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.

Background

The TPA does not disclose its funding. Its tax returns indicate that while it has membership subscriptions, 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 income of between US$800,000 and US$900,000. In 2020 this figure had risen to nearly US$2.5 million, and by 2021 it was over US$4.1 million.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 Between 2018 and 2020, it reported unspecified contributions of between US$65, 000 and US$158,000.5

Activities

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

It has also lobbied outside the US. In 2021, it made a submission to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Vaping.11 The TPA’s Consumer Center says that it “provides data and analysis to inform and assist policymakers when addressing consumer products.”6

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 2021.12 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).13 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).

Staff and Associates

As of October 2022, 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 2020,14 which has received funding from Altria.15 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 (thr101.org) and a board director for the American Vapor Manufacturers Association”.1617
  • Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow. Also Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.
  • Martin Cullip, International Fellow.

An up-to-date list can be found on the TPA website.

Relevant Links

TobaccoTactics Resources

References

  1. abcTaxpayers Protection Alliance, About,  website, undated, accessed October 2022
  2. S. Horel, The Vapour Trail, Le Monde, 3 November 2021, accessed March 2022
  3. abcd, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Tax returns available via ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, accessed October 2022
  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. 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
  12. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, TPA Continues to Cover COP9, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  13. Taxpayers Protection Alliance, TPA Leads Coalition Urging COP9 Delegation to Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction, website, October 28 2021, archived October 2021, accessed October 2022
  14. Lindsey Stroud, LinkedIn profile, accessed September 2022
  15. Free-market groups and the tobacco industry – full database, Guardian, 23 January 2019, archived July 2019, accessed September 2022
  16. Independent Womens Forum, Lindsey Stroud, website profile, undated, accessed October 2022
  17. L. Stroud, California Youth Tobacco and Vapor Use Continues to Decline, 20 September 2022, Independent Women’s Forum, website, accessed October 2022
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