Action on Consumer Choice (ACC) is closely modelled on the Centre for Consumer Freedom (CCF) in the US, a hugely powerful organisation funded by tobacco firms and fast food chains that was the brainchild of Richard Berman, one of Washington’s most successful – and notorious – lobbyists. Berman has argued against an initiative to lower the blood alcohol content limit for US drivers, claiming that stricter limits would punish those who drink responsibly. His various lobbying efforts have earned him the sobriquet “Dr Evil”.
“His principal strategy appears to be: destroy your opponent’s credibility before they destroy yours,” Simon Clark of Freedom of the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest), the tobacco-funded body behind the ACC, notes on his blog announcing the soft launch of the ACC, crediting Berman as its inspiration. “Consumers who believe in choice and personal responsibility must have a voice,” Clark continues. “With a few tweaks for a UK audience, I can’t think of a better model than Rick Berman’s Centre for Consumer Freedom.”