Who’s Behind That Nutty “Nonprofit”?

GuideStarIn a diary, titled Request For Information, user Jonathan wondered who was behind the Fairness Foundation. In a comment, Just call me Mr. FOIA, I posted my findings: It’s a front for washington healthcare and education privitizers, including one congressman, one lobbyist and at least two corporate profiteers.

Google is always a good stop, but the truth is easily hidden from its spiders. A decent right-wing front organization (or lobbyist) will hide the truth and put up a decent facade of popular support. But federal reporting requirements apply to everyone equally, so the information’s out there.

The Fairness Foundation was outed with the help of GuideStar, a search tool which should be on all of our bookmarks. Below the fold you’ll find another front I outed a couple years back: ActivistCash.com, which argues that all activist groups are part of one big leftist conspiracy.

Professional agitators can’t claim to be a “grassroots” movement anymore. It seems every time you read a story about a domestic conflict–whether it’s drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, free trade clashes, or tobacco litigation–two adjectives always describe the opponents. On one side are the “grassroots” organizations–disorganized, under-funded, struggling folk willing to live hand-to-mouth in the name of their noble goal. On the other are “powerful” corporate and political interests–fat-cats with loads of money, contacts and discipline, willing to use any tactic to get their way. David-and-Goliath descriptions add the touch of drama, which is no doubt why journalists continue with the “grassroots-powerful” routine…
But now, thanks to a new Web site called ActivistCash.com, the average U.S. citizen can finally get the lowdown on the financial and organizational operations of many major activist groups in the country. ActivistCash.com, unveiled yesterday, is run by the Guest Choice Network, an organization of 30,000 restaurant and tavern operators. The Guest Choice Network has become a front line defense against today’s nanny culture…
“What we uncovered is an intricate, organized, well-funded web of what you might call the “‘new left,’ ” says John Doyle, the group’s communications director. “It allows a person to finally link the environmental activists with the animal rights activists with the anti-corporate activists, and see that they all operate together in the anti-choice arena.”
And who might you be? (english)
11:20am Fri Dec 14 ’01 (posted to indymedia.org)

This non-functional site is run Copyrighten by ConsumerFreedom.com. Chasing the electrons we find: ActivistCash.com, ConsumerFreedom.com, NannyCulture.com are all registered by the Guest Choice Network, 1775 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006.
Guest Choice Network’s GuestChoice.com domain hosts various frames of ActivistCash.com and is registered by Berman and Company, 1775 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20006

[1] Guest Choice Network, founded in 1999, has $41,117 in assets. Accomplishments for the year include publishing a few (nonfunctional) websites, eleven newsletters and hosting “ONE MEETING TO EDUCATE CEOS RE THREATS TO CONSUMER CHOICES”.
The board of Directors are as follows:     RICHARD B. BERMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

[2] Rick Berman is also “Federal Government Representation” for the National Association of Beverage Retailers. A NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION page cached by Google has this to say: “Richard Berman, President of Berman and Company, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm, will be the Industry Session guest speaker. Berman is also Executive Director of the Employment Policies Institute, General Counsel to the American Beverage Institute, and founder of the Guest Choice Network. He has testified on numerous occasions before committees of the various state legislatures, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. He has appeared on all the major television networks on behalf of client interests. Previously he served as Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Pillsbury Restaurant Group, where he was responsible for the government relations programs of all restaurant operations. Berman, an exciting speaker from the front lines of the fight for consumer choice, will also speak on August 24.”

[3] Rick Berman told one interviewer, “Our offensive strategy is to shoot the messenger. Given the activists’ plans to alarm beyond all reason, we’ve got to attack their credibility as spokepersons.” [PR Watch]

[1] check http://www.betterwhois.com
[2] check http://www.guidestar.org