American Council for Capital Formation

The American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF)

Background

The American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) is a Washington, DC-based free market think tank that prides itself on “economic growth through sound tax, regulatory, and environmental policies.” [1]

The group has called itself a “well-connected spokesman for American business in Washington,” a “key player” in policy circles, and “one of the most influential organizations operating behind the scenes” in the Washington policymaking arena. [2]

ACCF's president and CEO, Mark A. Bloomfield has been described as “a well-connected spokesman for American business” and “one of the most influential figures operating behind the scenes in the Congress.” [3]

ACCF is known for two studies, produced by the industry and Koch-funded National Association of Scholars, which critics have said feature a “distorted analysis” of proposed legislation to combat climate change. [4
][5][6]

ACCF Center for Policy Research

In 1973, ACCF created a 501(c)3 nonprofit entitled the American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research that “brings together academics, policymakers, business executives and the media to discuss important new research on economic and environmental policies and explore the public policy implications of the research.” [7]

Stance on Climate Change

ACCF does not deny the existence of global warming, as the ACCF statement on Energy and Climate Change Policy shows:

“Because energy use and economic growth go hand in hand, policymakers should develop a flexible, long-term approach to reducing the growth of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This will require a global effort based on technological innovation and technology transfer to developing countries where GHG emissions growth is most rapid. In addition, U.S. tax policies should be reformed to reduce the cost of capital for new energy efficient and pollution control technologies.” [8]

However, in the past ACCF's has denounced government policies that could be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as not worth the cost. For example, ACCF commented on regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act:

“Expanding the jurisdiction of the CAA to regulate domestic emissions of carbon and other GHGs will provide no net benefits to environmental quality while posing serious risks to our nation’s competitiveness, and even hampering our ability to deploy the advanced technologies which will be necessary to deal effectively with the challenges posed by Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. ” [9]

Funding

The Conservative Transparency project has compiled funding for the American Council for Capital Formation from 1986 to 2013. View the summary below, or see the attached spreadsheet for additional information on ACCF funding by year (.xls). Note that not all funding records have been verified for accuracy by DeSmogBlog. [10]

Exxon Mobil* $1,379,523
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation** $525,000
American Petroleum Institute $300,000
Searle Freedom Trust $275,000
John M. Olin Foundation $100,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation** $75,000
True Foundation $11,700
William E. Simon Foundation $2,500
Grand Total $2,668,723

*Exxon Funding

*According to ExxonSecrets, the ACCF has actually received over $1.6 million from ExxonMobil for “climate change activities.” [11]

**Koch Funding

Greenpeace found that ACCF had received $365,000 received from Koch foundations from 2005 to 2011, with total funding from Koch foundation grants between 1997 and 2001 topping out at $375,000. [12]

Note that the above Conservative Transparency data includes more recent 2012 and 2013 donation data, and also reported an additional $50,000 in funding for 2008. This is the reason for the discrepancy between the Greenpeace and Conservative Transparency data.

Other Funders


According to a 2004-05 document covering supporters of the American Council for Capital Formation, ACCF Center for Policy Research, and International Council for Capital Formation (PDF), the ACCF and their affiliate organizations have also received funding from other organizations including energy-sector and automobile companies: [13]

