Saturday, April 04, 2015

Part II: The Etzioni Project Finds a Home

In Part I, the bunnies met the protagonists, the Tobacco Institute, Amiai Etzioni, a noted sociologist on the hunt for funding, and at the end the National Chamber Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce.  As we left them in late April 1990, the Tobacco Institute had agreed to fund Etzioni's proposal using the National Chamber Foundation as a beard.

In May  the Tobacco Institute Information Center started to pull documents for the Etzioni project

Articles on animal rights, record obscenities actions, and censorship are pulled daily for the Etzioni Project . Jamie Moeller and Jerry Johnson from O&M have sent materials over on these and related topics 
And Etzioni put together a proposal which was submitted in June to the National Chamber Foundation.  The impression Eli gathered from the LTDL documents is that Etzioni was the one who found the beard, but there is no direct proof of this in the LTDL.

The proposal did not come from the George Washington University where Etzioni was University Professor, but from the Center for Policy Research.  The unwary might think that the Center for Policy Research was a GWU research center.  But no, it was entirely Etzioni's creature which he founded in 1968 and in 1990 it was "headquartered where Etzioni lived  in the Watergate West.  One can get some idea about it from the 2005 990.

The budget had been reduced to $445,378.15, with Etzioni's take decreasing from $150,000 to $107,806 and some other minor changes with office expenses, and 18.5% overhead.  Probably covered the rent for a few months at the Watergate

Broadly speaking the preliminary proposal to the Tobacco Institute and the June proposal to the National Chamber Foundation are the same.  The June proposal has a bit of an advertisement
Etzioni conducted a study for the National Chamber Foundation, in 1984 on "Self-Dicipline, Schools and the Business Community," a study for which there are still numerous citations and reguestes for reprints.
But also some interesting wordsmithing that Willie Soon could have used
The project will be conducted, as all others by the Center for Policy Research, as a completely autonomous undertaking. There will not be direction from any outside sources on any matters concerning the content of the deliberations, findings, reports and other matters. The work will be conducted as typical procedures for grants, and not for contract work. Products will be available after one year (cases) and panel reports and tapes, after two years. 
Remember, that no bunny was in doubt about where the money was coming from and why and who it was going to.  Eli will return and show why this paragraph was not what it seemed at the end of this post.

The Tobacco Institute (TI) was not willing to buy a study in a poke and insisted on dividing the project into two parts.  Susan Stuntz of the TI and Ron Utt of the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), got together and decided to divide the 450K$ budget and work into two parts as Utt explained to Prof. Etzioni in a letter July 26, 1990
Since we last met, Susan Stuntz and I have discussed your proposal, "Extreme and Moderate Responses to Exercise of Individual Rights", and have explored several alternative ways of proceeding that would provide us with products that we believe will best fit the long-term interests of the Tobacco Institute, the National Chamber Foundation and the constituencies that they represent. We also discussed ways in which the overall study could be divided into increments that would allow all participants to evaluate progress to date and make determinations on the approaches to be taken in subsequent stages based on that progress.  
The first part would consist of case studies and the deliverable would be the case studies and a monograph.  After completion of the first part in one year, the TI would consider funding the second part, the wise guy evaluation of the case studies.

Etzioni knew that Susan Stuntz represented the Tobacco Institute in what they called the "Etzioni Project".  He was under no illusion as can be seen in his attempt to push back
There is another matter that needs to be clarified. The study will be conducted in the best tradition of academic research, not contract work, It will serve the long term interests of truth; the investigators will find whatever the evidence will point to. The reason we turned to the Foundation, rather than receive a grant from the Tobacco institute, is that we want to avoid even the appearance of working for anyone's special interests.
Except that Etzioni knew damn well that the MONEY was coming from the Tobacco Institute so this can be regarded only as an attempt to hide the actual source of the support by passing it through the NCF.
I have worked before for the Foundation* 1 have no trouble with its goal of establishing what is valid and fair. The study will serve no other goals. While I am always open to suggestions from all quarters, I will be accountable only to the Foundation, and to no one else.
As to our findings, like those of my previous report for the Foundation, these will be available to one and ail/ as is the case in ether academic reports. 
 At this point Etzioni appears to have cut off communication with the TI, and indeed drafting the budget and contract for Phase I of the Etzioni Project fell to Susan Stuntz and Ron Utt.  Sam Chilcote, Stuntz's boss notes on a memo complaining how long setting up the project is taking
It has taken a lot of time.  Is it still worth it
In the end it was not.  that is Part III.

