APCO Worldwide

APCO Worldwide

Background

APCO has been described as “one of the world's most powerful PR firms.” [1], [2]

According to its agency profile at O'Dwyers, “APCO Worldwide is a global communications consultancy” with clients including “large multinational companies, trade associations, governments, NGOs and educational institutions” and has offices in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

APCO started in 1984 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Arnold & Porter, a law firm that initially worked closely with Philip Morris tobacco and went on to service a wider range of clients inside and outside the tobacco industry. In 1991, the group was acquired from Arnold & Porter by the media firm Grey Communications International (GCI), which made it a subsidiary of Grey Advertising. GCI later became Grey Global. [3], [4]

An internal 1993 budget review document for the Philip Morris Group of companies, APCO Associates received at least $500,000 as a “corporate affairs consultant.” A search of the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library returns over 3,000 results for documents matching APCO[5]

APCO is the PR firm who originally launched the Friends of Science in Ottawa in 2002, a now-defunct group that promoted what it described as “sound science” in policy decision making. It was initially based on the Washington, DC offices of APCO and Associates, and led by an advisory board of well known “science skeptics” such as Bruce AmesHugh EllsaesserPatrick Michaels, and Alan Moghissi and started as a front group for Philip Morris. [6]

At the 2002 launch of the Friends of Science, two PR contacts from APCO were provided, Tom Harris, formerly employed by High Park Group and who has assisted the FOS, and APCO representative Evan Zelikovitz. [7], [8]

APCO has a history of setting up grass-roots, industry front groups to serve the tobacco industry and other corporate clients, with examples including The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSCand the American Tort Reform Association. [3]

“Political Support Services”

APCO has advertised their services of creating corporate-funded “grassroots” groups for a range of issues. For example, a 1995 APCO Associates promotional pamphlet on “Political Support Services” states: [9]

APCO Associates, Inc. (APCO) specializes in grassroots organizing and coalition building. We use political campaign tactics to create an environment in support of our client's legislative and regulatory goals.

[…] We utilize the most effective, up-to-date technology and campaign tactics to help you achieve your legislative and regulatory goals.

[…] APCO has built numerous national and state coalitions on a variety of issues including the environment, science, energy, trade, intellectual property, education, tort reform and health care” [9]

The pamphlet details APCO's offered political support services as follows: [9]

  • coalition/alliance building
  • grassroots mobilization
  • internal grassroots development
  • state legislative counselling
  • media assistance
  • government relations [9]

The document details APCO's methodical system for “grassroots mobilization,” noting that “APCO applies tactics usually reserved for political campaigns to target audiences and recruit third-party advocates.” [9]

“We apply these hard-learned skills and tactics to mobilize hundreds, even thousands, of constituents. Or, when just the 'grasstops' are needed, we recruit just a few of a target's key friends or contributors to join us. No matter the issue, we bring together coalitions that are credible, persuasive and cost-effective.” [9]

APCO and The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition

According to documents available at the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library, APCO Associates released their revised plan for launching The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) in October 1993. According to the document, “Goals and Objectives” for the media plan included: “(i) raise the awareness level of the use of unsound science in public policy decision making among target audiences; (ii) educate publics on the impact of this issue; and (iii) lay the groundwork and provide an environment for a successful grassroots mobilization effort to assist Phillip Morris with its issues national and in target states.” [10]

The document outlines the following objectives:

  • “Establish TASSC as a credible source for reports when questioning the validity of scientific studies.”
  • “Encourage the public to question – from the grassroots up – the validity of scientific studies.”
  • “Mobilize support for TASSC through allies with other organizations and third party allies.”
  • “Develop materials, including news article reprints, that can be 'merchandized' to TASSC audiences.”
  • “Increase membership in and funding of TASSC.”
  • “Publicize and refine TASSC messages on an ongoing basis.”  [10]

George Monbiot reported at The Guardian that TASSC arose out of a need of Phillip Morris to oppose public smoking bans. In a February, 1993 memo, the tobacco company's senior vice president of corporate affairs, Ellen Merlo, sent a letter to William I Campbell, Philip Morris's chief executive officer and president, explaining: “Our overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report … Concurrently, it is our objective to prevent states and cities, as well as businesses, from passive-smoking bans.” [11]

