David A Weeks

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

David A Weeks was a Boise Idaho physician who had a flourishing sideline as a tobacco lobbyist. He was used extensively by the Tobacco Institute as a general witness who was willing to sell out his ethical standards and to claim that second-hand smoke had little or no ill effects on non-smokers.

He was also a regular member of the travelling circus of TI spokesmen and tobacco lawyers, who travelled around the regional centers in the USA accompanied by a few compliant scientists and miscellaneous IAQ testing technicians from companies who made their money performing sham indoor air quality testing and pronouncing that the offices were 'sick' and needed maintenance on the HVAC systems. They would descend on a town, have one or more organised radio interviews, brief the media, talk one-to-one to legislators, or present a local ordinance hearings to prove that tobacco smoke wasn't the major problem in offices and other meeting venues.

Weeks was also one of the few non-academic members in Georgetown University's notorious IAPAG group which contracted health academics wholesale to the tobacco industry whenever it needed legislative or court-room support or witnesses in a court-case. He also partnered with of another science-for-sale professional S James Kilpatrick in a company called Per-Med Corp.

Documents & Timeline

1987 Sep 15 Agenda for the Tobacco Institute's "College of Tobacco Knowledge" which trains industry disinformation staff in how to counter industry attacks. David Weeks MD is in attendance. This presumably means that he was a relatively new recruit. [2]

1988 Sept The check register of the Tobacco Institute shows payments for this month (sometimes fortnightly):

  • Hill & Knowlton $86,386 - Public Relations
  • Paul Hastings Janofsky - $33,998 (15th $8,945)
  • Allen Kassman - $1,395 (ex Philip Morris) - experienced scientist for sale functionary
  • Fleishman Hillard - $18,988 (15th $12,500) They ran the media tours.
  • Katzenstein Associates -$1,850 (Alan W Katzenstein) biostatistical consultant and general science-writer,
  • Smokers Rights Alliance $19,231
  • James Savarese - (12th $20,000) (16th $26,800) running the Labor Management Committee
  • ACVA Atlantic - (7th $14,919) (15th $57,494) Gray Robertson air testing
  • Jolly Anne Davidson - $2,353 (28th $2,789) Schools and education lobbyist
  • Per-Med Corp - $14,887 (David A Weeks or S. James Kirkpatrick) mercenary lobbyists
  • TI Staff: Samuel D Chilcote Jr $5,000 ((26th $6,476). Dennis Dyer $2,547, Karen Fernicola $272 (16th $1,074, [Walker Merryman]] $1,090, Susan Stuntz $781
  • Contract TI Staff: Gold & Liebengood Inc $20,286 (Howard S Libengood), Sparber & Associates $28,227 (21st $13,333) Peter Sparber


1988 to 1993 Diana L Avedon at the Tobacco Institute ran a major media-tour operation called the Scientific Witness Teams. This operation circulated variable teams of TI staff spokespersons, contracted sham air-testing company staff, one or more Covington & Burling lawyers, and other more specialied tobacco lobbyists. They were used in two ways:

  1. As fire-fighters, to turn up in some town or region when problem about public or workplace smoking was arising, and do media interviews.
  2. To make regular media tours through various parts of the country to promote Tobacco Institute propaganda.

They were paid to visit major cities in each state, where the Regional Tobacco Institute staff would have arranged radio, TV or news coverage, and set up meetings with key officials at the local councils, counter air-ports (smoking bans) and meet with the editorial boards of media outlets. This is Diana Avedon's list of the key contractors on these group media-tours. It had the advantage of each participant getting to know the others, which introduced a collegial element to their shared message distortions.

