Hastings Group

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

The Hastings Group is a Washington, D.C.-based public relations and consulting firm that specializes in consumer/investor education, "Capitol Hill and state lobbying, Web site hosting and management, coalition strategies and related endeavors." The Hastings Group was established in 1990. According to its Web page, Hastings Group specializes in "low-visibility, 'white hat clients.' " The clients of the The Hastings Group are focused on consumer/investor education issues, the environment, education and other interests represented on behalf of largely nonprofit and trade organization groups.

The Group's Senior Partner is Scott Staph, a former journalist and trade group representative who advocates the aggressive use of Web applications like RSS, blogging, "push" emailing, Flash-based presentations, surveys and other viral marketing tools to advance the public relations objectives of Hastings clients. [1]

Tobacco industry involvement of Hastings staff

The Hastings Group, which was founded in 1990, has never had a tobacco company client since it was created more than two decades ago. In fact, The Hastings Group has been involved in a number of prominent anti-tobacco campaigns with Calvert Investments, the American Medical Association, the Social Investment Forum, and other organizations.

In 1985, the Hastings Group's Senior Partner, Scott Staph, was Assistant to the President of the Tobacco Institute, and served as a media relations specialist and spokesman for the Institute, (one of the "trade groups") mentioned above. As such, he denied the link between smoking and disease, and worked alongside other notable Institute public relations/communications personnel and speakers including Anne Duffin, Susan Stuntz, Peter G. Sparber and Walker Merryman. In 1985, Stapf issued a public statement saying a proposal to restrict smoking on commercial airliners was "entirely unjustified." [2] [3][4][5]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources

  • The Hastings Group Web Page: http://www.hastingsgroup.com/who_we_are.cfm. This page is not accessible; THG is now in the midst of a Web site redesign. Nor is it available from arhive.org, as of 6/29/12 as the group's website disallows the use of robots.


  1. The Hastings Group Who We Are Biography, Web Page. Accessed February 3, 2010
  2. Scott Stapf, Tobacco Institute Statement of Scott Stapf, Assistant to the President Speech/presentation. April, 1985 (estimated date). 6 pp. Bates No. 2501330644/0649
  3. Tobacco Institute No Title - Meeting to Determine if Scott Stapf is sufficiently prepared to handle speakers duties Confidential Memorandum. December 3, 1985. Bates No. TIMN0350318
  4. Tobacco Institute Spokespeople List. October 28, 1985. 1 page. Bates No.TIMN0350454
  5. Internet Archive/UCSF Tobacco Industry Videos;Tobacco Institute Video of Scott Stapf Briefing, 1985 Video created by the Tobacco Institute to test whether Scott Stapf was prepared to serve as spokesman for the Institute.] Video. December 16, 1985. Bates No. TIFLTAPE053