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CEI History

1984

On March 14, 1984, Fred Smith launches the Competitive Enterprise Institute, with his wife Fran Smith and Cesar Conda as the original members of CEI's board of directors. Similar to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who launched their companies from their garages, CEI's first offices were in Fred and Fran's kitchen. After the first few months, Fred had spent a few thousand dollars, but received far less in contributions, and was getting worried. Fran said, “But Fred, that was part of your business plan.” “Yes,” he answered, “but now it's actually happened.”

CEI starts “The Jefferson Group” meetings for free-market public policy analysts, congressional staffers, and journalists in Washington, D.C.

1985

With its staff up to two-and-a-half, CEI moves to its first offices—above a Chinese restaurant across the street from the Heritage Foundation. Around lunchtime, the offices would fill with the pleasant smell of Chinese food. Fred's lobbying activities often included shouted greetings and conversations from his window office to passing acquaintances on the street below.

1986

CEI moves to new offices on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol, and expands its antitrust program with publication of the Washington Antitrust Report. The slogan emblazoned across the top: “Busting Trustbusters Since 1986.”

Sam Kazman joins CEI as General Counsel, to launch CEI's free-market legal program and its “Death by Regulation” project, which focuses on the often-lethal effects of government overregulation.

CEI files its first of what would become a series of three lawsuits against the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements for new cars. CEI was among the first to argue that CAFE made cars more dangerous due to downsizing, thus threatening consumer safety. Eventually, CEI would win the first and only judicial overturning of a CAFE standard when a federal appeals court ruled that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—an agency whose chief concerns is supposedly safety—was hiding the fact that its CAFE program kills people.

1987

Fred Smith debates Jack Doyle of the Environmental Policy Institute and Friends of the Earth at a series of public forums on biotech crops, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Washington Post publishes one of CEI's first efforts to quantify the human costs of regulatory delay. By CEI's estimates, the Food and Drug Administration’s delay of the clot-busting biotech drug TPA resulted in the loss of approximately 30 lives per day.

1988

Activists from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) stage a massive protest at the headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration, calling on the agency to speed up approval of medications to treat HIV/AIDS. CEI sides with the protestors. Fred Smith states: “This is essentially an issue of human freedom pitted against the bureaucratic quest for caution and neat statistics. Morally, it’s not even a close contest. The real question is why Reagan’s appointees, with their alleged devotion to individual rights and deregulation, are on the wrong side of the barricades here.”

CEI launches its monthly newsletter, CEI UpDate, featuring commentary and analysis on all of CEI's issue areas.

1989

CEI moves to its third office “above another place,” this time above Sherrill’s Restaurant and Bakery on Capitol Hill. CEI would occasionally sponsor contests in which lunch at Sherrill's was the grand prize.

Responding to the growing reach of environmental regulations, CEI expands its work on environmental policy, building the largest free-market environmental policy program in Washington. In fact, CEI scholar Robert J. Smith coined the term “free-market environmentalism.”

CEI hosts its first annual dinner, celebrating the organization’s fifth anniversary. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Daniel Oliver delivers the keynote address.

The Journal of Law & Economics publishes the first peer-reviewed assessment of CAFE’s lethal effects on traffic safety. The study, by Brookings Institution scholar Robert Crandall and then-Harvard professor John Graham—later George W. Bush’s director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs—grew out of a CEI suggestion.

In a case brought by CEI, a New York appellate court upholds the right of Jerry and Ellen Ziman to evict their rent-controlled tenants so that their own family can live in the Greenwich Village townhouse that they own. While the state has tight restrictions on evicting rent-controlled tenants, it did have an exception for owner-occupancy evictions when the Zimans first bought their house. When that exception was revoked several months later, the Zimans found themselves homeless. The court’s ruling changed that.

1990

CEI's staff climbs to the double digits.

The Soviet Union’s cutoff of gas shipments to Lithuania—an attempt to intimidate that small country's growing freedom movement—is widely criticized by international observers. But only CEI recognizes the importance of this step for “energy conservation,” and facetiously awards Soviet leaders the “Less Power to the People” award.

New York’s highest court upholds the Zimans’ (see 1989) right to live in the house they own. The case was argued by CEI general counsel Sam Kazman.

