Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaires

A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.

Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry's role in driving climate disruption.

The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party's anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke.

Published in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Tobacco Control, the study titled, 'To quarterback behind the scenes, third party efforts': the tobacco industry and the Tea Party, is not just an historical account of activities in a bygone era. As senior author, Stanton Glantz, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor of medicine, writes:

“Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry's anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda.”

The two main organizations identified in the UCSF Quarterback study are Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks. Both groups are now “supporting the tobacco companies' political agenda by mobilizing local Tea Party opposition to tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws.” Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity were once a single organization called Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). CSE was founded in 1984 by the infamous Koch Brothers, David and Charles Koch, and received over $5.3 million from tobacco companies, mainly Philip Morris, between 1991 and 2004.

In 1990, Tim Hyde, RJR Tobacco's head of national field operations, in an eerily similar description of the Tea Party today, explained why groups like CSE were important to the tobacco industry's fight against government regulation. Hyde wrote:

“… coalition building should proceed along two tracks: a) a grassroots organizational and largely local track,; b) and a national, intellectual track within the DC-New York corridor. Ultimately, we are talking about a “movement,” a national effort to change the way people think about government's (and big business) role in our lives. Any such effort requires an intellectual foundation - a set of theoretical and ideological arguments on its behalf.” 

The common public understanding of the origins of the Tea Party is that it is a popular grassroots uprising that began with anti-tax protests in 2009.

However, the Quarterback study reveals that in 2002, the Kochs and tobacco-backed CSE designed and made public the first Tea Party Movement website under the web address Here's a screenshot of the archived U.S. Tea Party site, as it appeared online on Sept. 13, 2002:

CSE describes the U.S. Tea Party site, “In 2002, our U.S. Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online, and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated.” The site features a “Patriot Guest book” where supporters can write a message of support for CSE and the U.S. Tea Party movement.

Sometime around September 2011, the U.S. Tea Party site was taken offline. According to the DNS registry, the web address is currently owned by Freedomworks. 

The implications of the UCSF Quarterback report are widespread. The main concern expressed by the authors lies in what they see happening overseas as the Tea Party movement expands internationally, training activists in 30 countries including Israel, Georgia, Japan and Serbia.

As the authors explain:

“This international expansion makes it likely that Tea Party organizations will be mounting opposition to tobacco control (and other health) policies as they have done in the USA.”

Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity are both multi-issue organizations that have expanded their battles to include other policies they see as threats to the free market principles they claim to defend, namely fighting health care reform and regulations on global warming pollution. The report's warning about overseas expansion efforts by Freedomworks should therefore also be heeded by groups in the health and environment arenas.

Finally, this report might serve as a wake-up call to some people in the Tea Party itself, who would find it a little disturbing that the “grassroots” movement they are so emotionally attached to, is in fact a pawn created by billionaires and large corporations with little interest in fighting for the rights of the common person, but instead using the common person to fight for their own unfettered profits. 


Given the circumstances and all this ranting.

Its interesting how pretty much everything is being lumped together as well.  Like is a CONSPIRACY!

I'd say this story and it's so called “study”, with NO proof, says it all if you want a conspiracy.

You're missing the point, Mad Cow disease was NOT the big deal it was made out to be.  Neither is second hand smoke.  That's the point!  You've been duped, you can argue a million things, none of which make any difference to the truth of the matter.  Tobacco Control organizations have become nothing but Perception Management firms. They are paid to CREATE “truth”. Created truth is controllable. PM uses select information involving falsehood and deception. Really smoke and mirrors to get people to believe what they want the “truth” to be. As a rule they use deception to influence emotions to an end. The difference between real and perception is like a stick of dynamite and the A-bomb. Wars can be created using Perception Management! It requires absolutely no courage to support a popular position, even if completely wrong or illegal.

BTW, I can find swamp land in Florida for you.  I can make it sound really good!

animal epidemiology kept mad cow from being a serious problem.

That is one of the forms of veterinary research.

When science becomes corrupt, there is something very, very wrong!  The surgeon general based the ideology of toxic smoke on an EPA report that was ruled on as fraudulent by a federal judge, Judge Oosteen. The surgeon generals report is then also fraudulent. The surgeon general did not have to testify under oath to the validity of his claim. If you tell a lie enough, people will eventually fall for it. UCLA School of Public Health's James Enstrom fired from that school because he adheres to academic integrity and the powers that be don't want him publishing his findings that are contrary to this agenda and PROVE that this is all nonsense!

