Robert Davis McCallum, Jr.

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

Robert Davis McCallum, Jr. was confirmed in July 2006 as the US ambassador to Australia. He was previously the Acting Deputy Attorney General and Associate Attorney General in the US Department of Justice.

McCallum and tobacco

In July 2005, as Acting US Deputy Attorney General, McCallum controversially decided that the Government would "reduce the amount of damages it was claiming in a landmark anti-racketeering case against cigarette companies from $180 billion to $13 billion". [1] He had previously acted as a lawyer for tobacco company R. J. Reynolds. As a result of his actions, he has been accused by the Justice Department's chief prosecutor of taking "aggressive actions" to destroy the multibillion-dollar fraud case against the tobacco companies. [2] In July 2006, the Justice Department cleared him of any wrongdoing in the case [3]

McCallum was also a classmate at Yale University and fellow member of Skull and Bones' Class of 1968 with President George Walker Bush.

History

Robert McCallum attended Yale University with George W. Bush, earning a bachelor's and a law degree. He was later awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, earning a Master's degree from Oxford University.

From 1973 to 2001, he was employed at the law firm Alston & Bird, where his specialty was civil litigation with an emphasis on appellate practice, commercial and real estate litigation and insurance class action litigation, becoming a partner before joining the US Department of Justice [4] [5]

Tobacco Company Controversy

While at law firm Alston & Bird, McCallum represented tobacco company R. J. Reynolds. But in July 2005, as Acting US Deputy Attorney General, McCallum decided that the Government would "reduce the amount of damages it was claiming in a landmark anti-racketeering case against cigarette companies from $180 billion to $13 billion". [6]

In June 2006, Sharon Eubanks, who led the US Justice Department's prosecution of the tobacco firms, said that "Robert McCallum definitely was not supportive of the trial team's efforts … He took aggressive actions to destroy our efforts when it became clear that we had firm legal bases for seeking much more meaningful remedies from the court. I should be clear about this: Robert McCallum directed the position taken on remedies sought by the United States. It did not matter to him what the evidence actually demonstrated and supported, rather, it was only the bottom line that mattered to him - the lower the better." [7]

There have been claims that McCallum acted inappropriatedly due to the influence of political donations made by tobacco companies: "The tobacco industry donated $2.7 million to the Republicans in 2004 and $938,000 to the Democrats, but Justice Department officials insisted that the decision was made on legal grounds." [8] In July 2006, the Justice Department cleared him of any wrongdoing in the case [9]

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

  • Michael Gawenda, New envoy a smart lawyer and friend of Bush, The Age, March 16, 2006.
  • Skull and Bones: "Bush-appointed Assistant Attorney General Robert McCallum, a member of Bush's 1968 Skull and Bones class, filed pleadings in U.S. District Court seeking to extend executive privilege to any government official in pardon cases; the move makes information on presidential pardons more secret than it has ever been."
  • William Birnbauer, Envoy under tobacco cloud, The Age, June 11, 2006.
  • Michael Gawenda, A friend indeed?, The Age, July 27, 2006.