CEI is among the first to criticize the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, arguing—correctly, as events years later would show—that they would impose new regulatory burdens that would lead to higher energy prices.

1991

CEI staffers meet regularly with Vice President Dan Quayle's Council on Competitiveness staff, providing important information and advice on how to help reduce regulatory burdens on businesses.

1992

Environmental Politics: Public Costs, Private Rewards, edited by Michael Greve—longtime chairman of CEI's Board—and CEI President Fred Smith is published by Praeger. Social scientist James Q. Wilson provides the introduction.

Sam Kazman advises the National Biotechnology Policy Board on regulatory issues, leading the Board to recommend that agencies conduct “post-approval audits” to evaluate the possibly harmful impacts of delayed approvals.

CEI advises the Food and Drug Administration to approve recombinant bovine Somatotropin, a bioengineered growth hormone for dairy cows that boosts milk production. We argue that mandatory labeling of dairy products from cows given rbST is inappropriate, but that the First Amendment allows individual producers the right to label dairy products as produced with or without the use of rbST. The FDA policy ultimately reflects this position.

A federal appeals court upholds CEI’s suit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We argue that NHTSA illegally covered up the lethal effects of CAFE standards, after independent researchers found that CAFE, by forcing car manufacturers to make vehicles smaller and lighter, led to an increase in the number of highway deaths per year. This is the first judicial ruling against a CAFE standard in the program's history.

In June, Fred Smith treks to Rio de Janeiro to present the free-market side as delegates sign the Rio Earth Summit treaty, marking the start of CEI’s involvement in international environmental policy.

1993

With its staff grown to nearly 20, CEI moves into spacious new offices at Connecticut and K streets in downtown Washington, facing Farragut Square.

CEI launches the Warren T. Brookes Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, to honor the late Boston Herald and Detroit News columnist Warren Brookes. In the words of his Detroit News colleague Thomas Bray, Brookes “made a virtual career out of questioning the conventional wisdoms of the so-called experts,” and “delighted precisely in the unconventional wisdom, not only about economics but also about a wide range of subjects.” CEI chooses Ronald Bailey—later Reason magazine’s science correspondent—to be the first Brookes fellow.

1994

CEI intervenes with the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on behalf of the Flavr Savr tomato, the first bioengineered crop plant approved for commercial sale.

In March, CEI celebrates its 10th Anniversary. CEI’s budget grows by over 100 percent—to $1.9 million from $975,000 the year before. The staff size reaches 23.

In one of CEI’s first publications on climate change, Dr. Robert Balling, director of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University, authors the study “Global Warming: Messy Models, Decent Data, Pointless Policy” as part of the “Progress and the Planet” project. Prof. Balling concludes that “sound scientific evidence argues against the existence of a greenhouse crisis.”

CEI releases its Federal Disaster Wall Calendar, “a monthly compendium of government-sponsored fiascos, from the idiotic to the catastrophic.”

1995

The Free Press publishes The True State of the Planet, edited by science journalist Ronald Bailey, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the first Earth Day. The book prompts The Wall Street Journal to call CEI “the best environmental think tank” in the nation.

CEI takes the fight for freedom to cyberspace with the launch of its first website.

In the wake of a Food and Drug Administration proposal to expand its authority by regulating cigarettes as “nicotine-delivery devices,” CEI facetiously petitions it to regulate coffee and soda as caffeine-delivery devices as well.

In December, CEI’s environmental studies program creates the Center for Private Conservation, with the mission of documenting how private, voluntary initiatives can help protect the environment.

CEI airs radio and television ads criticizing the slow pace of new drug approvals from the Food and Drug Administration. While the ads were produced and broadcast on a shoestring budget, they garner significant earned media via news coverage of the issue. CEI also issues the first of its medical specialist polls on the FDA, reporting the views of the majority of oncologists that the agency is too slow in approving new therapies.

1996

CEI enters the alcohol beverage business, bottling and handing out Vino Veritas Freedom of Speech Wine, Stout Heart Beer, and Be an Old Grand-Dad Whiskey, to publicize its First Amendment lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms over moderate alcohol consumption—namely, that it can be good for you.

