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Human and Civil Rights : Advocacy and Education

CN Advisory: Moderate Concern

Center For Consumer Freedom

Promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choice

three stars

86.10

1090 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20005
tel: (202) 463-7112   Web Site
EIN: 26-0006579

CEO
Richard Berman
Executive Director

 
 
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During our analysis of Center for Consumer Freedom’s FYE 12/2011 Form 990, the document revealed the following:

  • The majority of the Center for Consumer Freedom's functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman's for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.12 million, $1.29 million were paid to Berman and Company for "staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities" of the charity. (See Page 2 Part III, Page 8 Part VII, Page 10 Part IX, Schedule L, and Schedule O)

During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2012 and FYE 12/2013 Forms 990, the documents revealed the following:

During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2014 Form 990, the document revealed the following:

  • The Center for Consumer Freedom continued to contract with CEO Richard Berman's management company, Berman and Company. (See the FYE 12/2014 990, Page 8)

During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2015 Form 990, the document revealed the following:

  • The Center for Consumer Freedom continued to contract with CEO Richard Berman's management company, Berman and Company. (See the FYE 12/2015 990, Page 8)

We find the practice of a charity contracting for management services with a business owned by that charity's CEO atypical when compared to how other charities operate. We have reached out to Center for Consumer Freedom for further clarification, but have not received an adequate explanation and have thus issued this Moderate Concern CN Advisory.

Charity Response

The Center for Consumer Freedom has requested that Charity Navigator also disclose that its arrangement with the management firm is reviewed and approved annually by its independent officers and directors in a process that complies with the organization's conflict of interests policy, and its financial statements are audited each year by an independent CPA. Accordingly, please see relevant pages from the organization's 2011 Form 990 filing PDF files 2011 Page 6 and 2011 Schedule O  for the former, and 2011 Page 3  for the latter.


The nature of the atypical financial reporting issues identified are such that Charity Navigator has issued this CN Advisory to provide donors with information that they may find useful when making their giving decisions. Charity Navigator is not responsible for the nature or content of the information presented through external sources and websites. For more information on how or when we decide to publish a CN Advisory, please review our methodology.

  Score
(out of 100)
Rating
Overall Score & Rating 86.10 three stars
  Financial 95.00 four stars
  Accountability & Transparency 81.00 three stars
This rating was published 06/01/2018 and includes data from FY2016, the most recent 990 received at that time.

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. We believe that the consumer is King. And Queen. A growing cabal of activists has meddled in Americans' lives in recent years. They include self-anointed "food police," health campaigners, trial lawyers, personal-finance do-gooders, animal-rights misanthropes, and meddling bureaucrats. Their common denominator? They all claim to know "what's best for you." In reality, they're eroding our basic freedoms—the freedom to buy what we want, eat what we want, drink what we want, and raise our children as we see fit. When they push ordinary Americans around, we're here to push back.

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. We believe that the consumer is King. And Queen. A growing cabal of activists has meddled in Americans' lives in recent years. They include self-anointed "food police," health campaigners, trial lawyers, personal-finance do-gooders, animal-rights misanthropes, and meddling bureaucrats. Their common denominator? They all claim to know "what's best for you." In reality, they're eroding our basic freedoms—the freedom to buy what we want, eat what we want, drink what we want, and raise our children as we see fit. When they push ordinary Americans around, we're here to push back.

Financial

four stars

95.00

Accountability & Transparency

three stars

81.00

This rating was published 06/01/2018 and includes data from FY2016, the most recent 990 received at that time.
Overall Rating Chart
  Program Expenses
(Percent of the charity's total expenses spent on the programs
and services it delivers)
93.9%
  Administrative Expenses 4.3%
  Fundraising Expenses 1.6%
  Fundraising Efficiency < $0.01
  Working Capital Ratio (years) 0.50
  Program Expenses Growth 49.5%
  Liabilities to Assets 14.0%
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Center For Consumer Freedom on recent 990s filed with the IRS.
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Center For Consumer Freedom on recent 990s filed with the IRS.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Center For Consumer Freedom (DC) 86.10 three stars
Advancement Project (CA) 88.06 three stars
Community Catalyst (MA) 91.21 four stars
LatinoJustice PRLDEF (NY) 89.83 three stars
Cultural Survival (MA) 86.07 three stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

REVENUE  
Contributions  
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $4,538,005
   Federated Campaigns $0
   Membership Dues $0
   Fundraising Events $0
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $0
Total Contributions $4,538,005
   Program Service Revenue $0
Total Primary Revenue $4,538,005
   Other Revenue $4,337
TOTAL REVENUE $4,542,342
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $3,749,057
   Administrative Expenses $169,471
   Fundraising Expenses $11,819
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $3,930,347
   
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $611,995
   
Net Assets $1,990,801

Program names and associated costs are listed for the top programs as reported on the charity's most recently filed Form 990. The top programs displayed will include the largest three programs, or those programs covering at least 60% of the charity's total expenses, whichever comes first.