To accomplish this, Merlo had hired the public relations company APCO. APCO warned that “No matter how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of themselves, not always credible or appropriate messengers,” reported Monbiot. To get around this, they suggested that PM needed to create the impression of a “grassroots” movement to fight “over regulation.” [11]

They proposed setting up a “national coalition intended to educate the media, public officials and the public about the dangers of 'junk science'. Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific studies, risk-assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars … Upon formation of Coalition, key leaders will begin media outreach, eg editorial board tours, opinion articles, and brief elected officials in selected states.” [11]

APCO requested $150,000 for its own fees, and $75,000 for the coalition's costs to found the group, write mission statements and  “prepare and place opinion articles in key markets.” [11]

APCO hoped to “establish an image of a national grassroots coalition” for TASSC. This creation of an artificial grassroots movement is now commonly referred to as “astroturfing.” APCO also circulated a sheet of answers, drafted by Philip Morris, to respond to any hostile media inquiries. The first question was:  [11]

Isn't it true that Philip Morris created TASSC to act as a front group for it?

A: No, not at all. As a large corporation, PM belongs to many national, regional, and state business, public policy, and legislative organisations. PM has contributed to TASSC, as we have with various groups and corporations across the country.  [11]

Tort Reform

Tort reform was an internal program of Philip Morris Tobacco (PM). According to a 1995 PM Tort Reform Project budget, the tobacco company paid APCO more than $1 million in that year alone. [12]

Stance on Climate Change

APCO Worldwide helped form The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, a group whose website routinely promoted articles that questioned the link between CO2 emissions and climate change. [13]

Funding

Current Lobbying

The following are the top 50 groups APCO Worldwide listed as clients,  according to a lobby disclosure search at the U.S. House of Representatives. Note that Tobacco Industry funding is not listed here. [14]

View the attached spreadsheet for a full list of APCO Worldwide's lobbying disclosures by year (.xlsx).

Organization Total Reported
Dow Corning Corporation $2,870,000
STERIS CORPORATION (THROUGH HURT NORTON & ASSOCIATES INC) $2,560,000
GML Limited $2,120,000
CORBIERE TRUST CO LTD AS TRUSTEE OF THE CORBIERE TRUST $1,840,000
Project Management Institute $1,690,000
Huawei Tech. Investment Co., Ltd. $1,520,000
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation $950,000
COSCO AMERICAS INC (F/K/A COSCO NORTH AMERICA) $740,000
The Cook Group Inc. $700,000
NORIMET LTD $700,000
National Association of Town Watch $590,000
SPI Group SA $510,000
Etihad Airways PJSC $480,000
COALITION FOR SDO AWARENESS (INFORMAL COALITION) (FORMERLY KNOWN AS NFPA) $470,000
Solar Trust of America, LLC $390,000
INTERNATIONAL HEALTH RACQUET AND SPORTSCLUB ASSOCIATION $380,000
XRS CORPORATION (FORMERLY KNOWN AS XATA CORPORATION) $350,000
FEDERORAFI $350,000
UC Group Limited $330,000
Make It Right Foundation $320,000
Grays Harbor PUD $310,000
GROUP MENATEP $300,000
Liquidnet, Inc. $290,000
Angel Capital Association $250,000
Modumetal, Inc. $240,000
MONCRIEF OIL INTL INC $240,000
CITY OF SHORELINE WASHINGTON $240,000
NATIONAL ATOMIC COMPANYKAZATOMPROM $220,000
U S ELECTRONICS INC $210,000
Parker Drilling Company $200,000
Kennewick General Hospital $190,000
Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication SCRL $180,000
Skagit County Public Hospital District 1 $160,000
LIMBER TECHNOLOGY INC $160,000
AMERICAN CAMPING ASSN $150,000
Outerwall Inc. $150,000
CITY OF KIRKLAND WASHINGTON $140,000
CITY OF MOUNTLAKE TERRACE WASHINGTON $140,000
Inna Gudavadze $130,000
World Wrestling Entertainment $120,000
ST LOUIS COUNTY ECONOMIC COUNCIL/ST LOUIS COUNTY PORT AUTHORITY $120,000
CVS CORP $120,000
Husch Blackwell LLP on behalf of Development Alternatives, Inc. $110,000
MOST GROUP $100,000
SecurityPoint Media, LLC $90,000
jSolutions $80,000
LINCOLN DIAGNOSTICS INC $80,000
FBC MEDIA UK LTD $70,000
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints $70,000
PR NEWSWIRE $60,000