ADP Foundation
Advanced Medical Technology Association
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
American Benefits Council
American Business Conference
American Century Investments
American Chemistry Council
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Forest & Paper Association
American Gas Association
American Petroleum Institute
American Wholesale Marketers Association
AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology
Associated Equipment Distributors
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
BellSouth Corporation
Campbell Soup Company
Center for Energy & Economic Development
Cly-Del Manufacturing Company
Conference of State Bank Supervisors
Contran Corporation
DaimlerChrysler Corporation
Driscoll Foundation
Edison Electric Institute
Equipment Leasing Association of America
Ernst & Young
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Fidelity Investments
Financial Services Roundtable
Fisher Scientific International, Inc.
FMC Corporation
FORATOM
Ford Motor Company
General Dynamics Corporation
General Mills
General Motors Corporation
Harry S. Flemming Foundation
Hillside Capital Incorporated
Institute for Global Economic Growth
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
John L. Loeb, Jr. Foundation
Kinsey Interests, Inc.
Loeb Partners Corporation
Malek Family Trust Foundation
Marathon Oil Corporation
Matrix Capital Markets Group, Inc.
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
Metals Service Center Institute
Microsoft Corporation
Milliken & Company
Morgan Stanley
Morgenthaler Management Corp.
National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts
National Beer Wholesalers Association
National Electrical Contractors Association
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Nationwide Insurance & Financial Co.
New York Stock Exchange Foundation
Newspaper Association of America
Nordberg Family Fund
Nuclear Energy Institute
Oracle Corporation
Pepco Holdings, Inc.
Portland Cement Association
Principal Financial Group
Qwest Communications, Inc.
Securities Industry Association
Small Business Entrepreneurial Council
Southern Company
T. Rowe Price & Associates
The Aluminum Association, Inc.
The Arthur Loeb Foundation
The Jeffrey Company
The Prudential Foundation
The Real Estate Roundtable
The Whitehead Foundation
Theragenics Corporation
Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Tudor Investment Corporation
Twenty-First Securities Corporation
TXU Business Services
Uniform & Textile Service Association
Westinghouse Electric Company
Weyerhaeuser Company
Winthrop, Inc.

990 Forms

According to the ACCF's 2014 tax forms, the organization recorded $1,046,464 in total revenue, paid out $1,031,772 in salaries, and had total assets of $1,411,457.
  

 

Key People

Board of Directors

ACCF's Officers and Board of Directors has included former high-ranking politicians (predominantly Republican) in the U.S. government along with representatives of industry associations.

As of February, 2016, the following people were listed on the American Council for Capital Formation's Board of Directors[14]

Mark A. Bloomfield President and Chief Executive Officer, American Council for Capital Formation
Dave McCurdy President and Chief Executive Officer, American Gas Association
Susan K. Neely President and Chief Executive Officer, American Beverage Association
Richard W. Rahn Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Steven A. Wechsler President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts

Advisors

As of February, 2016, the following “Advisors” were listed by the the American Council for Capital Formation[14]

Bill Archer former Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means
Andrew Card former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush
Kenneth M. Duberstein former Chief of Staff to President Reagan
Jo Ann Emerson Chief Executive Officer, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
John Engler former Governor State of Michigan
Donna A. Harman President and Chief Executive Officer, American Forest & Paper Association
James R. Jones former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
Jim Kolbe former Member of Congress
Thomas R. Kuhn President, Edison Electric Institute
Donald L. Lucas Venture Capitalist
Frederic V. Malek Founder and Chairman, Thayer Capital Partners, L.P.
Jim McCrery former Member of Congress
Don Nickles former Chairman, Senate Committee on the Budget
Michael G. Oxley former Chairman, House Committee on Financial Services
Gerald L. Parsky Chairman, Aurora Capital Group
George P. Shultz former Secretary of State
Richard D. Shelby Partner, Capitol Hill Consulting Group
Charles W. Stenholm former Member of Congress
Mark A. Weinberger Global Chairman & CEO, Ernst & Young

Officers & Staff

As of February, 2016, the following Staff and Officers were listed on the American Council for Capital Formation's website: [15]

Mark A Bloomfield President & CEO
George “David” Banks Executive Vice President
Pinar Cebi Wilber Senior Economist
Marie Sanderson Senior Fellow & Director of State and Local Economic Policy
Jeff Crater Senior Fellow & Director of U.S. Defense Industry and Economy
Tony Nash Senior Economic Adviser for International Economic Policy
Margo Thorning Senior Economic Policy Advisor
Mike Burita Director of Communications
Ashley Laing Membership & Events Manager
Hamideh Kashaninejad Treasurer

Distinguished Fellows (Center for Policy Research)

