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Consumer alert

Consumer Alert

In an era when free enterprise is the key to an efficient, productive,

and successful country, business sometimes digresses from their true duties of

producing goods and services at an honest and decent price. Consumer Alert,

founded in 1977, was founded with a single purpose in mind: "to advance the

consumer interest through advocacy of free-market solutions to consumer

dissatisfaction and scrutiny of any action which discourages competition in the

marketplace."

Consumer Alert was founded in 1977 as a national, non-profit membership

organization for people concerned about excessive growth of government

regulation at the national and state levels. Consumer Alert's mission is to

inform the public about the consumer benefits of competitive enterprise and to

expose the flawed economic, scientific and risk data that underlie certain

public policies. Now, Consumer Alert is the home to the spare time of over

6,000 volunteers. Each of these volunteers donate their valuable time to

Consumer Alert for the sole reason of upholding high ethics within the American

marketplace. Anyone can become a member. The only qualification is that the

individual have a distinct and strong faith in competitive enterprise, a healthy

skepticism of government solutions, a dislike of government related monopolies,

labor, or business, and be in the favor of safe technology, free trade, smaller

government and lower taxes. We found that to become a member, all it would take

is $35 and a mailed in request to their office in Washington. Consumer Alert

depends on contributions from individual donors, corporations, and foundations

to protect consumer choice and competition and promote sound science. Some

basic facts about Consumer Alert are that the size of their annual budget (1988)

was $411,900. This helps to maintain their bimonthly publication, Consumer

Alerts Comments, and pay their full-time president, vice-president, and

contracted legal counsel. Currently, their salaried executive officer is

Frances B. Smith, and his office is where his lobbying is needed most,

Washington DC.

Consumer Alert has only one interest in mind, and only a single area

where their influence can be fully realized. With a central office in

Washington DC, Consumer Alert is always up-to-the-minute on news that effects

the consuming public. They are continually active in issues such as

privatization, free trade, deregulation in the marketplace, reduction in

government spending, and a balanced budget without tax increase. Consumer Alert

operates the National Consumer Coalition, which is comprised of 20 public policy

organizations. Members of the coalition participate in various events,

including a Washington DC forum that examines critical consumer issues. The

coalition advances solutions to real consumer problems and seeks the most cost-

effective manner in which to achieve desired results. As the coalition's

sponsor, Consumer Alert actively publicizes public policy achievements by member

organizations. Consumer Alert also sponsors conferences to foster discussion of

important consumer issues. Consumer Alert is clearly on the side of the

consuming people. The people, and preventing their abuse, is the number one

priority for Consumer Alert as seen through their vigilant watch over

legislation in out government. They are our watchdogs. Consumer Alert's

National Consumer Coalition forum features leading public policy experts,

journalists, authors, scientists, and public officials. With an educated board

of members continually at their side, we believe that their tendencies would be

towards a more conservative Republican standpoint. Just as Republicans call for

minimization of government control over the economy, as does Consumer Alert with

their strong stance on the deregulation of the marketplace. Consumer Alert is

also very effective in their influence. Representatives of Consumer Alert are

often called upon by federal regulatory agencies and congressional committees to

testify on the consumer effects of proposed regulations and legislation. For

example, Consumer Alert recently testified before both Senate and the House

Banking subcommittees on how changes to disclosure laws would make the mortgage

process more understandable to consumers. Consumer Alert identifies consumer

problems that can be solved through litigation and supplies information to

public interest legal groups active in protecting individual rights and consumer

choice. Consumer Alert was instrumental, for example, in fostering legal action

that successfully prevented universities from forcing all students to fund

causes with which they do not agree, such as Public Interest Research Groups.

Through a national program that stresses public education, coalition-

building, litigation, testimony, conferences and forums to advance these views,

Consumer Alert has a significant impact on the issues. The group supports the

third rule of Lineberry's traditional democratic theory: enlightened

understanding. With offices in Washington DC, Consumer Alert has individual

members in all 50 states, and along with their bimonthly publication, Consumer

Alert does a good job of ‘alerting' consumers and allowing them to have a louder

voice in today's marketplace.

WORKS CITED

Jaszczak, Sandra. Ed. Encyclopedia of Associations. Detroit: Gale Publishing,

1996. Consumer Alert World Wide Web site:

Zipperer, Rich. Consumer Comments June 1996, Vol. 20.

D



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