CCF funding

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation. Help expose the truth about the tobacco industry.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

CCF funding is a subsection of the main SourceWatch article Center for Consumer Freedom.

Center for Consumer Freedom funding

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is registered as tax-exempt nonprofit organization and is required to disclose some financial information to the Internal Revenue Service which is publicly available by inspecting their IRS Form 990s. Like Berman's other front groups, it does not disclose the identity of its funders, but some information about it has become publicly available thanks to the 1998 attorney generals' settlement with the tobacco industry, which required tobacco companies to release millions of pages of previously secret company documents.

CCF claims to represent "more than 30,000 U.S. restaurants and tavern operators." However, the IRS Form 990 which it filed for the the six-month period from July to December 1999 (under the name of "Guest Choice Network") shows that almost all of its financial support came from a handful of anonymous sources. Its total income for that period was $111,642, of which $105,000 came from six unnamed donors. It received no income from membership dues. Some of its funding apparently came from one of Berman's other organizations, the American Beverage Institute, which "contributes monthly amounts to the Guest Choice Network to assist with media expenses." The Guest Choice Network did not report paying salaries to any of its employees, who were presumably paid by Berman & Co. CCF's Form 990 for the year 2000 showed total income of $514,321, almost all of which ($492,500) came from seven unnamed donors. Once again, it received no income from membership dues and did not report paying salaries to any employees. However, it did list $256,077 in compensation paid to Berman and Co., Inc., for "management services."

In 2004, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that CCF violated its nonprofit, tax-exempt status. IRS law prohibits private individuals from benefiting from nonprofit organizations, but CREW alleges that Rick Berman and his for-profit lobbying and public relations firm have received nearly $2 million from CCF and its predecessor organization since 1999.[1] Tax-exempt organizations must have a charitable purpose, but CREW notes that CCF lobbies exclusively on behalf of food producers and the restaurant and tobacco industries.

Funding from Right-Wing Bradley Foundation in Wisconsin

The right-wing Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and "doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined" from 2001 to 2009, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,[2] has given at least $375,000 (from 2009 to 2012) to CCF. The Bradley Foundation gave CCF $200,000 in 2009,[3] $50,000 in 2010,[4] and $125,000 in 2012,[5] according to the foundation's IRS tax filings for those years. See Contributions of the Bradley Foundation for more.

Funding from GMO Company J.R. Simplot

The J.R. Simplot Company Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) run by the J.R. Simplot Company -- a privately-owned agricultural genetic engineering company describing itself as "one of the largest privately held food and agribusiness companies in the nation"[6] -- gave $20,000 to CCF in 2010.[7]

2011 Finances

In 2011, The Center for Consumer Freedom reported $1,402,807 in total revenue in 2011 on its 990 tax return, and $2,121,780 in expenses.[8]

CCF reported spending $1,294,488 on its own president's consulting company, Richard Berman And Company, Inc.. It also spent $128,859 advertising on Fox News.

CFC received a total of $15,500,073 in gifts, grants and contributions from 2007-2011. It gave fellow Berman front group The Center for Union Facts a $22,000 cash grant in 2011.[9]

2005 Finances

CCF's Form 990 for the year 2005 listed total revenue of $3.67 million. [10] Of its expenditure of $3.82 million in 2005, $2.19 million was for a series of major advertisements, $856,699 was for running a series of websites and distributring a daily emnail newsletter to "approximately 30,000 subscribers" and a further $214,000 on maintaining a "database of foundations grants and funding sources of organizations dealing with food and beverage issues."[11]

Of the group's $3.82 million of expenditure in 2005, $1.62 million was paid as compensation to Berman & Co., representating approximately 42% of the group's total expenditure.[12]

CCF contributions table

The Center for Media and Democracy obtained the following information on corporate contributions to the Guest Choice Network/CCF through documents obtained from a whistleblower:

Contributors
Corporation Pre-2001 2001 2002 Total
Coca-Cola Company $200,000   $200,000
Excel/Cargill $100,000 $100,000 $200,000
Monsanto $200,000   $200,000
Tyson Foods $100,000 $100,000 $200,000
Wendy's International, Inc. $200,000   $200,000
Outback Steakhouse $164,600   $164,600
Pilgrim's Pride Corp. $100,000   $100,000
HMS Host Corporation $50,000 $25,000 $75,000
RTM, Inc.     $64,872 $64,872
White Castle System $43,872   $43,872
Perdue Farms, Inc.     $40,000 $40,000
Hatfield Quality Meats $33,700   $33,700
Brinker International     $25,000 $25,000
Quantum Foods $18,000   $18,000
Standard Meat $17,500     $17,500
Applebee's International, Inc. $15,000   $15,000
Coldwater Seafood $15,000   $15,000
P.F. Chang's China Bistro $15,000   $15,000
Performance Food Group $15,000   $15,000
Rare Hospitality $15,000   $15,000
Marie Callendar Pie Shops $11,900   $11,900
Advantica Restaurant Group $10,000     $10,000
National Steak and Poultry $10,000   $10,000
Packaging Corporation of America $10,000   $10,000
T. Marzetti Company $10,000   $10,000
Trinchero Family Estates $10,000     $10,000
King and Prince Seafood $9,200   $9,200
Paradise Tomato Kitchens, Inc.     $7,500 $7,500
Michigan Turkey Producers Cooperative     $7,000 $7,000
Fired Up $6,000   $6,000
Restaurant Concepts $6,000   $6,000
Rosemount Estates (Southcorp Wines) $5,300   $5,300
TriOak Foods $5,100   $5,100
Armour-Swift Eckrich $5,000     $5,000
Darifair Foods     $5,000 $5,000
Dean Foods Company     $5,000 $5,000
Ken's Foods Inc.     $5,000 $5,000
Simmons Foods, Inc.     $5,000 $5,000
Sugar Foods Corporation $5,000   $5,000
Casual Restaurant Concepts $3,300   $3,300
LTP Management Group $3,250   $3,250
Anton's Airfoods, Inc. $3,000   $3,000
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants $1,250 $1,250 $2,500
Chart House Enterprises $2,500     $2,500
Max & Erma's Restaurants, Inc. $2,500     $2,500
Royal Cup $1,000 $1,500 $2,500
Pro Edge $2,400   $2,400
Comarco Products $2,000     $2,000
Save-on Seafood $2,000   $2,000
Sun Orchard, Inc.     $2,000 $2,000
Custom Cuts $1,500   $1,500
Good Humor/Breyer's Ice Cream     $1,500 $1,500
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. $1,500     $1,500
Pro Clean     $1,500 $1,500
Worldwide Restaurants Concepts $1,500   $1,500
Bestfoods Foodservice $1,250     $1,250
Kagome, Inc. $1,086   $1,086
Campagna-Turano Bakery, Inc. $,500 $,500 $1,000
Carlson Hospitality Worldwide $1,000     $1,000
Country Kitchen International $1,000     $1,000
Daisy Brand $1,000   $1,000
Eli's Cheesecake Company     $1,000 $1,000
Jeff's Gourmet Pies $1,000   $1,000
John Soules Foods     $1,000 $1,000
KPR Foods $1,000   $1,000
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers $1,000   $1,000
Revolution, Inc.     $1,000 $1,000
Ruth's Chris Steak House, Inc. $1,000     $1,000
John R. Daily Company $,750   $,750
Mexican Restaurants $,750   $,750
Not Your Average Joe's $,347 $,347 $,694
Buca, Inc. $,500     $,500
Louise's Trattoria $,500     $,500
National Everclean Service     $,500 $,500
North American Enterprises $,500   $,500
Real Food Marketing $,500   $,500
Ruby Tuesday, Inc. $,500     $,500
Syracuse's Italian Sausage     $,500 $,500
China Mist     $,400 $,400
KorBert, Inc. $,300   $,300
Crystal's International $,252   $,252
4 B's Restaurants $,200     $,200
North American Provisioners $,150   $,150
Coffee Reserve, Inc.     $,140 $,140
Total $56,950 $1392,007 $402,509 $1851,466

References

  1. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 61
  2. Barbara Miner, Wisconsin's Progressive Tradition at Stake in the Recall Election, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 14, 2012.
  3. Center for Consumer Freedom, 2009 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 11, 2010.
  4. Center for Consumer Freedom, 2010 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 14, 2011.
  5. Center for Consumer Freedom, 2012 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 12, 2013.
  6. ,J.R. Simplot, Corporate Overview, corporate website, accessed July 8, 2013.
  7. J.R. Simplot Company Foundation, Inc., 2010 Form 990, foundation annual IRS form, February 13, 2012.
  8. The Center for Consumer Freedom, 2011 990 tax return, organizational document, accessed May 8, 2013
  9. The Center for Consumer Freedom, 2011 990 tax return, organizational document, accessed May 8, 2013
  10. "The Center for Consumer Freedom", Form 990, 2005, p.1.
  11. "The Center for Consumer Freedom", Form 990, 2005, p.3.
  12. "The Center for Consumer Freedom", Form 990, 2005, p.5.