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					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.

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