As of February, 2016, the following “Distinguished Fellows” were listed at the ACCF's “Center for Policy Research”: [16]

Michael Boskin Friedman Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
John Taylor Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics, Stanford University
Robert Lucas Nobel Laureate, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy at Carnegie Mellon University
William M. Gentry Professor of Economics, Williams College
Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Economics and Law, Columbia University and Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations
Edward C. Prescott W.P. Carey Chair of Economics, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
N. Gregory Mankiw Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Dale W. Jorgenson Samuel Morris University Professor, Department of Economics, Harvard University
James Poterba President & CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research
Douglas Holtz-Eakin Professor of Economics, Syracuse University
Gary C. Hufbauer Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, Institute for International Economics
Henry D. Jacoby Pounds Professor of Management, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thomas Horst Managing Director, Horst, Frisch, Clowery & Finan
Richard L. Schmalensee Dean, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John B. Shoven Charles Schwab Professor of Economics, Stanford University
Gary W. Yohe Professor of Economics, Wesleyan University
Arnold C. Harberger Professor of Economics, University of California at Los Angeles
R. Glenn Hubbard Professor of Econonmics, Columbia University
B. Douglas Berheim Professor of Economics, Stanford University

Board of Scholars (Center for Policy Research)

As of February, 2016, the following people were listed on the American Council for Capital Formation's Board of Scholars at ACCF's “Center for Policy Research”: [17]

Michael J. Boskin T.M. Friedman Professor of Economics, Stanford University Former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers
B. Douglas Bernheim Professor of Economics, Stanford University
Jagdish V. Bhagwati University Professor, Columbia University
William M. Gentry Professor of Economics, Williams College
John D. Graham Dean, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
Robert E. Hall Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Prof. of Economics, Stanford University
Arnold C. Harberger Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of California at Los Angeles
Kevin A. Hassett Director of Economic Policy, American Enterprise Institute
Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin former Director, Congressional Budget Office
R. Glenn Hubbard former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers
Gary C. Hufbauer Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Dale W. Jorgenson Samuel W. Morris University Professor Harvard University
Robert E. Lucas, Jr. 1995 Nobel Laureate in Economics, University of Chicago
Burton G. Malkiel Chemical Bank Chairman’s Professor of Economics, Princeton University
N. Gregory Mankiw former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers
Charles McLure, Jr. Senior Fellow (Emeritus), Hoover Institution, Stanford University Kenneth B. Medlock III
James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics, Rice University
Allan H. Meltzer Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy, Carnegie Mellon University
Laurence H. Meyer former Governor, Federal Reserve Board
Rudolph G. Penner former Director, Congressional Budget Office
Roger B. Porter IBM Professor of Business and Government, Harvard University
James M. Poterba President and Chief Executive Officer, National Bureau of Economic Research
Edward C. Prescott W.P. Carey Chaired Professor, Arizona State University, 2004 Nobel Laureate in Economics
Harvey S. Rosen former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers
John B. Shoven Charles Schwab Professor of Economics Stanford University
John B. Taylor Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics, Stanford University

Actions

January, 2016

Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, ACCF sponsored an ad portraying ethanol as an unclean fuel, and opposing an ethanol mandate policy: [18]



ACCF Executive Vice President George David Banks also denounces corn in the Telegram: “As we hear more about the Renewable Fuel Standard this primary season, it’s important to keep in mind the reality of the corn ethanol mandate: less energy, higher costs and more emissions. And if that sounds like a bad deal, well, that’s because it is.” [19]

August 30, 2015

ACCF's Senior Economic Policy Advisor Margo Thorning wrote an Op-Ed article in The Times-Tribune advocating for an end to oil export bans: [20]

“Allowing the exportation of crude oil will only further incentivize production and drive the Pennsylvania economy for decades to come,” Thorning writes.


December 14, 2011
 

ACCF's Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Margo Thorning testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure on the role of government in clean energy subsidies[21]

Thorning concludes that clean energy industries including those associated with wind, solar power, biofuel and ethanol are “not essential for U.S. economic and job growth and they are unlikely to provide benefits commensurate with their costs.”

