They "deploy an in-house team of public interest lawyers, policy experts, strategists, and grassroots activists to expose, confront, and change corporate and political injustice..."
Consumer Watchdog was originally created to conduct research and public education around issues of consumer protection and political reform. According to the organization's website, it has saved consumers "more than $62 billion on their auto insurance, exposed and changed the inhumane practices of health insurance companies, prevented oil companies from ripping off motorists, won privacy protections for consumers and blocked taxpayer bailouts of utility companies." Consumer Watchdog describes itself as a group that "investigates, advocates, mobilizes, and litigates to protect consumers and taxpayers."
Jamie Court is the president of Consumer Watchdog.
Fees from intervenor program
California has had an "intervenor" program since 2003. This program pays legal fees from the state's Proposition 103 (1988) fund to parties who intervene in rate filings with the California Department of Insurance. According to the Department of Insurance, Consumer Watchdog has been the most commonly listed intervenor in rate filings since 2003.
In 2011, Consumer Watchdog was paid $849,194.28 by the California Department of Insurance for intervening. It received a similar amount from the state treasury in 2010. In 2009, the group received close to $2.5 million for intervening.
Steven Maviglio, a Democratic consultant who assisted with the campaign to defeat Proposition 23 in 2010, launched a website in February 2012 that takes Consumer Watchdog to task for the fees it receives from the intervenor program. Maviglio is the former Chief of Staff for Fabian Nunez. Maviglio's website says that Consumer Watchdog "claims to work for the public interest, but refuses to reveal who its funders are" and "rakes in millions of dollars for itself from a self-serving 'intervenor fee' provision it inserted into a ballot initiative." The website also takes Harvey Rosenfield to task for taking over $641,000 in salary and payments in a recent year for his work for Consumer Watchdog.
- Consumer Watchdog, the organization's website]
- Consumer Watchdog Watch, a website that is critical of Consumer Watchdog