Tobacco Funding

Below is known funding to APCO from the tobacco industry. Additional information may be available at the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents archive. A search of the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library returns over 3,000 results for documents matching APCO.

1993 — Philip Morris — $500,000

An internal 1993 budget review document for the Philip Morris Group of companies, APCO Associates received at least $500,000 as a “corporate affairs consultant.” [15]

Key People

The following people were retrieved from the APCO website between 2004 and 2017. View the attached spreadsheet for more details on APCO people by year (.xlsx).

Leadership

Name 2004 2006 2007 2010 2013 2015 2017
Brad Staples Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Margery Kraus Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Denise Teeling Y Y Y Y Y
Neil Wiesenberg Y Y Y Y
Ron Boschetto Y Y Y Y
David Greenberg Y Y Y
Evan Kraus Y Y Y
Mara Hedgecoth Y Y Y
Mamoon Sbeih Y Y
Martina Tydecks Y Y
Nelson Fernandez Y Y
Claire Boussagol Y
James Acheson-Gray Y
Joseph Zimmel Y
Karen Buerkle Y
Lisa Osborne Ross Y
Neal M. Cohen Y Y Y Y Y Y
Alicia Peterson Clark Y
Garry Walsh Y
Kathryn Medina Y
Linda Du Y
Mike Tuffin Y
Nicolas Bouvier Y
Larry E. Snoddon Y Y Y Y Y
Stacy Reyan Y Y Y
Kirk Stewart Y Y
Robert Schooling Y Y
Phillip Fraser Y Y Y Y
Judith S. Sapir Y
Judy Sapir Y Y Y
Christian Murck Y Y
Chrystal Kern Y Y
Peter Batey Y
Richard Burn Y

