Taxpayers Protection Alliance

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The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is a US not-for-profit which describes itself as a “non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public through research, analysis and dissemination of information on the government’s effects on the economy.”1

The TPA is a partner in the Atlas Network.2 It is run by a management company, which is owned by the TPA’s President, David Williams.3 The Energy Policy Institute, an energy industry watchdog, stated in 2015 that the “TPA essentially exists as a shell for its own advocacy”.4

Several of its staff and associates have connections with organisations which have echoed tobacco industry arguments or received tobacco industry funding.


The TPA does not disclose its funding. Its tax returns indicate that the bulk of its income comes from grants and donations.3 The TPA does not disclose its members or donors on its website, or in its tax returns. Between 2016 and 2019 the TPA reported a total revenue of between US$800,000 and US$900,000. Between 2020 and 2022 this figure ranged between US$2.3 million and US$4.1 million. However, in 2023 it was eight times higher at US$32.3 million, with US$31.9 million paid out the same year, mainly on media services and placement.3

The TPA has an arm called the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF), which states similar goals to the main organisation, with the addition of “investigative reporting”.15 In 2020 and 2021, it reported unspecified contributions of US$81,500 and US$321,956, respectively, rising to over US$500,000 in 2022.5


From 2020, tobacco harm reduction appeared to have become a key part of the TPA’s work.67

The TPA has lobbied for newer nicotine and tobacco products in the US, including for favourable taxation.8 It has also argued against the proposed US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on menthol cigarettes and flavoured cigars, which it said would delay “consumer access to tobacco harm reduction”.910

Between November 2022 and April 2023, the TPA submitted testimonies to committees based in several US states opposing a ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco and nicotine products.11 These testimonies stated that youth were not using e-cigarettes because of flavours, that state-wide bans on flavoured products corelate with increases in young adult smoking, and that “[f]lavored tobacco and vape product bans only punish responsible retailers while incentivizing clandestine actors to engage in new illicit marketplaces”.121314

In May 2023, it published its own analysis of tobacco and e-cigarette use across US states, stating that “State lawmakers are often bombarded with misinformation on the products used by adults.”15

It has also lobbied outside the US. In 2021, it made a submission to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping.16 The TPA’s Consumer Center says that it “provides data and analysis to inform and assist policymakers when addressing consumer products.”6

The TPA has also criticized Ukraine’s moves to increase tax on heated tobacco products, referring to PMI’s IQOS and blaming “misguided” WHO policy recommendations, and again citing the risk of illicit markets.17

Activities around COP meetings


The TPA was active on the topic of harm reduction around the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9) which was held online in November 2021.18 It created a ‘coalition’ to lobby the FCTC, and members signed a letter to US President Joe Biden, urging him to promote harm reduction at COP9 (even though the US has not ratified the treaty).19 Members and signatories included Yael Ossowski and Elizabeth Hicks of the Consumer Choice Center which has received money from British American Tobacco (BAT); Mazen Saleh, of R Street Institute, which has received money from the wholly Philip Morris International (PMI) funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (see Lobby Groups).

COP 10

In 2023, ahead of COP 10 (before its postponement to 2024), the TPA announced that it would be running a parallel meeting in Panama it referred to as “Good COP” to counter the WHO’s “Bad COP”.20 It described the meeting as “a rapid response and fact checking conference in Panama City” that would “bring in experts and consumers, often ignored by WHO, to be heard during the discussion of tobacco and tobacco harm reduction”.20

Event speakers listed on the agenda included representatives from the TPA, JCIC International Consultancy, the Institute of Economic Affairs, We Vape and Centre of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR).2122 The National Taxpayer’s Union and the Tholos Foundation, an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform, were listed as partners of the event. See Lobby Groups for information on these ‘taxpayer’ organisations.22

In July and August 2023, International Fellow of the TPA Martin Cullip, authored two articles on COP 10 for the tobacco industry-funded publication Filter, owned by The Influence Foundation. In November, he then wrote an article published by CAPX, the media outlet of the Centre for Policy Studies. He argued that the European Commission planned to “exploit” COP 10 for “the promotion of anti-vaping measures”, and attacked the WHO’s supposed “relentless endeavour to impose its extreme views on national governments”.23 Cullip also said that the WHO’s approach was “anti-scientific”.2425

In January 2024, Filter magazine published an article by Lindsey Stroud, Director of the TPAs Consumer Center, which also criticised the WHO, arguing that “permitting commercial tobacco harm reduction products costs governments nothing”, and urged governments to “roundly reject the WHO’s advice”.26 Following COP, Filter published another article authored by Stroud, which again criticised the WHO.27

The TPA  provided funding to the Influence Foundation “to support travel to Good COP”.28

Tobacco harm reduction event

In May 2023, the TPA ran a tobacco harm reduction event titled ‘Tobacco Harm Reduction: The People and Policies Shaping a Smoke Free Future’.29

Speakers listed at the event included individuals from the TPA, the Reason Foundation, Consumer Choice Center, and Americans for Tax Reform.29