CEI launches its Communications Project with the aim of showing how “values-based” communication strategies can help claim the moral high ground for free markets, by making the case that capitalism is not only efficient, but also fair and moral.

CEI issues its first edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, a study detailing the cost and number of federal regulations. The report has become a standard reference work on government regulation.

As the number of children killed by government-mandated air bags mounts, CEI releases documents showing that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rejected the strong warnings on air bag risks that the auto industry proposed for posting inside cars. Instead, the agency adopted watered-down language following the advice of Ralph Nader and the various “safety” groups he founded.

1997

In December, three Competitive Enterprise Institute experts travel to Kyoto, Japan to present the free-market position as United Nations delegates debate the global warming treaty that later bear the city’s name. Subsequently, CEI’s publishes the book The Costs of Kyoto: Climate Change Policy and Its Implications, edited by then-Director of Environmental Studies Jonathan H. Adler.

Fran Smith, then-executive director of Consumer Alert, creates the Cooler Heads Coalition with the Competitive Enterprise Institute as a founding member. Cooler Heads is originally a subgroup of the activist network International Consumers for Civil Society, but Myron Ebell, CEI’s longtime director of energy policy, later leads it as an independent entity.

At a congressional hearing on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Sam Kazman plays a 1983 CNN video of a debate between himself and former agency head Joan Claybrook, in which she proclaimed that air bags “work beautifully” for infants. The air bag mandate, which was largely Claybrook’s doing, had proven to be deadly to children.

1998

CEI, now officially recognized by the United Nations as a qualified “non-governmental organization,” attends United Nations global warming talks in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Fred Smith defends free trade and flexible work rules for America's auto industry on CNN’s “Crossfire,” in a three-on-one faceoff opposite liberal filmmaker Michael Moore and hosts Pat Buchanan and Bill Press. Moore became especially discombobulated when Fred dismissed his humble, folksy persona as pretense: “Michael, not everyone can afford the kind of car that you can afford. We're not all wealthy like you.”

CEI releases a new edition of Tom Smith and His Incredible Bread Machine by R. W. Grant—a short, amusing fable first published in 1964 that uses humor to describe antitrust regulation’s wealth-destroying effects.

The Capital Research Center publishes Global Greens: Inside the International Environmental Establishment by CEI’s James M. Sheehan. The book analyzes the influence of leftist environmental organizations on public policy in the international arena, through the United Nations and other multinational institutions.

The London-based Institute of Economic Affairs publishes the study Fishing for Solutions by CEI’s Michael De Alessi. This monograph examines government regulation of fisheries and proposes a more efficient property rights-based approach.

1999

CEI and Citizens for the Integrity of Science file a deceptive advertising complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Ben & Jerry’s ad campaign for its new unbleached cardboard containers. The campaign touts the dioxin-free nature of the packaging's production, but says nothing about the relatively high—though safe—dioxin content of the ice cream itself.

CEI releases the National Environmental Survey, which reveals that Americans want reasonable, locally administered environmental policies that recognize property rights, rather than centralized command-and-control regulation. This and earlier environmental surveys have been cited in major news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

In February, CEI holds a press conference in Richmond, Virginia on the state legislature’s plans to limit imports of New York City municipal waste. Speakers included local community representatives who benefit from such imports. In August, CEI publishes the study “Trashing the Poor: The Interstate Garbage Dispute,” detailing the benefits of commerce in household trash. Court decisions eventually force the state to back away from its protectionist policies, and efforts to restrict interstate trash storage deals fail in Congress.

West Nile Virus appears in New York, and CEI argues for effective mosquito control polices and against environmental activists’ efforts to prevent them.

CEI works to prevent repeal of the data access law, passed in 1998, which promotes accountability in government and sound science by making data from government-funded research publicly available. James T. O'Reilly of the University of Cincinnati Law School authors the short study “The Data Access Law: Promoting Accountability and Privacy,” and testifies before Congress. The House Appropriations Committee eventually voted against repeal of the law.

In April, CEI celebrates its 15th anniversary with a speech by former Vice President Dan Quayle at its annual dinner and gala. Former Rep. Jack Kemp joins CEI as Distinguished Fellow.

In June, Director of Air Quality Policy Ben Lieberman testifies before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee in favor of repeal the federal low-flush toilet mandate.

