Consumer Choice Center

Consumer Choice Center (CCC)

Background

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) is a 501(C)(3) organization that was set up in March 2017 and promoted as “a grassroots-led movement” that “empowers consumers across the globe.” 

According to its website, the CCC “represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe” while closely monitoring trends in Washington, Brussels, Geneva and what it describes as other “hotspots of regulation” with the ultimate goal to “inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice.” [1], [2], [3][4]

According to the CCC's listed mission: “Learning from the successes of its parent organization, Students For Liberty, the CCC will bring the struggle for consumer freedom to the next level.” CCC's parent organization, Students For Liberty (SFL), has received more than $100,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation, the Atlas Network, and other right-wing funders. [4]

One investigation by the Brussels think tank Corporate Europe Observatory suggested the CCC was working as a lobby group for a network pushing deregulation. As opposed to representing consumers as it claims, the investigation claimed CCC and another group “represent their funders’ rather than consumer interests.” [5]

DeSmog UK reported the group had likely ties to a range of organisations and individuals known for their efforts to combat environmental regulations, including the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and Charles Koch. IEA has been closely tied to a network of organizations that have both pushed for Brexit and have dismissed the threat of man-made climate change. [1]

A spokesperson for the IEA told DeSmog UK that it “has no formal relationship with the CCC.” He added that “Both organisations work on similar areas and staff have spoken at each other’s events, but there is no official affiliation.” [1]

Stance on Climate Change

While the CCC does not have an official statement on climate change, it has worked with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a group that has stated “Free-market structures and the wealth generated by markets” as methods to “best adapt to climate change.” [6]

Lobbying

The CCC has four full time lobbyists and spent up to €199,999 on lobbying between May 2015 and April 2016, according to lobbyfacts.eu. [7]

Funding

While the CCC has described itself as “pretty much bootstrapped” according to director Federik Roeder, nonprofit filing records indicate the group started with a total budget of €3,652,198. [2]

Speaking with Politico, Roeder added he would not take public funding but is “totally open” to corporate donations. “I know lots of corporations and businesses are going to see the value in supporting Consumer Choice,” he said, claiming that donors would have no influence on the organization’s activities. [3]

Students for Liberty Funding

Below is the funding listed by Conservative Transparency, combined with data from public 990 forms, for the CCC's parent organization, Students for Liberty: [8]

Donor Total
Donors Capital Fund $895,099
John Templeton Foundation $759,774
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $416,905
DonorsTrust $382,600
Claws Foundation $170,000
The Rodney Fund $131,032
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $105,328
Lowndes Foundation $95,000
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $63,000
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $44,000
Searle Freedom Trust $30,000
Institute for Humane Studies $20,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation $15,000
Center for Independent Thought $5,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $5,000
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $5,000
Foundation for Economic Education $1,300
Grand Total $3,144,038

Key People

As noted by Corporate Europe Observatory, “it can be quite hard to identify where SFL ends and CCC begins.” Not only do the two groups share the same registered address, but nearly all of the CCC's staff are either alumni of SFL or currently working there. [5]

The following “Staff & Fellows” were listed on the CCC website in 2017: [4]

Name Description
Frederik Roeder Managing Director
Yaël Ossowski Deputy Director
Luca Bertoletti European Affairs Manager
Adam Cleave Senior Advisor
David Clement North American Affairs Manager
Bill Wirtz Policy Analyst
Ryan Khurana Research Fellow
Brad Lake Intern

Actions

April 29, 2017

According to Corporate Europe Observatory, the CCC's launch event took place in a hotel near the European Parliament, and included presentations from two CCC speakers plus a representative from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) as well as right-leaning European People's Party MEP Stefano Maullu. [5]

“The launch was a peculiar affair for a grassroots event, attended almost exclusively by men in suits and sporting a vase for business cards at the door,” the Corporate Europe Observatory noted. [5]

CCC reported it had worked with another think tank, Forest EU, as well as the libertarian think tank EPICENTER and its members, which include the Institute of Economic Affairs. Forest EU is a pro-smoking lobby group that stands for “Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco in the European Union.” The Corporate Europe Observatory reported that Forest EU’s director Guillaume Périgois said he was glad to support the CCC, since he saw tobacco regulation as the blueprint for other sectors. [5]

During the CCC's launch event, Christopher Snowden, head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, presented an EPICENTER report promoting the “Nanny State Index” in Brussels. The report also mentions collaboration with Students for Liberty. [9]

When asked at the event about the group's three-million-euro budget, Roeder responded that the initial seed funding came from the group's parent organization, Students for Liberty (SFL). [5]

The CCC released the following video to accompany the group's opening.

Related Organizations

Contact & Address

Note that, as of August 2017, the following address was shared by the CCC and by its “parent organization,” Students For Liberty. [4], [10]

Address 

2221 S Clark St. 12th Floor
Arlington, VA 22202, USA

Phone

+19802531552
+393451694519

E-Mail

[email protected]

[email protected]

Social Media

Resources

  1. Mat Hope. “New Lobby Group Tied to Brexit Climate Science Deniers and Koch Industries Pushes for Deregulation in Europe,” DeSmog UK, July 20, 2017.

  2. Profile of registrant: Consumer Choice Center,” Transparency Register. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Y4eh6

  3. Harry Cooper and Quentin Aries. POLITICO Brussels Influence: Consumers for liberty — EU breaches justice rules,” Politico, March 24, 2017. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/IyAtr

  4. Consumer Choice Center homepage. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/K47mO

  5. Big Tobacco and right-wing US billionaires funding anti-regulation hardliners in the EU,” Corporate Europe Observatory, July 20, 2017. Archived August 20, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/qxGAG

  6. Climate Alarmism Reconsidered,” Institute of Economic Affairs, November 17, 2004. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/PNtLm

  7. Consumer Choice Center (CCC),” LobbyFacts.eu. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ib7B9

  8. Students for Liberty,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 16, 2017.

  9. Christopher Snowden. “Nanny State Index 2017” (PDF), EPICENTER. Retrieved from Nannystateindex.org.

  10. Get in Touch with SFL,” Students For Liberty. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/7nKUy

Other Resources