• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Frohnmayer testifies for Big Tobacco

In a recent article entitled "Reputation For Rent" Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week writes about how Dave Frohnmayer, former Oregon attorney general and former UO School of Law Dean and UO president for 15 years, provided paid testimony for Big Tobacco against the state of Oregon.

… major tobacco companies challenged the state of Oregon’s right to continue receiving payments under a massive tobacco industry settlement.

And the star witness and paid expert for Big Tobacco against the state of Oregon: Dave Frohnmayer.

In April, Frohnmayer appeared as an expert witness on behalf of the tobacco companies in front of a closed-door arbitration panel in Chicago. The Oregon Department of Justice released Frohnmayer’s testimony to WW in response to a public records request.

In an interview, Frohnmayer tells WW he simply provided what he says was unbiased, objective testimony. And he says he would have provided the same testimony had he instead been hired by the state of Oregon or called by the three-judge panel as an independent witness.

But neither of those things happened; instead, Frohnmayer appeared as a paid witness for tobacco firms trying to get out of making payments to the state of Oregon under the tobacco settlement reached more than a decade ago.

Frohnmayer’s testimony reinforced the tobacco companies’ claims against the state.

Frohnmayer says his testimony for the tobacco companies was squarely in the public’s interest, because his contention was that the state could have enforced the settlement more aggressively against smaller tobacco companies.

“I testified that the powers of the Oregon attorney general are expansive,” Frohnmayer says. “That’s totally consistent with my public service from the day I entered the Legislature.” 

The article, which can and should be be read in full here, goes on to say that "Frohnmayer now works for the Eugene law firm of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, which has represented Philip Morris in the past. He bills as much as $550 an hour (but declined to say how much tobacco companies paid him to testify). In addition, he gets a $257,000 annual pension from the Public Employees Retirement System and $101,000 a year as a part-time law professor at UO. (Harrang Long is also UO’s law firm, billing $647,000 since March 2012.)"

UO Matters reports that Frohnmayer is being paid $50,000 to teach a course in the UO Honors College. 

Frohnmayer's law firm represents the UO in negotiations with the United Academics union on campus. UO Matters also looked into how much that was costing the school, writing, "It looks like the administration is paying about $100K a month to outside lawyers and consultants to do the bargaining with the faculty union."