In November, CEI holds a seminar during the tumultuous World Trade Organization Ministerial Meeting in Seattle, Washington (later known as the “Battle in Seattle”) with leading scientists supporting biotechnology.

Michael Sanera, author of the book Facts, Not Fear: Teaching Children about the Environment (with Jane S. Shaw) joins CEI to help promote our environmental education efforts.

2000

Then-Director of Food Safety Policy Gregory Conko and Tuskegee University plant geneticist C.S. Prakash found the AgBioWorld Foundation to provide science-based information on agricultural biotechnology issues.

In January, Gregory Conko attends negotiations over the United Nations Biosafety Protocol in Montreal as an NGO representative. CEI co-sponsors a press conference announcing a “Declaration of Scientists in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology,” with over 600 signatures, including two Nobel Prize winners. The declaration eventually garners more than 3,500 signatures, including 24 Nobel Prize winners.

CEI publishes Ecology, Liberty & Property: A Free Market Environmental Reader, edited by Jonathan H. Adler, and with contributions by several CEI experts. The book introduces readers to how market incentives can protect the environment better than government mandates.

CEI takes the lead in discrediting the flawed National Assessment on Climate Change by filing suit in federal court. In addition to several other nonprofit groups, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Reps. Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) joined the suit as plaintiffs. The Bush administration eventually settles the suit in 2001, agreeing that the National Assessment does not constitute official government policy.

2001

CEI offers testimony before a National Academy of Sciences panel investigating Corporate Average Fuel Economy mileage regulations. The panel’s final report finds that CAFE’s downsizing effect on cars contributes to over 1,000 traffic deaths annually.

CEI establishes an award in honor of the late free market economist Julian Simon, whose classic 1981 work The Ultimate Resource debunks the alarmist predictions of eco-doomsayers. Economist Stephen Moore, a former research fellow with Dr. Simon, is the first recipient.

CEI publishes Tech Briefing 2001: A Free-Market Guide to Navigating Technology Issues, co-edited by James V. DeLong and Jessica Melugin. The book offers comprehensive coverage of technology topics for members of Congress, their staff, and the public.

Ben Lieberman testifies before Congress on rising gasoline prices. He points out that the gasoline composition mandates in the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, as well as the New Source Review and New Source Performance Standards programs, bear much of responsibility for the spike at the pumps.

CEI publishes “Flip-Flopping on Small Car Safety,” a compilation of contradictory quotes on the auto size-safety issue from Ralph Nader and several of his colleagues. Environmentalists have frequently cited the support of these self-proclaimed safety advocates as proof that regulatory downsizing of cars was safe. It turns out, however, that, before large cars become politically incorrect, Nader and his colleagues routinely criticized the safety risks of small cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle. The Wall Street Journal publishes excerpts from “Flip-Flopping.”

Media exposure for CEI triples in 2001.

2002

In January, CEI publishes The Environmental Source, which features in-depth analysis of a wide variety of domestic and international environmental issues. This inaugural edition features contributions from several CEI experts, from Allison Freeman to Jennifer Zambone.

CEI issues its fifth medical specialist poll on the Food and Drug Administration. The results are consistent with our four previous polls—physicians, in this case, cancer specialists, view the agency as too slow to approve new drugs and therapies by a wide margin.

CEI files a lawsuit using the Data Quality Act to challenge the Bush administration’s “Climate Action Report 2002.” The Office of Science and Technology Policy eventually chooses to settle the suit by adding a disclaimer to its website, indicating that it has not subjected the report to federal data quality standards.

In October, CEI wins a federal lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration. The court ruling stated that the FDA did not have statutory authority to implement its 1998 “pediatric rule,” which required drug companies to test certain drugs on children, even if pediatric uses were not part of the drugs’ labeled indications. The FDA claimed it was protecting children, but the rule would create a more burdensome approval process, resulting in fewer new drugs.

After September 11, 2001, security risks related to “right-to-know” laws become a hot issue, as various government agencies begin removing information from their websites that terrorists might use to launch attacks—including sensitive information on chemical facilities—that the Environmental Protection Agency had mandated be made public.