H. Barry Dellinger, PhD. is chairman of environmental chemistry at Louisiana State University and found that breathing in air pollution exposes the average person to 300 times more free radicals in a day than would come from smoking one cigarette. Complaint Filed Against Carmona's Report: Changing/Omitting Data Filed with Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity by Citizen's Freedom Alliance claims:  The data for a meta-analysis is the studies collected from the body of research, but the SG omitted two of the largest studies, The Enstrom/Kabat study and the airline study, one of which demonstrated the opposite of harm from SHS/ETS and the other failed to show any significant association. He discounted the largest study, the Wu-Williams study, as “anomalous” because its results largely agreed with one large study that he had omitted as well as the Boffetta study, i.e. showed the opposite of harm.  

I say put the SHS issue on trial before this goes any further!

So Marbee. Your entire beef seems to be entirely about SHS. I gather that you accept at least that the TEA party was created by tobacco companies and the Koch's who need brainless gullible people they could easily rally to their cause with simpleton nationalist messages and yearnings for “liberty”?

I notice you dodged my earlier questions about smoke itself. Do you believe cigarette smoke is good for you? Again the question. Do you think lungs prefer to breathe air or smoke?


I notice you dodged my earlier questions about smoke itself. Do you believe cigarette smoke is good for you? Again the question. Do you think lungs prefer to breathe air or smoke?”

Marbee, the silence is deafening. You know you are backed into a corner with this. To admit lungs prefer to breathe air, would be to admit, SHS is also a danger and you know it. Your Cato bosses are careful for you to not go down this path arent they?

It's the same as AGW. First it was AGW doesnt exist. Then it was “it's beneficial”, then it was, “it's not harmful”, then it was “it's too costly to act”.  Now after years of scientific weight bearing down on deniers and their lack of rebuttal, they are now at the same stage as tobacco companies were when incontrovertible evidence closed in on them……sensitivity. E.g. Ok, it's real, but it's not that bad (sensitivity) …is it?


The trolls rarely speak after page 1 since no one will read their garbage past 1 page.

This appears to be an SOP for the paid trolls.

Fill a page with crap pretending there is some sort of conspiracy, and serious discussion.  Then drop it like a dead dog on page two.

To an outsider, it looks like there really is a serious discussion going on, when in fact these guys are just dropping links to bloggers and other fake news sources.

For climate change deniers AGW exists when it's convenient.

Oil and gas interests prospecting in the Arctic for example wouldn't bother unless they believed predictions of warming that make it an economic prospect.

This one though really blew me away. Cliver Palmer, Australian coal baron, is planning on building Titanic II, and is quoted thus [his grammar]: “One of the benefits of global warming is there hasn't been as many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days”. And this is a leading climate change denier, who makes looney claims like the Australian Greens (a mainstream party with a substantial vote) are a CIA plot to undermine the Australian economy.

Judge Gladys Kessler cited the flawed Enstrom Kabat paper, funded by the tobacco industry, as a proof the tobacco industry is corrupt and in violation of the racketeering act RICO. Her decision was sustained by an appeal court.

I have SAT BESIDE researchers measuring tobacco smoke at a dinner theater. When the play was on and the lights were down, smoking was forbidden for fire safety. During intermission and before the play, smoking was allowed. The aerosol detector measured high particles before the play. It took several minutes for all the particles to drop out of the air and then of course the contamination went back up. It was worse than EPA's standard for outdoor air. It doesn't really need a scientific measurement, anybody can see the smoke happening in a room. Of course, dirty air has a consequence on our bodies; the statistical work is not obvious, but the correlation between passive smoking and lung cancer and heart attacks is supported in many studies.

So far as I've seen, there is no research on passive smoking and sinus attacks. I suffered violent headaches for years before I realized the tobacco smoke was the major cause. 

I understand your reasoning from the business perspective. Perhaps it would be better to have a law where businesses hang signs saying “smoking allowed at your own risk” or “no smoking”. I can say that the Restaurant Associations ceased opposition to anti-smoking laws when they realized the business INCREASED after the laws went into effect.

Of course, if you are a smoker, it would be harder on you if your business has to be no smoking.

That's all I'm going to say on this.

The people who are into the “Tea Party” don't care who funded it. Or about most reality…they are set in their ways.

Though, I can hear them now, “The liberal media just wants it to look like billionaires funded The Tea Party to take away its credibility.” lol

I am utterly astounded. Rich people and corporations do not want to pay tax? Who would have thunk.