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.”1Harry Cooper and Quentin Aries. “POLITICO Brussels Influence: Consumers for liberty — EU breaches justice rules,” Politico, March 24, 2017. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.is/IyAtr 2Consumer Choice Center homepage. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.is/K47mO

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.”3Mat Hope. “New Lobby Group Tied to Brexit Climate Science Deniers and Koch Industries Pushes for Deregulation in Europe,” DeSmog UK, July 20, 2017. 4“Profile of registrant: Consumer Choice Center,” Transparency Register. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.is/Y4eh6

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.5Consumer Choice Center homepage. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.is/K47mO

A 2023 DeSmog investigation found that CCC was in apparent breach of EU lobbying rules, according to campaigners. Since May 2022, the group had advocated against green regulations whilst being unregistered on the EU’s Transparency Register, having also published a series of articles and Facebook adverts pushing back against EU green transition and green agriculture reforms.6Clare Carlile. “US Oil-Linked Pressure Group Attacks EU Green Policies, Breaks Lobbying Rules,” DeSmog, July 13, 2023. Archived July 13, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hUiOG

One 2017 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.”7Big Tobacco and right-wing US billionaires funding anti-regulation hardliners in the EU,” Corporate Europe Observatory, July 20, 2017. Archived August 20, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.is/qxGAG

DeSmog UK also 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.8Mat Hope. “New Lobby Group Tied to Brexit Climate Science Deniers and Koch Industries Pushes for Deregulation in Europe,” DeSmog UK, July 20, 2017.

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.”9Mat Hope. “New Lobby Group Tied to Brexit Climate Science Deniers and Koch Industries Pushes for Deregulation in Europe,” DeSmog UK, July 20, 2017.

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.”10Climate Alarmism Reconsidered,” Institute of Economic Affairs, November 17, 2004. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.is/PNtLm

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.11Consumer Choice Center (CCC),” LobbyFacts.eu. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ib7B9

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 €3,652,198.12Profile of registrant: Consumer Choice Center,” Transparency Register. Archived August 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Y4eh6

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.13Harry 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

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. Note that donations to Network for a Free Society, formerly Atlas Economic Research Foundation UK, include values to Students for Liberty entities in other countries:14Students for Liberty,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 16, 2017.

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.15Big 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 URL: https://archive.is/qxGAG

The following “Staff & Fellows” were listed on the CCC website in 2017:16Consumer Choice Center homepage. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/K47mO

NameDescription
Frederik RoederManaging Director
Yaël OssowskiDeputy Director
Luca BertolettiEuropean Affairs Manager
Adam CleaveSenior Advisor
David ClementNorth American Affairs Manager
Bill WirtzPolicy Analyst
Ryan KhuranaResearch Fellow
Brad LakeIntern

Actions

July 12, 2023

DeSmog revealed that the CCC was in apparent breach of EU lobbying rules for advocating against green regulations in Europe without being registered as a lobby group. The group was removed from the EU’s Transparency Register in May 2022, following “data quality checks” by the European Commission.” 17Clare Carlile. “US Oil-Linked Pressure Group Attacks EU Green Policies, Breaks Lobbying Rules,” DeSmog, July 13, 2023. Archived July 13, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hUiOG

CCC had continued to push back on EU green transition and agriculture regulation since its removal from the Register. It ran a sponsored advert on Facebook in April 2023 about the EU’s plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-vehicles, stating that “Europe is favouring one type of technology over the other by banning gas-powered vehicles, when in essence the choice should be up to consumers.” During the same period, CCC also ran Facebook adverts opposing EU plans to strengthen chemical regulations, warning, “Don’t let your favourite beauty products go away.”

In addition, the CCC had published over 50 articles since May 2022 on live policy issues, including several which which cast EU reforms as a threat to the “entire agricultural sector.”

September 8, 2022

In an article for La Chronique Agora, Public Policy analyst for the CCC, Bill Wirtz urged Europe and the United States to “put all their climate ambitions on hold, refine more oil and cooperate to get it quickly and efficiently.”18Bill Wirtz. “Pourquoi les Etats-Unis ne nous fournissent pas plus de pétrole?,” La Chronique Agora, September 8, 2022. Archived September 8, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/oqxoo

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.19Big 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

“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.20Big 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

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.21Big 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

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.22Christopher Snowden. “Nanny State Index 2017” (PDF), EPICENTER. Retrieved from Nannystateindex.org.

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).23Big 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

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

Contact & Address

Note that, as of August 2017, the following address was shared by the CCC and by its “parent organization,” Students For Liberty.28Consumer Choice Center homepage. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/K47mO,29Get in Touch with SFL,” Students For Liberty. Archived August 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/7nKUy

Address 

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

Phone

+19802531552
+393451694519

E-Mail

[email protected]

[email protected]

Social Media

Resources

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