2003

CEI leads the opposition to a proposed ban on home use of pressure-treated wood. Angela Logomasini testifies on the issue before the Consumer Product Safety Commission. CEI also mobilizes a coalition of small businesses, former commission members, think tanks, and industry associations.

CEI supports the Bush administration’s decision to join thirteen other countries in filing a World Trade Organization complaint against the European Union’s moratorium on new biotech foods. CEI plays an influential role in emphasizing how EU policies harm farmers in developing countries. Scientists and farmers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America speak at a CEI conference condemning the restrictions.

Several CEI analysts make the free-market case at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Meeting in Cancún, Mexico. CEI hosts a forum on trade-environment links in trade treaties featuring Fred Smith, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy Myron Ebell, and former chief Australian GATT negotiator Alan Oxley.

Also while in Cancún, CEI and three other organizations donate two tons of food—some of which was bioengineered—to the residents of Valle Verde, about 20 miles inland from Cancún. Friends of the Earth protests the donation, but the residents ignore the protesters and gladly accept the food.

In September, CEI’s Angela Logomasini debates security risks related to “right-to-know” laws at the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference in New Orleans.

CEI’s Gregory Conko and Tuskegee University’s C.S. Prakash send an open letter signed by over 200 scientists to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, urging her government to disregard environmental alarmists and to continue allowing Filipino farmers to grow bioengineered corn.

CEI led the opposition among nonprofit organizations to the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act, which would have imposed energy rationing on the U.S. through a Kyoto-style cap-and-trade program. In October, the Senate rejected the McCain-Lieberman legislation by a 55 to 43 vote.

2004

CEI bestows the first Prometheus Award for Human Achievement on Nobel Prize-winning plant geneticist Norman Borlaug, who accepts the award with remarks delivered at the 20th anniversary annual dinner and gala.

CEI’s Angela Logomasini appears on the recycling episode of Showtime’s “Penn & Teller: Bullshit,” debunking claims about the benefits of mandatory recycling programs.

Gregory Conko co-authors a book on bioengineered foods with the Hoover Institution’s Dr. Henry I. Miller, The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution, which Barron’s picks as one of its Best Books of 2004. “For years, activists opposed to the new science have been spreading unfounded and inaccurate horror stories,” notes Barron’s. “The Frankenfood Myth…takes a long, hard look at both the new agricultural biotechnology and the policy debate surrounding it.”

Based on reports concerning high levels of lead in Washington, D.C.’s water system, CEI Director of Risk and Environmental Policy Angela Logomasini testifies before the House Committee on Government Reform. Logomasini argues that the District’s officials are correct about there being no need to panic about the situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree.

CEI’s Myron Ebell sparks a major controversy in the United Kingdom when he, in a BBC interview, questions the science behind global warming alarmism and called Sir David King, Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, an alarmist. Ebell’s comments prompted some members of the House of Commons to initiate a censure motion against him.

CEI, as part of its work on corporate social responsibility, publishes the U.S. edition of former chief OECD economist David Henderson’s book, The Role of Business in the Modern World.

Also in December, International Environmental Policy Director Myron Ebell and Editorial Director Ivan Osorio attend the 10th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ebell and Osorio participate in multiple public events, including the conference: “Climate Change, Energy, and the Future of the World Economy,” co-hosted with Argentina’s Fundación Atlas.

2005

In January, CEI sponsors a conference focusing on the findings by renowned economists on the “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) movement. Experts reveal that, while it has become a trendy international business philosophy—hailed as good for business and the bottom line—proponents have presented no compelling evidence that the CSR model is actually advantageous to shareholders.

On the heels of legislative hearings on discarded computers and other electronic equipment, CEI Adjunct Scholar Dana Joel Joel Gattuso authors a CEI study entitled “Mandated Recycling of Electronics: A Lose-Lose-Lose Proposition.” The study points out that the growing quantity of e-waste is not an insurmountable problem and that government recycling mandates are the wrong way to go.

At a congressional hearing, Myron Ebell urges the Senate to retain provisions in budget reconciliation legislation that would open a small part of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. “The time to open ANWR has arrived,” he states.