1993 Jun 1   TI list of "Witness/Expert Appearances Scientific/Legal/Spokespersons."
Thomas Lauria
Assistant to the Tobacco Institute President,
Mike Buckley
lawyer-lobbyist with Covington & Burling,
Simon Turner
IAQ witness/executive of ACVA/HBI,
Gio Batta Gori
Corrupt science researcher at Nat. Cancer Institute
He ran the Tobacco Working Group for the industry until fired.
Bill Wordham
Tobacco Institute's Media spokesperson
Gray Robertson
Partner in ACVA then owner of HBI
Lifelong contractor for sham air-testing with TI
Peter Binnie
owner/partner of ACVA and HBI
He sold his share of HBI to Gray Robertson
Larry Holcomb
Ran sham air-testing company (airlines)
Holcomb Environmental Services
John C Fox
Lawyer lobbyist for TI via Pettit & Martin
Later also through Pillsbury Madison & Sutro
Richard Silberman
Healthy Buildings International (HBI)
spokesman on 'sick buildings'
Walter Merryman
TI Public Relations, then Issues Management
Later VP at the Tobacco Institute.
David Remes
legal strategist from the main law firm
Covington & Burling (C&B)
Frank Powell
National Energy Management Institute
(NEMI) organiser who worked for TI
Melinda L Sidak
C&B lawyer; strategist in science corruption
Worked on recruitment of scientists.
Rudy Cole
He ran restaurant front-group RSVP
He organised lobby against smoking bans.
Larry Halfen
Environmental Consultants; TI witness
An attached 1991 Witness List includes
Brennan Dawson
Media relations at the Tobacco Institute
Jeff Seckler
Exec. in charge of HBI's sham air testing
He later turned whistleblower.
Jim Goold
Lawyer sent on media tours by the Tobacco institute to train witnesses.
Joe Pedelty
worked for Holcomb Environmental Services
Did sham air-testing for TI
Jolly Ann Davidson
NASBE school/educational lobbyist,
ran "Helping Youth Decide" program for TI
Dick Wagner
GMU economics professor (Tollison aide)
Key in cash-for-comments network
Bernadette Davidson
lawyer and media lobbyist with John Fox
She was retained by TI as IAQ witness
Walter J Decker
Ran Toxicology Consultancy Services
Provide witness services for the TI
Also attached is a 1990 Witness List (page 35) includes
Bill Orzechowski
TI Director of Economic Issues
He was ex-US Chambers of Commerce
Mike Davis (Dallas Texas)
Prof of Econ. and Business Management
Witness for the Tobacco Institute.
Morris Coats
Prof Economics West Virginia.
Worked in cash-for-comments net.
The main long document has this 1989 witness list attached with the addition (to above)
Dwight Lee
economics professor and leader of
cash-for-comments economists network
David A Weeks
Boise Idaho physician, TI Witness
Partner of S James Kilpatrick in Per-Med Corp.
Alan Kassman
Ex tobacco industry scientist. Retrained
to provide legislative and media briefings.
Robert Tollison
GMU professor of economics who ran the
cash-for-comments economists network
Richard Wagner
Economics professor and TI witness.
Tollison's understudy in c-for-c network
Jack E Peterson
Industrial hygienist; ran Peterson Assoc.
Also worked for Dow Chemicals
Bestype Consulting Corporation
they ran TI's "Sick Building Syndrome"
and "Tight Building Syndrome" seminars.
Dennis A Vaughn
Lawyer-lobbyist for Tobacco Institute,
Associate of John Fox at P&M and PM & Sutro
The 1988 List includes most of above with the additions of:
Alan W Katzenstein
Biostatistician with Katzenstein Assoc.
Witness for Tobacco Institute,
David Brenton
Ran the Smokers Rights Alliance
His wife Sue had her focus on airline smoking.

[Numerous other documents detail the day-to-day organization of these groups spread over five or more years.]

1999 Sep

The RICO Case against Tobacco.

1999 Sep to 2005 Sep: The USA's DC District Court issued its Amended Final Opinion in the Racketeering Influences and Corrupt Organisation (RICO) case against the US tobacco companies. This 2000 page document includes:
  • ""155.:: A May 1, 1972 memorandum from Fred Panzer, a public relations specialist with the Tobacco Institute, to Tobacco Institute President Horace Kornegay began by describing past industry action:
      For nearly twenty years, this industry has employed a single strategy to defend itself... it has always been a holding strategy, consisting of creating doubt about the health charge without actually denying it, advocating the public’s right to smoke without actually urging them to take up the practice... encouraging objective scientific research as the only way to resolve the question of health hazard.
    Panzer went on to discuss a proposed public relations campaign -- The Roper Proposal -- designed to persuade the public that "[c]igarette smoking may not be the health hazard that the anti-smoking people say it is because other alternatives are at least as probable" (emphasis omitted). The proposed campaign would suggest two such possible alternatives:
    (1) the constitutional hypothesis, i.e., smokers differ importantly from nonsmokers in terms of heredity, constitutional makeup, lifestyle, and stress; and
    (2) the multi-factorial hypothesis, i.e., other factors such as air pollution, viruses, food additives, and occupational hazards contribute to diseases for which smoking is considered a cause.