Kenneth F Boehm

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Kenneth F Boehm, usually known just as Ken Boehm, is a Republican lawyer, fund-raiser and zealot who has been financially supported in many of his activities by the tobacco industry.

His associates are Paul Dietrich a closely associated Republican lobbyist who also worked for the tobacco industry and Peter Flahery a life-long partner. This group were founders and operators of the Fund for a Conservative Majority (with Jack Kem ) which was the major fund-raiser for Reagan's Presidency, and also with the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) co-founded by Flarery and Boehm in 1991. Boehm was the full-time 'Chairman' and Flaherty the 'President' of the NLPC. Dietrich also ran the National Center for Legislative Research which worked in harmony.

Ken Boehm was also Chairman of "Citizens for Reagan" in the 1980s and a key administrative assistant to Christopher Smith,(R-NJ). His Washington background includes service as Legislative Director of Howard Jarvis’ American Tax Reduction Movement as well as being treasurer of one of the ten largest political action committees.

DISAMBIGUATION: Don't confuse Ken Boehm, Republican lawyer-lobbyist and professional advocate and lobbyist (who later promoted smokeless tobacco) with John Boehner, Republican majority leader and Representative from Ohio who worked for the tobacco industry and handed out checks openly in Congress on behalf of industry lobbyists. They both worked for the same paymaster, but in different ways.

Overview of his activities

In the 1990's Ken Boehm served as the Counsel to the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, the federal program which ostensively provides legal assistance to the poor. He appears to have systematically set about destroying its effectiveness.

In 1997, Boehm authored the Burton Amendment which became law. It requires the Legal Services Corporation and its grantees for the first time to disclose the identities of the parties they sue.

In addition to his legal career, he spent five years as an award winning radio talk show host on Philadelphia’s WWDB. His broadcasting experience includes being a commentator on National Public Radio and guest interviews on more than 500 radio and TV programs."


In 1993, the NLPC was plaintiff in the successful lawsuit to open the personal records of Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force. [See the 1996 book by NLPC President Peter Flaherty entitled The First Lady: A Comprehensive View of Hillary Rodham Clinton published by Vital Issues Press.]  []

Boehm retained his association with the tobacco industry to a period, long past the time when their activities were exposed through the release of millions of tobacco industry documents. He simply moved over to the promotion of smokeless (chewing) tobacco.
He published an article in December 2004

Stuff this in your pipe — and don’t smoke it. by Ken Boehm

Anti-tobacco zealots were no doubt pleased when the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that it will ban the use of all tobacco products on its campuses starting January 1. Indoor smoking is, of course, already prohibited at HHS (just as it is at most office buildings), but the new ban includes even such smokeless tobacco products as chewing tobacco and snuff, and will eliminate the previously designated smoking areas outside HHS buildings.

   Superficially, this might sound like a good idea. After all, smoking is bad for you, right? That is true. And many smokers who are trying to quit will tell you that themselves. But in truth, this new policy ignores a growing body of scientific research about smokeless tobacco. For years, many governmental and health-advocacy organizations have lumped cigarettes and smokeless-tobacco products together and asserted that they pose identical health risks. But the facts don’t support such a conclusion. While not completely safe, smokeless-tobacco products are vastly less dangerous than cigarettes, and they can provide a helpful bridge to smoking cessation for smokers who want to quit.


Legal Services Corporation

From the Reagan presidency on many Republican zealots tried to block the functions of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) which provided legal representation to the poor. Boehm and Peter Flahery were highly active in this area; and in fact Boehm ran the Office of Policy Development of LSC under Ronald Reagan

Reagan cut the LSC budget and exhibited some moderate objections to the LSC, but later during the Republican administrations the budget sneaked up again. Bush tried to reform the organisation and failed: the problem was that the LSC was, in fact, 300 separate organisations each with its own board and staff.

The Republican objection was that the LCS provided group ("class actions") representations, and this was tantamount to promoting Marxism. Furthermore it has spent well over $2 trillion since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and the main beneficiiaries were the (' Communist-dominated'!) National Lawyers Guild.