International Advisory Council

Name 2010 2013 2015 2017
Aleksander Kwaśniewski Y Y Y Y
Andrés Rozental Y Y Y Y
Anita B. McBride Y Y Y Y
Barie Carmichael Y Y Y Y
Craig L. Fuller Y Y Y Y
CT Hew Y Y Y Y
Devinda R. Subasinghe Y Y Y Y
Don Bonker Y Y Y Y
Donald W. Riegle Jr. Y Y Y Y
Eugene K. Lawson Y Y Y Y
Gao Weijie Y Y Y Y
Itamar Rabinovich Y Y Y Y
J. Norwell Coquillard Y Y Y Y
James McGregor Y Y Y Y
James P. Moore, Jr. Y Y Y Y
James Sasser Y Y Y Y
Jane Nelson Y Y Y Y
John W. Magaw Y Y Y Y
Kenneth Thorpe Y Y Y Y
Kirk Stewart Y Y Y Y
Lalit Mansingh Y Y Y Y
Larry E. Snoddon Y Y Y Y
Lars Göran Johansson Y Y Y Y
Laurens Jan Brinkhorst Y Y Y Y
Ludolf von Wartenberg Y Y Y Y
Pete Wentz Y Y Y Y
Richard N. Swett Y Y Y Y
Richard V. Allen Y Y Y Y
Sandra E. Taylor Y Y Y Y
Sergio Marchi Y Y Y Y
Shelby Coffey III Y Y Y Y
Stuart Eizenstat Y Y Y Y
Tevi Troy Y Y Y Y
Wayne L. Pines Y Y Y Y
Yoshio Matsumi Y Y Y Y
Andrew Serwin Y Y Y
Bob Kocher Y Y Y
Cliff Stearns Y Y Y
Dale E. Jones Y Y Y
Dan Glickman Y Y Y
Delano Lewis Y Y Y
Eduardo Aguirre Y Y Y
Georges Ugeux Y Y Y
Ira Kasoff Y Y Y
J. Joseph Grandmaison Y Y Y
Jaime Malet Y Y Y
Joseph Zimmel Y Y Y
Karen Hulebak Y Y Y
Kavita Patel Y Y Y
Leslie V. Norwalk Y Y Y
Mark Michelson Y Y Y
Nancy Bachrach Y Y Y
Phyllis Piano Y Y Y
Said T. Jawad Y Y Y
Tim Roemer Y Y Y
Vada Manager Y Y Y
Wendy Luhabe Y Y Y
Bruce W. Jentleson Y Y
Chris Hassall Y Y
Christian Murck Y Y
Derek Yach Y Y
Diane Dixon Y Y
Freda Wang Y Y
Graham Watson Y Y
Jack Faris Y Y
Jaime Serra Y Y
Lanhee Chen Y Y
Larraine Segil Y Y
Nicholas Ashooh Y Y
Rick Wade Y Y
Sten Tolgfors Y Y
Tarik Yousef Y Y
Anita Manning Y
Benjamin Ou Y
Claudia Fritsche Y
Denise Hill Y
Edit Herczog Y
Elaine Kolish Y
Ellen Mignoni Y
Etienne Reuter Y
Frank Majoor Y
Gregory Treverton Y
Ido Aharoni Y
James Thurber Y
Jan Hausrath Y
Jeff Richardson Y
Jim Moorhead Y
Ken Nasshan Y
Klaus Naumann Y
Mary Foerster Y
Mary Jo Jacobi Y
Nabil Ayad Y
Patrick Jephson Y
Paula Dobriansky Y
Peter Hans Y
Rami Sharaf Y
Sam Kass Y
Susannah Malarkey Y
T. Mitchell Willey Y
Tony Housh Y
Arthur Hartman Y Y Y
J. Stapleton Roy Y Y Y
Maurice Fraser Y Y Y
Michael G. Oxley Y Y Y
Peter D. Hannaford Y Y Y
Timothy Cost Y Y Y
Trevor Neilson Y Y Y
Yuli Ismartono Y Y Y
Anja Manuel Y Y
Linda McMahon Y Y
Richard Raymond Y Y
Stephen Hadley Y Y
James Fowler Y
Karen Tripp Y
Lambert van der Walde Y
Tarik Youse Y
Shimon Stein Y Y
Barbara Thomas Judge Y
Baron Hill Y
Bertrand Cousin Y
Bill Richardson Y
Helen Ostrowski Y
Liam Donaldson Y
Saralyn Mark Y
A. Elizabeth Jones Y
Alastair Campbell Y
Carlos Gutierrez Y
Igor V. Kostikov Y
Kenneth Jarrett Y
Marc Ginsberg Y
Mark R. Dybul Y
Patrick Horgan Y
Roger Bolton Y
Stephen J. Solarz Y

Senior Strategists

Name 2004 2006
A. Elizabeth Jones Y
Alasdair Liddell Y
Arthur A. Hartman Y Y
B. Jay Cooper Y Y
Barie Carmichael Y
Barry Campbell Y Y
Charles Krause Y Y
Christine Chauvet Y
Don Bonker Y Y
Don Riegle, Jr Y
Donald Riegle, Jr. Y
Fleur Fisher Y
Jane Garvey Y
Jay Heiler Y
Jill Neff Y
Jill Neff Watson Y
John Peterson Y Y
John Weekes Y Y
Kent Jarrell Y Y
Larry E. Snoddon Y
Larry Snoddon Y
Marc Ginsberg Y Y
Margery Kraus Y Y
Maurice Fraser Y Y
Michael Geczi Y
Mickey Edwards Y
Mitch Willey Y
Myron Marlin Y Y
Neal Cohen Y
Neal M. Cohen Y
Peter D. Hannaford Y Y
Peter Goelz Y Y
Richard Swett Y Y
Richard V. Allen Y
Robert Schooling Y Y
Sergio Marchi Y
Stephen J. Solarz Y Y
Stuart Eizenstat Y Y
Tim Croasdaile Y Y
Wayne Pines Y Y

