Alexis de Tocqueville Institution

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI) is an industry-funded organization which advocates lower taxes and less regulation.

It also works on education 'reform' and against teachers unions, immigration policy, environmental issues and projects on China, Cuba, Africa and Switzerland. It has defended the interests of the tobacco industry and works on the International Monetary Fund. More recently it has made a name for itself defending the interests of proprietary software companies and criticising open-source software.

AdTI is a part of the stable of conservative think tanks with their commentary regularly posted on the websites of the Cato Institute, Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Science and Environmental Policy Project and other websites.

Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
AdTI (Doc Index) Documents
Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.


The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution was founded in 1988 in Redwood City, CA. The first corporate board was formed in 1989 by Robert Severns, Eugene Ravizza and Bruce Thompson. AdTI claims that they "follow the principles of Tocqueville himself...among these liberal ideas are civil liberty, political equality, and economic freedom and opportunity".

On older pages on their web site they wrote ".. Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a non-profit public research foundation with offices in Virginia and California" [1] but they haven't had any activities in California for a long time.

On AdTI's 990 for the year 2001 the address was 10 Benning Street # 151, West Lebanon, NH 03784. Earlier 990 forms had 1611 N. Kent Street room 901, Arlington, VA 22209. Old pages of the Emerging Markets Group had almost the same address: 1611 North Kent Street #901-b, Arlington, VA 22209 [2]. On the other hand, the address in West Lebanon can also be found on the 990 form for 2002 of the Ernest Martin Hopkins Institute and in 2003 was shown on the web site of the Democratic Century Fund [3] which is managed by the Emerging Markets Group.

Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.


Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute

Working closely with Philip Morris, they issued studies arguing that the EPA's regulations (including those of cigarette smoke) were scientifically unsound, overly-burdensome, and unnecessary.

Facing a cigarette tax increase as part of the Clinton healthcare plan, they organized an astroturf campaign to misleadingly attack it, charging Morris $60,000 for the work. [4]

AdTi sought work from, and received financial support from the tobacco industry. A 1995 Tobacco Institute budget shows a donation of $20,000 slated for AdTI. A 1998 Tobacco Institute PUblic Affairs budget shows $10,000 in support slated for AdTI.[1][2][3]

1995 Apr 25 The Tobacco Institute lobbyists activities list and claims of recent successes.

De Tocqueville-Canadian Project
Worked with Mark Smith of RJR and Cesar Conda, executive director of the De Tocqueville Institute to set up a public affairs program on the Canadian cigarette market. The purpose was to alert US legislators and the public to the cross border dangers of a high US cigarette tax.

The project led to an in-depth study of the hi-tax Canadian cigarette market and its implications for possible cross border sales along our Mexican border should the US install large cigarettte tax hikes.

The De Tocqueville study was released in March by the National Association of Convenience Stores, it was the subject of a number of op-ed articles in newpapers. And, the study itself was published in Tax Notes, a nationally well regarded tax journal.

The Tobacco Institute (TI) wrote two Canadian op-ed articles. One op-ed on the lessons from Canada's recent decision to reduce cigarette taxes and the other op-ed on the effect of Canada's lower cigarette tax on the Consumer's Price Index.

Both of these op-eds were released to the press by the De Tocqueville Institute and showed up in a variety of newspapers.

De Tocqueville ETS Project
Worked with the De Tocqueville Institute to set up public affairs initiative on the ETS issue. Four part De Tocqueville study will outline the poor science and analysis used by EPA in its risk assessments and cost-benefit analysis. One part of the study is dedicated to ETS.

Study will be released on Capitol Hill on August 11 by House members Pete Geren and John Mica.

TI also worked to set-up Scientific Advisory Board and craft media strategy for this program.



Heavily funded by Microsoft [6][7], they have engaged in a number of campaigns to suggest Open Source Software, and Linux in particular, is dangerous, insecure, and illegal.

In 2004, the institute announced a book claiming Linus Torvalds did not invent Linux. The book's pre-publication draft was widely discredited, eventually leading the AdTI to abandon its plan to officially publish the book. The critique led Roland Smith to give the institute the nickname "the think tank that didn't", a nickname that was then gleefully picked up by others in the Linux community. While conceding they did fund the institute, Microsoft refused to comment on whether they specifically funded the book.


AdTI is very secretive about their income sources, refusing to divulge any funders, but we do know about some grants they have received.

Between 1988 and 2002, AdTI has received $1,723,900 (unadjusted for inflation) from conservative foundations [8], namely Bradley, Olin, Scaife, the Philip M. McKenna Foundation, and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation (a Koch Family Foundations).

Projects funded by these foundations include:

  • Bradley grants “to support education-reform research and activities”;
  • the “Teacher Choice Project”;
  • $50,000 to “support research on teacher unions and education reform” (Bradley, 2000)
  • $168,750 “to support research and writing on new tactics of U.S. progressive movement in the Post-Cold War era” (Bradley and Olin, 1998)
  • $30,000 for “the Action Plan for Defense Privatization, conducted by the Committee for the Common Defense” (Olin, 1995-1996)
  • $5,000 to “support promotion for The Democratic Century, a book by Gregory Fossedal” (Olin, 1998)

Conservative think-tank Capital Research Center reports funding by Fannie Mae, AT&T Foundation, and Amoco Foundation. [9] [10] contains a number of searchable documents produced as a result of the settlement of court actions that link AdTI to Lorillard and Phillip Morris corporations. AdTI is linked to Dr. S. Fred Singer in the tobacco documents [11], the Cooler Heads Coalition [12], Consumer Alert [13], Heartland Institute [14] [15] and the Competitive Enterprise Institute [16] [17] [18].

See also: AdTI-Funding.


Staff and Associates
Name Title
Mike Gravel Chairman
Ken Brown President
Christopher Cox Co-Chairman
AdTI Board of Advisors
John Norquist Co-Chairman
AdTI Board of Advisors
Gordon Macklin Co-Chairman
Market History Research Program
Robert Toricelli Co-Chairman
IMF Assessment Project
Gregory Fossedal Senior Fellow
Donald Payne Co-Chairman
Opportunity Africa
Alveda King Senior Fellow
Education Policy and Civil Rights
Becky Norton Dunlop Director, Democracy and the Environment Research Program
David Kirkpatrick Fellow, Education Policy
Dan Evans Teacher Choice Fellow
Don Koniezco Teacher Choice Fellow
Marilyn Ketter Rittmeyer Teacher Choice Fellow
Sahir Zuberi Webmaster


Contact details

345 E. 18th St. # 220
New York, NY 10003

AdTI Programs

Most of the following AdTI programs are now defunct:

External links

  1. deTocqueville Follow-upSmith M. Letter. September 27, 1994. Bates No. 515245526
  2. Public Affairs Division End of 19950700 Budget. August 7, 1995. Tobacco Institute Bates No. TI16680835/0840
  3. Public Affairs - 1998 Budget Tracking Tobacco Institute. Budget. July 23 1998. Bates NO. TI30849019/9023

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