc. (also involved in ALEC)
- La Petite Academy, Inc.
- Lorillard Tobacco Company
- Metricom, Inc.
- Miller Brewing Company
- Motorola, Inc.
- Nucentrix Broadband Networks, Inc.
- Orion Refi ning Corporation
- Pharmacia Corp.
- Philip Morris Companies Inc.
- Phillips Petroleum Company
- PJM Interconnection L.L.C.
- ProQuest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Sanofi -Synthelabo Inc.
- Seaboard Corporation
- Roebuck and Co.
- Smith & Wesson Corporation
- St. John’s Health System, Inc.
- Tamko Roofi ng Products, Inc.
- The Oz Entertainment Company
- Tomkins Industries, Inc.
- UMB Bank, N.A.
- Union Pacific Railroad Company
- Vulcan Materials Company
- Warner-Lambert Company
- Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories Inc.
Political Contributions and Lobbying
Open Secrets reports that in 2010, Shook, Hardy & Bacon's PAC gave $5,400 to Republicans and $500 to Democrats.
- David Kincaid Hardy
- William L. Allinder
- John F. Murphy - Chair
- Gene E. Voigts - Vice Chair
- Alicia J. Donahue - Managing Partner
- Michelle R. Mangrum - Managing Partner
- Daniel F. Molony - Managing Partner
- Frank C. Rothrock - Managing Partner
- Samuel B. Sebree II - Managing Partner
- James Shepherd - Managing Partner
- Lea A. Souza-Rasile - Managing Partner
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- "Philip Morris ETS Billing Categories -- Summary", December 1, 1990. Bates No: 2023590213-2023590299. This Philip Morris document is a bill from its law firm Shook, Hardy and Bacon of Kansas City. Lawyers describe by name "developed witnesses", or scientists willing to testify publicly on each topic affecting the company (87 pages total, scroll down).
- See, e.g., Shook, Hardy and Bacon LLP, Comments on Testimony of Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, Director, Maine Bureau of Health, document in Tobacco Library, March 12, 1999
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP Victor E. Schwartz, lawfirm biography, accessed June 6, 2011
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Civil Justice Task Force, organization website, accessed May 26, 2011
- Terry Carter Piecemeal Tort Reform, ABA Journal, December 2001
- Kim Eisler Hired Guns: The City's 50 Top Lobbyists, Washingtonian, June 1, 2007
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Inside ALEC Jan. 2011, organizational newsletter, January 2011
- American Legislative Exchange Council Inside ALEC Feb. 2011, organization newsletter, February 2011
- American Association for Justice Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America, May, 2010
- National Institute on Money in State Politics, ALEC Lobbyist Client Results, accessed July 4, 2011.
- ALEC Lied on its 2009 Tax Return, Northdecoder.com blog, Mar 28, 2011, accessed July 7, 2011.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, 2009 Form 990, Internal Revenue Service filing, July 15, 2010
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP Philip Morris ETS Billing Categories, lawfirm report, December 1990
- Mark Hansen Shook Hardy Smokes ‘Em, ABA Journal, October 1, 2008
- Bloomberg News Vonage Infringed 6 Patents of Sprint, U.S. Jury Rules, New York Times, September 26, 2007
- Steve Vockrodt Microsoft uploads Shook Hardy & Bacon to its law firm short list, Kansas City Business Journal, July 9, 2009
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, "Eric A. Buresh, Partner, law firm biography, accessed June 25, 2011
- David Yates, "HP lawyers take class certification question to appeals court," The Southeast Texas Record, September 25, 2007
- American Association for Justice ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America, issue report, May 2010
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