Actions

2002

According to Charles Montgomery atThe Globe and Mail, Tom Harris—then employed at APCO Worldwide—organized the initial Friends of Science Ottawa press conference in 2002. [16], [17]

“In 2002, for example, Mr. Harris organized the Friends' first Ottawa press conference in 2002, and helped make their video, according to Mr. [Albert] Jacobs. And as recently as May, he organized a trip to Ottawa for Tim Ball, paying him $2,000 to give a presentation to federal MPs,” Montgomery wrote. Harris was also the Ottawa director of the High Park Group, and a registered lobbyist for the Canadian Electricity Association and the Canadian Gas Association. [16]

July 7, 1994

APCO Associates Inc. and Burson-Marsteller organized a “Euroscience seminar” in Brussels, Belgium sponsored by The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). According to the program outline, “Science is often being manipulated to achieve political and predetermined policy objectives.” Examples given include: [18]

  • “electromagnetic fields;
  • EU Drinking Water Directive
  • bans on indoor smoking;
  • regulations based on fear of minute amounts of chemicals (e.g. dioxin);
  • pesticide restrictions;
  • restrictions on uses of chlorine; and
  • food labeling laws.”

Related Organizations

Contact & Address

There are approximately 30 APCO Worldwide offices across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Europe.

As of May 22, 2016 the head office was located at the following address: [“About Us, Locations,” APCO Worldwide. Archived May 22, 2016.]

1299 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC, 20004
United States

+1.202.778.1000

Social Media

Resources

  1. Public Relations Firms Database: APCO Worldwide,” O'Dwyers. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/hndaw

  2. APCO Worldwide’s New Website – Is It Better Than A Billboard?Everything-PR, July 2, 2009. Archived June 11, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/UatDb

  3. APCO Worldwide,” Sourcewatch. Accessed June 11, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/yRjHN

  4. Statement Of James W. Jones - Center for Professional Responsibility,” American Bar Association. Archived June 11, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/uoFqc

  5. CORPORATE AFFAIRS CORPORATE COST REVIEW,” Philip Morris, July 1993. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents.

  6. James Hoggan. “Astroturf: The Only Grass That Withstands Toxic Friends of Science,” DeSmog, September 6, 2006.

  7. Kyoto's Fatal Flaws Revealed,” Climate Search, November 12, 2002. Archived February 7, 2003. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YyfPX

  8. Evan Zelikovitz: Senior Counselor,” APCO Worldwide. Archived June 12, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/EoWbN

  9. Political Support Services,” APCO Associates Inc. 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents archive. Bates No. 2048294301-2048294310.

  10. REVISED PLAN FOR THE PUBLIC LAUNCHING OF TASSC (THROUGH 930000),APCO Associates, October 15, 1993. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. Bates No. 2045930493-2045930504.

  11. George Monbiot. “The Denial Industry,” The Guardian, September 19, 2006. Archived March June 10, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/GPdVL

  12. TORT REFORM PROJECT BUDGET,” Covington & Burling, October 3, 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates no. 2047648299-2047648307.

  13. The Junk Science Home Page,” TASSC, January 7, 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. Archived .pdf on file at Desmogblog. Bates Number : 2081324644-2081324649

  14. Search Past Filings,” Disclosures.house.gov. Search performed June 11, 2017.

  15. CORPORATE AFFAIRS CORPORATE COST REVIEW,” Philip Morris, July 1993. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents.

  16. Mr. Cool,” Globe and Mail, August 12, 2006. Republished at Charlesmontgomery.ca. Archived October 14, 2006. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ekz1n

  17. Our People,” APCO Worldwide. Archived December 19, 2002. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/jY5WP

  18. SOUND SCIENCE IN PUBLIC POLICY EUROSCIENCE PROJECT,” Philip Morris Records, July 7, 1994.. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents.

Other Resources