Program Name Amount Spent % of Program Expenses
Humanewatch.org $2,888,315 77.0%
Center for Accountability in Science $685,677 18.3%
Consumerfreedom.com $139,542 3.7%

Within the last year, this charity had a CN Advisory removed. Read More

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
CN 2.1
2016-12 06/01/2018 86.10 three stars
-- 03/26/2018 --Moderate Concern Advisory

During our analysis of Center for Consumer Freedom’s FYE 12/2011 Form 990, the document revealed the following:

  • The majority of the Center for Consumer Freedom's functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman's for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.12 million, $1.29 million were paid to Berman and Company for "staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities" of the charity. (See Page 2 Part III, Page 8 Part VII, Page 10 Part IX, Schedule L, and Schedule O)

During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2012 and FYE 12/2013 Forms 990, the documents revealed the following:

During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2014 Form 990, the document revealed the following:

  • The Center for Consumer Freedom continued to contract with CEO Richard Berman's management company, Berman and Company. (See the FYE 12/2014 990, Page 8)

During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2015 Form 990, the document revealed the following:

  • The Center for Consumer Freedom continued to contract with CEO Richard Berman's management company, Berman and Company. (See the FYE 12/2015 990, Page 8)

We find the practice of a charity contracting for management services with a business owned by that charity's CEO atypical when compared to how other charities operate. We have reached out to Center for Consumer Freedom for further clarification, but have not received an adequate explanation and have thus issued this Moderate Concern CN Advisory.

Charity Response

The Center for Consumer Freedom has requested that Charity Navigator also disclose that its arrangement with the management firm is reviewed and approved annually by its independent officers and directors in a process that complies with the organization's conflict of interests policy, and its financial statements are audited each year by an independent CPA. Accordingly, please see relevant pages from the organization's 2011 Form 990 filing PDF files 2011 Page 6 and 2011 Schedule O  for the former, and 2011 Page 3  for the latter.

 
CN 2.0
2010-12 12/20/2012 --Donor Advisory

Prior to 9/1/2016, Charity Navigator issued Advisories under the name CN Watchlist and Donor Advisory. For more information on the CN Advisory system click here. This charity was issued a DA.

This donor advisory was published on Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • During our analysis of this charity’s FY 2011 Form 990, the document revealed that the majority of the Center for Consumer Freedom's functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman's for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.12 million, $1.29 million were paid to Berman and Company for "staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities" of the charity. See relevant pages from the organization's 2011 Form 990 filing via PDF files 2011 Page 82011 Page 102011 Page 2, 2011 Schedule L  and 2011 Schedule O for more information.
  • We find the practice of a charity contracting for management services with a business owned by that charity's CEO atypical as compared to how other charities operate and have therefore issued this Donor Advisory.
  • The Center for Consumer Freedom has requested that Charity Navigator also disclose that its arrangement with the management firm is reviewed and approved annually by its independent officers and directors in a process that complies with the organization's conflict of interests policy, and its financial statements are audited each year by an independent CPA. Accordingly, please see relevant pages from the organization's 2011 Form 990 filing PDF files 2011 Page 6 and 2011 Schedule O  for the former, and 2011 Page 3  for the latter.
  • Affiliated nonprofits also have Donor Advisories including: American Beverage Institute, Enterprise Freedom Action CommitteeEmployment Policies Institute Foundation and the Center for Union Facts.
  • On August 12, 2013, TIME magazine reported that the Humane Society filed "an IRS complaint against the CCF [Center for Consumer Freedom] in 2012…" which "…alleged that Berman used nonprofit laws to further the interest of his corporate clients. It included evidence suggesting that most of the money in his charities went directly to his for-profit PR firm." The article noted that the complaint "…still has not resulted in any action against Berman or his company." For more information, please see the TIME magazine article.
  • During our analysis of this charity's FY 2012 and 2013 Forms 990, the documents revealed that the Center for Consumer Freedom continued to contract with CEO Richard Berman's management company, Berman and Company. Please see relevant pages from the organization's 2012 and 2013 Forms 990 for more detail: 2012 Page 8, 2012 Schedule L, 2013 Page 8, and 2013 Schedule L
2010-12 08/01/2012 84.91 three stars
2010-12 05/01/2012 79.08 two stars

