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Anti-consumer Center for Consumer Freedom "not remotely charitable"
DawnWatch: Washington Post on "Consumer Freedom" anti AR lobby group 4/27/05
Many people have heard of "Consumer Freedom," the tobacco and restaurant lobby group that devotes itself largely to attacking pro-veggie groups such as PETA, and anti drink-driving groups such as Mothers Against Drink Driving. In response to an ad blitz by the group, the Wednesday, April 27, Washington Post carried a lead story (Pg E1) headed, "The Escalating Obesity Wars. Nonprofit's Tactics, Funding Sources Spark Controversy."
The article tells us that in its ads Consumer Freedom describes itself as a "nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting consumer choices and promoting common sense." However "The group was founded about 10 years ago with tobacco-company and restaurant money to fight smoking curbs in restaurants" but has "shifted its focus to food and beverage issues, raised by concerns about obesity, mad cow disease and genetically modified products."
We learn, "The group and its ads are the brainchild of Richard Berman.... Philip Morris USA Inc. pledged $600,000 -- most of the seed money -- for Berman's group in 1995." And we read that to the Washington Post, "Berman declined to give specifics about who funds the Center for Consumer Freedom."
And we learn that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group funded by several educational foundations, asked the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the Center for Consumer Freedom's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status: "The watchdog group said Berman has used the center to funnel money to himself and his company, a violation of federal tax law that bars companies or individuals from running a nonprofit for their private benefit. The organization also said that the group's activities were solely to promote the causes of restaurants and food producers, not consumers. Its activities, the organization said, are 'not remotely charitable.'"
The article discusses some of Consumer Freedom's advertising campaigns. You can read it on line at:
It gives us a nice opportunity for letters about the effect of the fast food industry on human health and on our humanity -- specifically our treatment of other animals.
The Washington Post takes letters at letters [at] washpost.com and advises, "Letters must be exclusive to The Washington Post, and must include the writer's home address and home and business telephone numbers."
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)