Staff and Associates

As of December 2023, the TPA website list of personnel included the following:1

  • David Williams, President. As TPA’s tax returns state, Williams is the sole owner of MLM Consulting which has full control of the management and activities of the TPA.3
  • Lindsay Stroud, Director of TPA’s Consumer Center. Stroud worked for the Heritage Foundation from 2016 to 2020,30 which has received funding from Altria.31 She is as a Visiting Fellow at the Independent Womens’ Forum (IWF) a US think tank, which has received money from tobacco companies (see Think Tanks for details). The IWF website states that she is also the “creator and manager of Tobacco Harm Reduction 101 ( and a board director for the American Vapor Manufacturers Association”.3233
  • Patrick Hedger, Executive Director. Hedger was previously a Research Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Technology and Innovation and served as Director of Policy at the FreedomWorks Foundation.
  • Dan Savickas, Director of Policy. Savickas previously held the position of Regulatory Policy Manager at FreedomWorks and also worked as a policy associate at Americans for Tax Reform.
  • Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow. Stier is also a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.
  • Martin Cullip, “Non-resident” Fellow.
  • Hunter Hamberlin,  State Policy Manager. Hamberlin previously worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Relevant Links

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. abcTaxpayers Protection Alliance, About, website, undated, archived June 2023, accessed November 2023
  2. S. Horel, The Vapour Trail, Le Monde, 3 November 2021, accessed March 2022
  3. abcdTaxpayers Protection Alliance, Tax returns available via ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, accessed December 2023
  4. Energy Policy Institute, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, 2015, accessed October 2022
  5. abTaxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation, Tax returns available via ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, accessed October 2022
  6. abTaxpayers Protection Alliance, Consumer Center, TPA website, undated, accessed August 2021
  7. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Tobacco Harm Reduction 101, TPA website, undated, archived December 2020, accessed October 2022
  8. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Recent Testimony on Tobacco Harm Reduction and Taxation, website, 19 January 2022, accessed October 2022
  9. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, FDA’s Misguided War on Menthol Cigarettes, website, 19 January 2022, accessed October 2022
  10. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, FDA’s Misguided War on Flavoured Cigars, website, 19 January 2022, accessed October 2022
  11. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Search Results for: Flavored Tobacco and Vapor Products, website, accessed November 2023
  12. L.Stroud, Testimony before the Connecticut Joint Committee on Public Health Regarding Banning the Sale of Flavored Tobacco and Vapor Products, 1 February 2023, website, accessed November 2023
  13. L.Stroud/TPA, Testimony before the Hawaii House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce Regarding Banning the Sale of Flavored Tobacco and Vapor Products, 15 February 2023, website, accessed November 2023
  14. L.Stroud/TPA, Testimony before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee Regarding Banning the Sale of Flavored Tobacco and Vapor Products, 16 February 2023, website, accessed November 2023
  15. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Tobacco and Vaping 101: 50 State Analysis, website, 16 May 2023, accessed December 2023
  16. Lindsay Stroud, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Comment to All Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping UK Parliament regarding regulating tobacco harm protection products, TPA website May 27 2021, accessed August 2021
  17. L. Stroud, The WHO’s Support of Ukraine’s Tax on Heated Tobacco Products Unfairly Burdens Tobacco Harm Reduction, Increases Smuggling, 5 March 2021, accessed December 2023
  18. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, TPA Continues to Cover COP9, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  19. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, TPA Leads Coalition Urging COP9 Delegation to Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction, website, October 28 2021, archived October 2021, accessed October 2022
  20. abTaxpayers Protection Alliance, Good COP/ Bad COP, website, undated, accessed November 2023
  21. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Good COP/ Bad COP: Experts, website, undated, accessed January 2024
  22. abTaxpayers Protection Alliance, Good COP/ Bad COP Program, website, undated, accessed February 2024
  23. M. Cullip, The EU and the WHO’s sinister collusion against vaping, CAPX, 10 November 2023, accessed November 2023
  24. M. Cullip, COP Must Respect Science, Consumers, Tobacco Reporter, 22 January 2024, accessed February 2024
  25. WHO FCTC lying about smoke-free products says experts, Manilla Bulletin, 10 February 2024, accessed February 2024
  26. L. Stroud, WHO Renews Tobacco Harm Reduction Attacks in Runup to COP10, Filter, 11 January 2024, accessed February 2024
  27. L.Stroud, The WHO Prioritizes Youth Who Don’t Smoke Over Adults Who Do, Filter, 23 February 2024, accessed February 2024
  28. K. Sidhu, At Hostile COP10, Threats to Tobacco Harm Reduction Postponed, Filter, 20 February 2024, accessed April 2024
  29. abTaxpayers Protection Alliance, Event: Tobacco Harm Reduction: The People and Policies Shaping a Smoke Free Future, 17 May 2023, Eventbrite, website, archived May 2023, accessed November 2023
  30. Lindsey Stroud, LinkedIn profile, accessed September 2022
  31. Free-market groups and the tobacco industry – full database, Guardian, 23 January 2019, archived July 2019, accessed September 2022
  32. Independent Womens Forum, Lindsey Stroud, website profile, undated, accessed October 2022
  33. L. Stroud, California Youth Tobacco and Vapor Use Continues to Decline, 20 September 2022, Independent Women’s Forum, website, accessed October 2022