Is ConsumerWatchdog.org Going Broke?
Despite Raking in Special Interest Contributions and Millions in Fees, Founder Harvey Rosenfield Claims Organization is on the Ropes, Notes ConsumerWatchdogWatch.com
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Harvey Rosenfield, the President of ConsumerWatchdog.org, the controversial advocacy organization largely funded by secret donations, payments by special interest groups, and fees it collects from the California Department of Insurance, recently filed papers in Sacramento Superior Court saying his organization has "extremely scarce resources" and "would not be able to afford" to hire attorneys that specialize in election law for its campaign efforts.
Rosenfield's surprising statement -- filed under penalty of perjury -- comes in the wake of an investigative report last month by the Center for Investigative Journalism, publishers of California Watch, that noted that Rosenfield charges $650 per hour for his work. Attempting to justify this outrageous fee, Rosenfield told the news service: "I'm one of the handful of people who make a lot of money doing good."
The California Watch article also discovered that Rosenfield also pulled down $472,000 as "outside counsel" to the organization he founded for "doing good." He also pocketed another $100,000 from running the Consumer Education Foundation, which the article notes, has one purpose: making a single $100,000 grant to ConsumerWatchdog.org.
Rosenfield's admission to the court also flies in the face of the apparent health of his other organizations. According to IRS Form 990s filed with the California Attorney General's Office for 2010, Rosenfield's ConsumerWatchdog.org had assets of $5.2 million, his Consumer Education Foundation had assets of $2.8 million, and ConsumerWatchdog Campaign had assets of $437,684 (2009 IRS Form 990).
ConsumerWatchdog.org has received in excess of $850,000 from the California Department of Insurance's intervenor fee program -- the sole recipient of funds since 2006. The provision for fees was included in a ballot measure, Prop 103, that Rosenfield wrote. In the last six years alone, ConsumerWatchdog.org has hauled in more than $6 million in fees, which are ultimately paid for by California consumers.
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