Robert Packwood

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

Robert Packwood was a former Senator from Oregon who drew opposition from the industry due to his promotion of increases cigarette taxes and measures requiring stronger health warning labels on cigarette packages and advertisements.

As Chairman of the Senate Finance committee he had been requested by President Ronald Reagan to come up with a scheme to increase the money available to the government, while still preserving the president's promise not to increase income taxes. (Reagan was actually reducing the tax paid by the wealthy at that time)

Packwood proposed to increase excise taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, fuel, confectionery, etc. under what became known as the Packwood tax plan. When the screaming from the cigarette, alcohol, energy and confectionery industries had stopped, Packwood realised that -- even if his economic measures had failed, he had a very useful political threat to hold over these industries.

RELATED ENTRIES
Freedom of Expression Foundation
Packwood tax plan
Craig R Smith
Robert Packwood
Sunrise Research Corporation
UNRELATED ENTRIES
Freedom of Expression Institute
Freedom of Expression Project

He therefore set up a couple of think-tanks which would work on behalf of some of the same industries -- by blocking threats to ban tobacco advertising -- provided they made generous donations to keep his think-tanks alive. This highly successful attempt at industrial-scale blackmail worked effectively via the Institute for Freedom of Communication and the Freedom of Expression Foundation

See Packwood tax plan for the early material, then the Freedom of Expression Foundation

Documents & Timeline

Only the final stages of this saga ...


1990 Jun 12 Friends of Commercial Speech, Inc (512 Eleventh Street, SE Washington --- Fax (202) 544 0966) are circulating to the Tobacco Institute a computerized form letter trying to promote the idea that they are under attack from Al Gore and Joseph P Kennedy II. to

  1. Professional athletic organizations
  2. Olympic sports
  3. Amateur sports organization.

This operation is being run by


1992 Oct 1 Arthur Stevens of Lorillard writes to Smith, expressing the industry's gratitude for his actions on behalf of advertisers. [2]


1992 Nov The Washington Post carried a story which detailed claims against Senator Packwood for sexual abuse and assault by ten women, chiefly former staffers and lobbyists.[1]


1992 Dec Packwood defeated Democrat Les AuCoin in the elections. Publication of the Washington Post sex-abuse story has been delayed; Packwood had denied the allegations. and the Post had not gathered enough of the story at the time.

As the situation developed, Packwood's diary became an issue. Wrangling over whether the diary could be subpoenaed and whether it was protected by the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination ensued.

He did turn over 5000 pages to the Senate Ethics Committee but balked when a further 3200 pages were demanded by the committee. It was discovered that he had edited the diary, removing what were allegedly references to sexual encounters and the sexual abuse allegations made against him.

Packwood then made what some of his colleagues interpreted as a threat to expose wrongdoing by other members of Congress.

The diary allegedly detailed some of his abusive behavior toward women and, according to a press statement made by former Nevada Senator Richard Bryan, "raised questions about possible violations of one or more laws, including criminal laws." [2]

1995 Mar 3 Arthur Stevens of Lorillard sending Craig Smith a check for $2,000 representing Lorillard's

"1995 contribution to the Freedom of Expression Foundation ... for your efforts in support of First Amendment and related commercial free speech and advertising matters." [3]

[Note this has ben ccd to The Honorable Robert Packwood , US Senate. They needed to let him know they were still paying his bribe.]

1995 Sep 7 Senator Packwood has finally announced his resignation from the Senate after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled for ethical misconduct. Soon after leaving the Senate, Packwood founded the lobbying firm Sunrise Research Corporation. The former senator used his expertise in taxes and trade and his status as a former Senate Finance Committee chairman to land lucrative contracts with numerous clients, among them Northwest Airlines, Freightliner Corp. and Marriott International Inc


1995 Nov 1 Josh Slavitt of Philip Morris is memoing his group over a San Francisco adverting ban they were fighting. He lists the allies that can be recruited to support their defense:

  • From the ad expert side, Michelle Wolfe is in the Marketing Department at University of California, San Francisco campus — she testified in Contra Costa and I understand did a good job. I will see if she is free. If not, her former PhD professor, Tim Meyer, has also appeared at similar hearings in other states.
  • Craig Smith - Freedom of Expression Foundation - is located in California (310-598-3444). He also teaches First Amendment Rights at University of Southern California. His organization can testify and he is more than willing to help out.
  • American Advertising Federation's Western Region office is also Headquartered in Los Angeles. I'll call them and ask that they get in touch with you. Their Executive Director should also be called on to testify.


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  1. Robert Packwood in Wikipedia
  2. See Robert Packwood in Wikipedia