Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation

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The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET) is a Washington, DC based think tank that describes itself as "...dedicated to the belief that constructive, free-market economic policies are essential for the nation's economic progress, and that the private sector is the principal engine of economic growth." [1]

The IRET and the tobacco industry

The IRET has received funding from tobacco giant Philip Morris to fight various government regulations that were seen at the time as being detrimental to tobacco company profits. An October 1995 Philip Morris memo titled "public policy grants" lists the IRET as receiving $80,000 from Phillip Morris. [2]

A June 5, 1998 "Public Affairs Five Year Plan" document produced by Philip Morris lists the IRET as a "supported organization." [3]

In a Sept. 8, 1993 memo, Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Director, Roy E. Marden, discusses a "draft op-ed by Norman Ture, founder of the IRET, on why cigarette excise taxes ought not be used to fund health care reform. Norman is aiming to place this in the Wall Street Journal..." [4]

On September 27, 2003 an op/ed piece by IRET founder Norman Ture appeared in the Wall Street journal, arguing that, "there is strong evidence that cigarette smokers are not responsible for the sharp escalation of health care costs that have caused Clinton's call for reform." [5]

An August 4, 1999 Phillip Morris memo discusses "groups/individuals [who] have expressed interest in refuting CDC [Center for Disease Control] claims." The IRET's founder Norm Ture is listed in the memo as "having written a definitive study on the general fallacies of social cost argumentation ; will be further distributing that, and using it as a basis for media play." [6]

An August 17, 1999 memo from Roy E Marden,[7] Corporate Affairs for Philip Morris talks about efforts being undertaken by the IRET to prepare a "Congressional Advisory on the advertising aspects of the FDA proposal." [8]

In a September 17, 1999 Philip Morris memo on Fed lawsuit conference call, Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Director, Roy Marden states that, "will be trying to further mobilize the conservative policy group base on the theme that for Republicans the tax cut is a cause celebre, & they'd look foolish & subordinate to the President if a tax increase were to be passed. To that end I've already contacted the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation re a backgrounder to shore up the Republican base, & will be contacting other groups next wk . [9]

A December 9, 2002 Phillip Morris memo titled "Re: Third Party Public Policy Activity" lists the IRET as working with, PM Corporate Affairs Director, Roy Marden on an op/ed focusing on a proposed cigarette excise tax. [10]

An August 3, 1990 Tobacco Institute document lists IRET founder, Norman Ture as a possible "celebrity spokesman" for the Tobacco Institute's outreach efforts to, "increase public attention to the unfair nature of anti-smoking proposals by demonstrating that opposition to anti-tobacco measures is more widespread than the press -- and the antismokers -- would have the public believe." [11]

Funding

The IRET has received over $2.8 million dollars from right-wing and oil-industry backed foundations, including the Scaife Foundation, the Carthage Foundation and the Charles G. Koch Foundation. [12]

Personnel

[1]

Former:

Contact details

1710 Rhode Island Avenue NW
11th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 463-1400
Fax: (202) 463-6199
Web: http://www.iret.org

References

  1. Contact IRET, Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, accessed February 2008.