By the beginning of September 1990 an agreement was in place between the Tobacco Institute and the National Chamber Foundation, which established the cost and the NCF's take
This letter agreement confirms that The Tobacco Institute will provide funding support for the project entitled, Extreme and Moderate Responses to Exercise of Individual Rights, to be undertaken by the Center for Policy Research under the auspices of the National Chamber Foundation. We understand that this project will be completed in two phases. Institute support for Phase I, which will begin on October 1, 1990, and is expected to be completed June 30, 1991, will total $137,000, and will include a 15 percent management fee to be paid to the National Chamber Foundation.
Evidently Etzioni wanted more upfront, as the original offer letter from the NCF offered $118,966.19 for the first year, while the second one budgeted $178.216 for year one.  Both contained a clause which gave the NCF (and by implication the TI) ownership and copyright to any work product including the case studies and the monograph
The National Chamber Foundation shall be the owner of the completed case studies and monograph and all rights therein, including without limitation the copyright and all reproduction rights throughout the world. The National Chamber Foundation will retain these rights through first publication. Subsequent to the National Chamber Foundation's first publication, both the Center and NCF shall retain rights to utilize the completed work. 
Now EINAL, but the clear implication of this is that the National Chamber Foundation, a contractor to the Tobacco Institute, would control publication.  If they objected, nothing would be published.

Etzioni accepted 

Part III will describe what happened to the Etzioni Project.


Fernando Leanme said...

So your are into forensic archeology? I'm not sure the conspiracy theory theme really gets you that far. It's more of an inward looking approach. I get paid $100,000 a month by a secret fossil fuel brotherhood, but the money doesn't influence what I write.

EliRabett said...

When they stop paying it does.

Fernando Leanme said...

I'm not sure. I never had problems bitching about management. Not everybody gets influenced, and some of us aren't career type. I never wear the conical black hood with the gold tassel which befits my rank. And I refuse to say the pledge of allegiance.

Russell Seitz said...

Surely it would be better to disintermediate naughty Communitarian pundits by directing 17% of all tobacco taxes into a new division of the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicated to defending the turf of the 17% or so of American citizens who smoke.

Or would Ethon rather see those taxes raised and the difference paid to the Women's Christian Temperance Union , to roll back the repeal of liver-healthy Prohibition ?

Tom Gray said...

"Not everybody gets influenced."

I was about to agree, to be generous, but instead I will just say I'm skeptical. Many, many do get influenced--so many that it's a truism that it's extremely difficult to get someone to believe something when his salary depends on his not believing it--and many who are influenced prevaricate and say they are not. Surely it is better to avoid even the appearance of impropriety if that is at all possible? Assurances seem much less hollow then.

Brandon R. Gates said...


My general assumption is that people gravitate toward doing things already aligned with their ideology, so in that respect, "I'm not influenced by who I work for" rings somewhat true ... just not in a way which helps me figure out what's actually true.

Brian said...

"If they objected, nothing would be published."

Probably correct, in the end.

Etzioni couldn't publish his original work. He could rewrite it - that's enough to avoid copyright but not plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism he'd have to cite everything to the unpublished original work, and then I'm not sure whether journals would touch it.

If I were NCF and TI, I'd have also required turnover of ownership of all data and draft documents (I don't think "all rights therein" covers that, although IANACopyrightL). Maybe they just missed this.

Russell Seitz said...

Brandon, smoking is the ideology that gave us Sartre.

Brandon R. Gates said...

Russell, [cackle] That might explain why I have not found it in me to quit yet.