According to Thorning, “increased access to domestic onshore and offshore oil and gas reserves, including shale gas, could strongly boost U.S. economic recovery, manufacturing and job growth as well as increasing energy security.” [21]

March, 2008

The ACCF's Vice President, Margo Thorning, teamed up with the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and a think tank called the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, to conduct a four-State speaking tour to discredit the proposed America's Climate Security Act authored by US Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner. [22]

2009

According to Greenpeace, ACCF has partnered twice with the National Association of Manufacturers to produce and disseminate “distorted economic analyses that overstate the costs of climate legislation.” The group has also been prominently featured at US Chamber of Commerce-organized forums on climate. [12]

The ACCF/NAM studies have been debunked more than once. [5][6]

Related Organizations

In August 2002, ACCF established its International affiliate, the International Council for Capital Formation, of which Margo Thorning is the Managing Director. [23]

Hoover Institution
Note: A number of individuals associated with the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) are also affiliated with the 
Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank located at Stanford University focusing on conservative and libertarian ideas.

Below are some examples:

Resources

  1. Capital Formation (Newsletter), American Council for Capital Formation. Vol. 35, No. 1 (January-February 2010). Archived February 10, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  2. Media Room”, American Council for Capital Formation. Archived February 1, 2012. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  3. MARK A. BLOOMFIELD” (PDF), American Council for Capital Formation. Archived February 10, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  4. National Association of Manufacturers,” Sourcewatch. Accessed February 11, 2016.

  5. NAM/ACCF: Distorting their own distorted analysis of climate legislation,” Switchboard, September 10, 2009. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fDxCXlAF

  6. Miles Grant. “Pay no attention to footnote #5,” Grist, August 5, 2009. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fDxG0imk

  7. ACCF Center for Policy Research: Overview,” American Council for Capital Formation. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fDyflO8e

  8. Policy Areas: Energy and Climate Change Policy,” American Council on Science and Health. Archived February 10, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fCfzp050

  9. Re: The American Council for Capital Formation’s Comments on Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Regulating Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act, 73 Fed. Reg. 44354 (July 30, 2008)” (PDF), American Council on Capital Formation, November 28, 2008. Archived February 10, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  10. American Council for Capital Formation,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed February 10, 2016.

  11. FACTSHEET: AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR CAPITAL FORMATION CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH, ACCF,” ExxonSecrets. Accessed February 10, 2016.

  12. American Council on Capital Formation (ACCF): Koch Industries Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fDwuGSke

  13. 2004-05 Supporters of the American Council for Capital Formation, ACCF Center for Policy Research, and International Council for Capital Formation,” CorportateEurope.org. Archived May 12, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  14. Directors & Advisors,” ACCF. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fCn5xSs8

  15. Officers & Staff,” ACCF. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fCnEZnbT

  16. Center for Policy Research Fellows,” ACCF. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fCnLrPSt

  17. Center for Policy Research Scholars,” ACCF. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fCnSVF9d

  18. (Press Release). “Major New Iowa Statewide TV Ad Buy Shines Spotlight on Corn Ethanol's Environmental Toll,” PRNewswire, January 25, 2016. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fDzVEkPH

  19. George David Banks. “Big Corn wins, state loses”, Telegram.com, January 24, 2016. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fE0P97Nu

  20. Margo Thorning. “End ban on oil exports, boost state's economy,” thetimes-tribune.com, August 30, 2015. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fE0jts7c

  21. Clean Energy Tax Incentives: What Role Should Government Play?” The American Council on Capital Formation, December 14, 2011. Archived February 11, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6fDuPtcYO

  22. ACCF/NAMState by State Analyses of the Economic Impact of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act” (PDF), American Council for Capital Formation, October, 2008. Archived November 26, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  23. INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CAPITAL FORMATION” (PDF), ICCFglobal.org. Archived March 9, 2012. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

Other Resources

Organizations: