Consumers’ Research is a dark-money nonprofit that is one of the largest funders of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF). Since Will Hild, the group’s executive director, assumed that position in 2020, Consumers’ Research has filed lawsuits against the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, and launched a multimillion-dollar smear campaign against BlackRock founder and CEO Larry Fink. The Washington Post reported that Leonard Leo is one of Hild’s mentors and an advisor to Consumers’ Research, and The Wall Street Journal reported that Leo’s Marble Freedom Trust is funneling money to Consumers’ Research.
The campaign against BlackRock includes the website WhoIsLarryFink.com, television, radio, and digital ads, and mobile billboards in New York City. Consumers’ Research has not disclosed the source of its funding for the BlackRock attacks nor its million-dollar Consumers First Initiative, a “name and shame” campaign against corporations that the group deems to be “playing woke politics.”
During a “How States Fight Back Against ESGs” workshop at the American Legislative Exchange Council‘s 2022 States and Nation Policy Summit, Hild touted motions that Consumers’ Research and 13 Republican attorneys general filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) earlier in the week asking it to prevent Vanguard from purchasing large amounts of public utility stocks, the Center for Media and Democracy reported.
Consumers’ Research hosts an anti-ESG legislation tracker and paid Leo’s CRC Advisors close to $1 million between 2018 and 2021 for assistance with “public relations.”
In December 2022, Consumers’ Research endorsed the Eliminate Political Boycotts Act, a proposed piece of model legislation introduced by ALEC that would authorize state governments to blacklist corporations promoting either ESG or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives—or both.
Consumers’ Research is also part of a rightwing coalition promoting the Heritage Foundation’s State Pension Fiduciary Duty Act, model legislation that seeks to ban the consideration of ESG factors in the management of public pensions.
On March 8, 2023, Consumers’ Research produced a report titled, “Defeating the ESG Attack on the American Free Enterprise System,” and circulated it to leaders in Congress.
On March 14, 2023, Consumers’ Research announced a mobile billboard campaign that “exposes the hypocrisy of ESG investing ahead of President Biden using his veto power for the first time to strike down bipartisan anti-ESG legislation passed by both the House and Senate.”
On April 18, 2023, Consumers’ Research launched its “Don’t Trust Morningstar” campaign over the financial firm Morningstar’s so-called “anti-Israel bias.”
As of September 2022, Consumers’ Research is a diamond-level sponsor of SFOF (which no longer lists its donors on its website). In January 2023, Hild told The Washington Post that Consumers’ Research is the top donor to SFOF.
- Executive Director Will Hild
- Policy Director Beau Brunson
- DonorsTrust: $12,264,000 (2013–21)
- Searle Freedom Trust: $400,000 (2021)
- Bradley Foundation: $250,000 (2013)
- Donors Capital Fund: $250,000 (2013)
- Bodman Foundation: $50,000 (2013)
Note: Consumers’ Research is not required by law to disclose its donors. The Center for Media and Democracy identified its top funders through an examination of IRS filings.
- Total revenue: $8,022,567
- Total expenses: $7,864,901
- Net assets: $431,831
Source: 2021 IRS 990 Filing
For more information, visit the Consumers’ Research page on SourceWatch.