Thomas J. Borelli

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Thomas J. Borelli was a Philip Morris Corporate Scientific Affairs Manager circa 1990. He also worked for Philip Morris Corporate Services in Brussels.

Dr. Tom Borelli Ph.D. had a doctorate in biochemistry from the New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. He is one of the best-known of the science corrupters who worked for the tobacco industry, mainly because of his roles with what became the 'Science Issues' division of Philip Morris which was, for many years, at the center of industry attempts to delay any legislation on passive smoking (ETS). One of his more notorious projects was to run a scam using the part-finished research of Luis Varela, a Yale PhD student who died unexpectedly in February 1990. This became known as the Varela Study project.

Before working for Philip Morris, Borelli was a technical specialist for the Products Safety and External Technical Affairs Division of General Foods World Wide [Note: General Foods was bought by Philip Morris.]. He also worked as a science consultant for the Committee on Science, Space and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives. (DOCS 000033)

He became the manager of Philip Morris Corporate Scientific Affairs Department in January 1989. In this position he became one of the chief architects of most of the company's (and therefore the industry's) main operations which aimed to confuse not only smoking and health research, but also to discredit science in general -- in both general terms (ridiculing epidemiology, etc) and specific scientists and their findings. The tobacco archives have thousands of documents taken from Philip Morris files, which show how destructive these malicious projects were to anti-smoking activism and legislation -- and how, by widening out their attacks on science in general, they were able to form coalitions with other industries with poisoning and polluting problems (coal, nuclear energy, chemicals, freon, formaldehyde). The climate denial movement is a direct result of these coalitions.

The signing of the Master Settlement Agreement between the States Attorneys General (followed by the Clinton Presidency) and the American tobacco companies led to the slow release of 14 million file documents. This subsequently exposed the corporate-driven Machaevellian activities of tobacco industry scientist as lobbyists and designers of scams to distort scientific fundings. Borelli transferred to work for Philip Morris Corporate Services, Inc. in Brussels (probably to get him out of reach of American lawyers). (PMI's Introduction to Privilege Log and Glossary of Names, Estate of Burl Butler v. PMI, et al, April 19, 1996)

Junk-science, funds-management business

Later Borelli joined forces with the industry's notorious junk-science promoter, Steve Milloy (of TASSC and Fox News) and they went into the funds management business. Milloy was one of the key science lobbyists in America who was vocal (and developed celebrity status) in dismissing the dangers of passive smoking and he ridiculed the idea of climate change. Borelli had run him as an undercover tobacco industry supporter during his many years with Philip Morris.

In November 2010, the records show that Tom Borelli was a managing partner with Action Fund Management, an investment advisory firm, and a portfolio manager for the Free Enterprise Action Fund.[1] He was also still listed as a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C.[2]

As of 2012 Borelli was working at the right-wing think tank FreedomWorks as a Senior Fellow and an "expert" on the coal industry.[3]

Quick overview of his positions

1978 Nov 6 -1988 Dec 31 "Product Safety & External Technical Affairs" General Foods Worldwide (aka Technical Specialist, Kraft Foods North America)
1988 June 1 Senior VP Scientific Issues at PM Corporate
1989 Jan 1 - 1990 Oct 31 Manager, Scientific Issues, Philip Morris USA
1990 Jan 1 - 1992 Oct 14 Director, Scientific Issues, Philip Morris USA
1992 Oct 15 - 1996 Oct 30 Director, Science & Environmental Policy, Philip Morris Management Corporation
1996 Nov 1 - 2001 Feb 1 Director, Science &. Policy Issues, Philip Morris Management Corporation
2001 Feb 2 - Aug ??? Director, Legislative Policy & Issues, Philip Morris Management Corporation

Articles by Thomas Borelli

The Anti-Capitalism Virus, National Policy Analysis, Feb. 2006 (a publication of the National Center for Public Policy Research)

Documents & Timelines

1983 Listed as a researcher into Double-stranded RNA in study with JM Wu of NY Medical College (also twice in 1985). This is during his work at Kraft. Published in Biochemisty International. [2]

1988 Feb 22 - 24 The Toxicology Forum has an early mention of Tom Borelli, who later became the notorious science confuser at Philip Morris USA. He is listed as "Product Safety & External Technical Affairs, General Foods Worldwide" (General Foods was then in the process of being acquired by Philip Morris) [3]

1989 Jan 1 Began working with Philip Morris as Manager of Scientific Affairs. [Note: This is not a research or R&D position (they are separate entities) -- Borelli was hired to manage of scientific counter-measures ... later termed "Scientific Issues Management".]

1989 Nov 27 A brief internal email from Tom Borelli (then Manager of Corporate Scientific Affairs for Philip Morris) to his superior Jack Nelson (Mgr, Public Affairs Research and Analysis) relates Philip Morris's early efforts to influence a scientific meeting discussing secondhand smoke held by the Toxicology Forum. [Note: ETS=environmental tobacco smoke]. Borelli had been hired to help the company plan ways to influence this type of scientific group.

This email shows that the company already had a reputation for science distortion and manipulation. Borelli describes the anger expressed by a National Cancer Institute (NCI) attendee in having Borelli/PM's attendance at the ETS session of the Toxicology Forum. His contact at the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) would have been Alex Malaspina who also worked for Coca Cola -- and who served the tobacco industry faithfully for many years.

My contact at the ILSI told me that the person from the NCI was not pleased with the Toxicology Forum. Unfortunately, the NCI representative did not stop there but went on to say that if the tox forum allows Phillip Morris to become a member, the NCI will remove itself from the advisory committee. It was also mentioned that if I want a career in the science/health issues, I should consider who I work for.
Thus if everything remains the same the tox(icology) forum is a one shot deal and I get blacklisted. I think it is time to move with the PM Co., Inc strategy for sponsorship of outside groups (remember the proposal I wrote).

Borelli discusses how PM could continue to try and influence this group, and proposes funneling sponsorship money through a PM subsidiary as a way to make it financially essential for the group to continue working with PM:

Of course that would raise the stakes of forcing these groups to accept PM and I guess they could choose to keep us out. But then they go broke. The only other option is to funnel money through KGF [Kraft General Foods, a PM subsidiary] but then we lose control of the issues.
It turns out that as a result of the KGF merger (with Philip Morris), ILSI will be losing the GF (General Foods) share. ILSI was thinking that we should make KGF International a member, so their funds remain the same.[4]

He also wanted them to make a donation to the New York Medical College, Department of Biochemistry. He had a pending appointment here as an "adjunct professor" -- and the cash grant would help make it real.

Anti-regulatory and Climate activism

Together with Steven J. Milloy, Borelli founded the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund which aimed to promote an anti-regulatory agenda. in 2005. Milloy left the organization and, on July 20, 2009, the Free Enterprise Action Fund merged with the Congressional Effect Fund. Borelli then became a portfolio manager for the Congressional Effect Fund. [4]

Borelli has been an activist at shareholder meetings opposing company involvement in climate change legislation. His targets have included General Electric, PG&E, Dow Chemical, Caterpillar, John Deere, and Duke Energy.


  1. Biography: Dr. Thomas J. Borelli, Property Rights Foundation of America, accessed November 29, 2010
  2. Kate Sheppard, "Thank You for Global Warming," Mother Jones, November 22, 2010
  3. Kevin Grandia, "FreedomWorks' Pro-Coal Lobbyist Tom Borelli is Former Professional Pro-Tobacco Scientist," Desmogblog, Dec 6, 2012.
  4. [1] "The Free Enterprise Action Fund Merged with the Congressional Effect Fund on July 20, 2009,"

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