During the Clinton Administration the LSCs acted as "public interest lawfirms" with the hated Hillary Clinton at the head. It was claimed that they promoted ('coerce women into...') abortion; also that they supported tennants associations (public housing) which were premises used by drug 'dealers'.

As late as 2004, the Conservative Roundtable on TV, run by Howard Phillips (who worked for Richard Nixon) was working with Boehm in trying to block the Legal Services Corporation. [3]

Documents and Timeline

1983 July Tobacco lobbyist Paul G. Dietrich asks for a donation of $30,000 from the Tobacco Institute to support his National Center for Legislative Research He provides a budget and lists the conservatives and Congressional tobacco friends associated with the NCLR. The Board of Directors consists of Jack Kemp, Samuel G Landfather, Paul G Dietrich Robert Heckman, Dr Thomas Field, Ronald Henges and Kenneth F Boehm. [4]

1984 A Profile of National Legal and Policy Center NCLR shows that at this time it had 10 staff, (6 professionals and 4 support) with a 1983 budget of $950,000. It had been founded in 1991 with a pump priming injection of $100,000 from Richard Mellon Scaife

1991 Ken Boehm who was the Chairman of Citizens for Reagan, co-founded the National Legal and Policy Institute with Peter Flaherty. Boehm took the title of Chairman, while Flaherty became President. Richard Mellon Sciafe gave the NLPC $100,000.

1995 Fall: CATO Institute's Policy Review article by Kenneth F Boehm and Peter T Flaherty, "Legal Disservices Corp: There Are Better Ways to Provide Legal Aid to the Poor," [5]

1995 Jan 17 Richardson Ziebart Consulting memo to RJ Reynolds Tobaco headed Ideas for Working with National Legal and Policy Center The NLPC is being used as an attack-dog, trying to challenge the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health by using the FACA. [Note: The reference to FACA (PHS's Interagency Committee on Smoking & Health outcome) is that this act that allows the Department of Health to form advisory committees.] The memo makes it clear that Peter Flaherty and Ken Boehm are trying to 'get' Kessler. (The head of the FDA)

"Peter and Ken believe that Kessler's action probably violated Federal guidelines relating to establishing policy with private groups and individuals without proper public debate.
Our next step is to get back together with them in the next week or so to plot out a specific strategy for further exploring the above issues and other pertinent areas. We believe there is a great opportunity here and will keep you apprised as we progress. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments."

The tobacco company obviously did enlist them.

In the tobacco archives there are:[6]

  • 72 referenced documents for the "National legal and Policy Center" including copies of the NLPC correspondence by Boehm.
  • 62 referenced documents for "Ken Boehm" (many duplicates)


1996 May 3 Boehm is still "chairman of the NLPC while Michael J Nelson is Project Director. Nelson sends Boehm a list of FDA staffers believed to be involved in tobacco regulation (followed by 11 pages of detailed biographies of FDA staff) This is the work of a professional researcher or private detective. (It has been copied to the files of RJ Reynolds).

Each biography lists statements the FDA staffer may have made about tobacco dangers; industry information about past dealings; and it provides details as to which other FDA problems they have worked on (presumably to enlist other industries that the FDA staffer has policed) [8]

1999 May 4 A Philip Morris contact report is enthusiastic about using the NLPC because the

"NLPC also ran a program called, FDA Watch. This program monitored David Kessler in the last two years of his term. They round many irregularities at FDA through the enthusiastic use of the Freedom of Information Act.
This is an effective organization. They sent a letter to Senator Robb opposing the Federal Lawsuit.

[Note: The letter was opposing the Clinton Administration suing the tobacco industry]. [9]

1999 May 27 Philip Morris meeting report says:

The anti-tax group, Citizens Against Unfair Taxation (CAUT), was represented by Dan Rene. They have been very effective in the past by mailing letters in opposition to the 55-cent hike proposed by President Clinton. Peter Flaherty, representing Citizens for Reform (CFR) was also present. CFR is an organization that opposes the growth of government and the like. Like CAUT, Mr. Flaherty has sent letters [for the tobacco industry to congressmen] in the past and has a particular interest in the Federal Lawsuit.

