February 24, 2017 Print

Consumer advocacy groups aren’t always what they seem to be. Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), for instance, is a group that purports “to save lives, prevent injuries, and protect consumers from auto-related fraud and abuse,” but a recent report from Capital Research Center (CRC), an Atlas Network partner based in Washington, D.C., explains how CARS consistently engages in lobbying and litigation activities that line the pockets of both the organization’s leaders and the trial lawyer industry.

“The bulk of CARS’ funding links arises not from the purchase of individual memberships by average citizens seeking to uphold their rights,” reports CRC contributor Neil Maghami. “Rather, CARS lives off the bonanza that the U.S. civil justice system generates for trial lawyers—a portion of which, through cy pres awards, finds its way into the coffers of nonprofits—who in turn attack those who favor tort reform and reasonable limits on litigation.”

Founded in 1984, CRC has been on the front lines against corruption and cronyism for decades, working to find and expose organizations that subvert the public good through corruption and conflicts of interest — including unions, crony capitalists, and a host of nonprofit and activist groups.

“From the start, CRC has exposed how those organizations are ‘captured’ by interest groups and used to undermine Americans’ freedoms,” explains Scott Walter, CRC’s president. “Today, we study unions, environmentalist groups, and a wide variety of nonprofit and activist organizations. We also keep an eye on crony capitalists who seek to profit by taking advantage of government regulations and by getting their hands on taxpayers’ money. We’re not afraid to take on the Washington establishment — Republican, Democrat, or anyone else. CRC reports take the form of articles on this website, newspaper and magazine articles, and books. We’re also a source of information for commentators and people in the news media. We do have a specific point of view. We believe in free markets, constitutional government, and individual liberty. But facts are facts, and our journalists and researchers go where the facts lead therm.”

CRC has developed a variety of projects to advance its work, including the regularly updated Bombthrowers blog, the Dangerous Documentaries film production division, and a print magazine. Dr. Steven J. Allen, CRC’s vice president and chief investigative officer, and Matthew Vadum, CRC’s senior vice president, inaugurated a new podcast in November titled “The Week’s Worst,” which discusses the latest low points in U.S. political news. The debut feature from Dangerous Documentaries is America Under Siege: Civil War 2017, a look at the violent and destructive radical fringes of political protest movements in the United States.

CRC also focuses on the ways in which private alternatives to government-provided social services can produce better results. A recent article, part of CRC’s “Doing Good” series, explains how a religious charity in South Carolina “is instrumental in helping uninsured people,” which describes from 12 to 13.9 percent of the state’s population.

“Christ Central Ministries has free medical, dental, and eye care, all supervised by their department president, Ted McGee,” reports Ian Johnson, CRC development associate. “The group coordinates with other ‘physicians, dentists, medical professionals, service organizations, and hospitals’ to better provide the appropriate health care for adults without insurance. The annual care can amount to six million dollars, and these efforts are accomplished without any government funding or insurance reimbursements.”

Through its multiple creative projects and a strong social media presence, CRC is today growing faster than ever. Its more than three decades of investigative work are making a practical difference by using innovative means to stand up for freedom and individual liberty.

“More than anything, we need free markets and free speech,” Walter explains. “Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of Americans today no longer care about free markets, and free speech is increasingly under attack on college campuses. To create a more free and just society, we cannot cede the moral high ground. We need to be loud and active in criticizing those who would do it harm. Standing up for the Constitution and property rights is not just beneficial, but moral. We cannot let the left have morality while we have economics. We need be clear to the public that we have both, and the left has misrepresented us.”