Historical CN Advisories

09/01/2016-03/26/2018: Moderate Concern Advisory

  • During our analysis of Center for Consumer Freedom’s FYE 12/2011 Form 990, the document revealed the following:
    • The majority of the Center for Consumer Freedom's functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman's for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.12 million, $1.29 million were paid to Berman and Company for "staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities" of the charity. (See Page 2 Part III, Page 8 Part VII, Page 10 Part IX, Schedule L, and Schedule O)
    During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2012 and FYE 12/2013 Forms 990, the documents revealed the following:
    During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2014 Form 990, the document revealed the following:
    • The Center for Consumer Freedom continued to contract with CEO Richard Berman's management company, Berman and Company. (See the FYE 12/2014 990, Page 8)
    We find the practice of a charity contracting for management services with a business owned by that charity's CEO atypical when compared to how other charities operate. We have reached out to Center for Consumer Freedom for further clarification, but have not received an adequate explanation and have thus issued this Moderate Concern CN Advisory.
  • On August 12, 2013, TIME Magazine reported on the operations of Center For Consumer Freedom, in an article titled, "Is the Humane Society Bad for Puppies? This Man Wants You to Think So." For more information, please see the TIME Magazine article.

  • During our analysis of Center For Consumer Freedom’s 12/2011 Form 990, the document revealed the following:
    • The majority of the Center for Consumer Freedom's functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman's for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.12 million, $1.29 million were paid to Berman and Company for "staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities" of the charity. (See Page 2 Part III, Page 8 Part VII, Page 10 Part IX, Schedule L, and Schedule O)
    During our analysis of the Center for Consumer Freedom's FYE 12/2012 and FYE 12/2013 Forms 990, the documents revealed the following:
    We find the practice of a charity contracting for management services with a business owned by that charity's CEO atypical when compared to how other charities operate. We have reached out to Center For Consumer Freedom for further clarification, but have not received an adequate explanation and have thus issued this Moderate Concern CN Advisory.

The data displayed on this tab is provided by the IRS in the form of Publication 78 and the Business Master File (BMF).

EIN 26-0006579
Name in IRS Master File THE CENTER FOR ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
NTEE Code R60
NTEE Classification Civil Liberties Advocacy
NTEE Type Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
Classification Charitable Organization
Subsection 501(c)(3)  (View the list of codes)
Activities
Foundation Status Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
Deductibility Contributions are deductible
Affiliation Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations).
Group Name [Not Applicable]
Ruling Date June, 2002
Filing Requirement 990 (all other) or 990EZ return
Fiscal Year End December
IRS Forms 990
(provided courtesy of Foundation Center)
(Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!)
  • December, 2016
  • December, 2015
  • December, 2014
  • December, 2013
  • December, 2012

The data displayed in this profile is provided by the IRS for free in the form of Publication 78 and the Business Master File (BMF).

Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$8,063 0.20% Richard Berman President, Executive Director
Other Salaries of Note
$500 0.01% F. Lane Cardwell Director, Secretary/Treasurer
$500 0.01% James Blackstock Director
$500 0.01% David Brown Director
$500 0.01% Daniel Mindus Director
$500 0.01% Richard Verrecchia Director
$500 0.01% Nelson Marchioli Director

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Center For Consumer Freedom (DC) 86.10 three stars
LatinoJustice PRLDEF (NY) 89.83 three stars
Highlander Research and Education Center (TN) 90.81 four stars
American Humanist Association (DC) 93.41 four stars
American Jewish Committee (NY) 89.28 three stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

This charity has an official representative registered with Charity Navigator.

Charity Contact Info

Center For Consumer Freedom
1090 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
tel: (202) 463-7112
EIN: 26-0006579

Mail donations to:
P.O. Box 34557
Washington, DC 20043

Visit Web Site

CEO

Richard Berman
Executive Director

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