Ken Boehm from the National Legal and Policy Center was also present . He has a keen interest in the FDA as NLPC ran "FDA WATCH'" for the last two years of Mr . Kessler's tenure at the FDA . NLPC is also the organization that successfully sued the Health Care Task Force of Mrs. Clinton's.


2002 Mar The NLPC was obviously now 'friendly' with the Smokeleass Tobacco Council,

2002 Apr 15 An article by Joseph A D'Agostino:

The NLPC, a watchdog group, has long trained its fire on another middy-grounded entity, the government-funded Legal Services Corp. (LSC) . The LSC, which is supposed to provide legal assistance to poor people, perennially attracts criticism from conservatives for pursuing left-wing causes and wacky class-action lawsuits paid for with taxpayer money.

"The history of the Legal Services Corp. is a history of failed attempts at reform," NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm testified before a House subcommittee chaired by Rep. Bob Barr (R.-Ga.) on February 28. "Much of the debate in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973 over pending legislation to establish the Legal Services Corp. dealt with restrictions to prevent a repeat of the political and ideological activities associated with the legal services program which existed under the Office of Economic Opportunity.

"The controversies that have plagued the federal legal services program remain the same. The central criticism has been that activist lawyers have used the program to advance a political and ideological agenda."

Boehm went on to detail how the LSC has circumvented restrictions imposed upon it by Congress in 1996. Among other measures, Congress forbid LSC grantees to take on class-action suits, encourage political activities, or resent aliens not in the country. All 11 members of the LSC's board are up for nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate, said Boehm. "The real issue with Legal Services is, will it be a Bush board or a Daschle board?" he said. "We would like to see the 1996 reforms enforced, and that means that the President must appoint a board that will enforce them." During the first Bush Administration, "Sen. Kennedy never held a hearing on any of Bush's nominees," he said. "The President kept recess-appointing them."

The NLPC is also a clearinghouse for information on union corruption and sends out periodic reports with comprehensive summaries about the never-ending series of union corruption scandals. A new, potentially huge, scandal is now developing, said Boehm and NLPC President Peter Flaherty. A federal grand jury and the AFL-CIO are investigating transactions by the members of the board of insurance company Ullico, which may have allowed the board members to profit at the expense of the company. At least 12 current or former building trade union presidents are members of the board, and so is AFL-CO President John Sweeney. The potential scandal includes an investment in now-bankrupt Global Crossing.

Part of the problem behind incessant union corruption, said Flaherty, is that unions' disclosure forms are 'vague.' And, said Boehm, "Unions don't have to use generally accepted accounting practices," as corporations must.

Any criticism of unions by conservatives must include a mention of Communications Workers of America v. Beck, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that Workers cannot be forced to fund unions' political activities. But many union members do not know that, because Beck has never been enforced. "The best way is for Congress to pass a statute, but that isn't going to happen," said Flaherty. Essentially, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) must enforce the decision -- something that only the President could trigger with good appointments.

Right now, NLPC is helping the get -- Jesse-Jackson campaign. "Jackson's approach is akin to yakuza and other classic protection rackets: You hand over money, or we'll carry out our threat," Flaherty wrote in a September 2001 article. "His method of retaliation? Playing the race card."

"We've heard talk of a RICO suit," said Boehm. "We could see how it might qualify. We even know of a black minister who says he was sold out by Jackson."[11]

2003 Sep 22 After years of taking Philip Morris's silver, the NLPC has had a change of heart about regulation -- but it is caught up in a quandry: Flaherty now has to play Mr Clean -- the anti-Big Tobacco activist.

Republicans and tobacco-state lawmakers, who in the past beat back plans to regulate tobacco products, are joining forces with the biggest cigarette manufacturer in supporting new strict oversight of the industry. "This is clearly a very different kind of momentum than what we've had before," said Wendy Selig, a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society.

A Senate committee on Thursday is expected to consider a tobacco regulation bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration new authority to regulate tobacco. Tobacco-state lawmakers are backing such a measure in exchange for financial help for cash-strapped tobacco farmers. Republicans now see that Philip Morris USA, a top party contributor and maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has reversed course and favors regulation.

"Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) , today criticized an emerging deal on Capitol Hill that would provide tobacco growers a one-time payout between $13 billion and $16 billion, while at the same time bringing tobacco products under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Pursuant to the deal orchestrated by Philip Morris lobbyists, tobacco state legislators would drop their longstanding opposition to FDA oversight of tobacco, if anti-tobacco legislators would support the bailout.

Flaherty said.
"Let me explain this unholy alliance. After years of fighting FDA oversight, Philip Morris, the dominant tobacco manufacturer, now sees the proposed FDA advertising and marketing rules as a useful tool to punish its competitors and increase its market share. This is a classic case of a big company manipulating government regulation to squeeze its competitors.

The NLPC is now the farmers friend - promoting a government buyout of tobacco quotas. (Chewing tobacco doesn't use much)

"Money from a quota buyout would enable older farmers to retire. Younger farmers, many of whom lease quotas, could use the buyout to pay off debts and switch crops, if they can find profitable alternatives. Both outcomes would serve public purposes well." [12]

2004 Mar Ken Boehm of the National Legal & Policy Center (NLPC) filed a request under the Data Quality Act (DQA) for correction of a document from the National Institute of Aging (NIA) that contained, what they said was misinformation, regarding the relative risks of Smokeless Tobacco versus cigarettes.

The request resulted in a change of wording from the original text:

"Some people think ST (chewing tobacco and snuff), pipes, and cigars are safer than cigarettes. They are not."

The revised wording from NIA was:

"Some people think ST (chewing tobacco and snuff), pipes, and cigars are safe. They are not."

The claim that Smokeless Tpbacco products are not "safe" is a tactic that can be traced back to the 1986 Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Education Act, which required as one-of-three warnings on all Smokeless Tobacco products: '"This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes." [13]

2004 Dec 24 A Denver Business Journal article is headlined: "Questions HHS Stance On Banning All Tobacco Use."

Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, questioned the rationale of the US Department of Health and Human Services'mban on the use of all tobacco products on its campuses starting January 1, because the measure implies that smokeless products pose the same health risks as cigarettes, and ignores a growing body of scientific research about smokeless tobacco. [14]

2005 Sep 22 The NLCP seems to be attacking the National Institute for Aging again.

In response to a formal complaint lodged by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) of Virginia on March 16th, the National Institute of Aging (NIA) in Wisconsin sent a letter on June 29th to the NLPC stating that the institute has agreed to revise its Age Page website as well as printed literature entitled Smoking : Its never too late to stop. The NLPC had accused the NIA of disseminating inaccurate information regarding the relative risks of smokeless tobacco products and violaring the Data Quality Act. [15]

2007 Jul 24 Boehm was writing for the conservative corporate newspaper, Washington Times: Weird science: Kennedy, Waxman versus the American Cancer Society
This is an attack on the tobacco industry's main political enemies, Ted Kennedy + Henry Waxman. He boasts:

The National Legal and Policy Center has waged a constant battle for accuracy and ethics in government and public life, often relying on the federal Data Quality Act to get agencies to correct misinformation. Since 2004, for example, NLPC has filed three objections to the Department of Health and Human Serivces' repeated cliam in consumer education materials that smokeless tobacco is not safer than cigarettes.

He then accuses the two Democrats of trying to put a muzzle on the FDA. [16]

2009 Feb 3 NLPC Report: "The center's nonprofit status allows it to keep its funding private. Flaherty wouldn't disclose his donor list but acknowledged that the biggest source of funds comes from foundations associated with Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire heir to the Mellon fortune and well-known supporter of conservative public policy organizations. Scaife's donations make up less than 10 percent of the center's $1.4 million annual budget, with the lion's share of the rest coming from individuals and averaging $200, Flaherty said.

He also fed the media information via via a special channel to journalists at Murdoch's New York Post] [17]