A new CEI study, “Expanding the Market's Role in Advancing Intellectual Property,” by Adjunct Analyst James Plummer demonstrates how dramatically the proliferation of Internet-related technologies have made traditional pricing and rights enforcement obsolete. In addition, Plummer argues that putting the cost of copyright protection entirely on law enforcement agencies unfairly burdens taxpayers and stifles innovation.

In the spring of 2005, entrepreneurs come to the Securities and Exchange Commission to share their frustration about section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and CEI calls on Congress and President Bush to repeal this unfair law in its entirety. “To deal with the problem of a few big business bad apples, Congress created a web of costs and mandates that are shackling innovation,” notes Fred Smith. “These rules disproportionately hurt the innovative entrepreneurs who run small public companies.”

CEI praises the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down state laws that ban interstate wine sales, a ruling that gives consumers greater choice. “Old-economy regulations shield established industries from having to adapt to new and better ways of doing business,” notes Technology Counsel Braden Cox.

CEI goes on the offensive in June after the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision, in which the court held that municipalities may seize private property for a vaguely defined “public purpose,” including economic development through eminent domain. CEI adjunct scholar Robert J. Smith criticizes the decision in a series of nationwide talk show appearances. “This decision represents a frightening continuation of the onslaught against America's free society and our individual liberty,” he warned. America agreed and an avalanche of public criticism has prompted 40 state legislatures to limit eminent domain property seizures.

Also in June, Editorial Director Ivan Osorio, in an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, calls for privatizing pension insurance. He argues that the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, by allowing companies to shed their pension obligations, creates an environment of moral hazard, which incentivizes unduly risky behavior. This op-ed leads to a series of radio and TV interviews, including Air America’s Thom Hartmann Show and CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

In August, CEI files a constitutional challenge to the 1998 multi-state tobacco settlement. The suit alleges that the agreement between 46 state attorneys generals and major tobacco companies is unconstitutional because it violates the compact clause of the Constitution, which requires that Congress approve any compact between states.

In the CEI study “Communications without Commissions: A National Plan for Reforming Telecom Regulation,” authors Braden Cox and Wayne Crews argue that increasing competition, particularly among different communication platforms, has made much of government telecommunications regulation unnecessary and counterproductive.

The Brussels-based Institut Hayek publishes the study “Europe’s Global REACH: Costly for the World; Suicidal for Europe” by CEI’s Angela Logomasini, in English, French, and German. The European Union’s proposed REACH program would dramatically change the way the EU evaluates and approves chemicals, imposing onerous costs while yielding no real benefits.

2006

Thomas Nelson publishes John Berlau’s book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health. The Washington Times’ Joel Himmelfarb review Eco-Freaks favorably, writing that “Thinking environmentalists who read this book will be forced to revisit at least some of their most deeply held beliefs.”

A new study on vehicle safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides an opportunity for General Counsel Sam Kazman to once again promote a finding that researchers have long known: that larger vehicles are safer than smaller ones. “This study, like others before it, indicates that the government's fuel economy mandates reduce vehicle safety by restricting the production of larger vehicles,” he states.

Bureaucrash, a pro-freedom network of young activists, joins CEI.

Wiley publishes The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money by Warren Brookes Journalism Fellow Timothy P. Carney. The Wall Street Journal calls it “a spirited and eminently readable indictment of the unsavory alliance between corporate and congressional America.”

2007

A new CEI poll find that over three-quarters of orthopedic surgeons believe that the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new drugs is too slow. These results are consistent with previous polls of physicians in other specialties.  

Regnery publishes The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) by Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner. The book, which makes The New York Times’ bestseller list, earns Horner an in-studio appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”  

The Bureaucrash Activist Network organizes demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to protest the imprisonment of Egyptian blogger and free speech activist Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (known to his online readers as Kareem Amer). Organizers hold local demonstrations in solidarity with a worldwide “Free Kareem” campaign.

General Counsel Sam Kazman spearheads a new protest against the negative impact of energy efficiency mandates on the performance of home appliances with the “Send Your Underwear to the Undersecretary” campaign. An online video and website urge American consumers to register their displeasure with then-Acting Undersecretary of Energy Dennis R. Spurgeon.

As environmentalists celebrate the 100th birthday of Rachel Carson, CEI launches the “Rachel Was Wrong” campaign to reassess her legacy. “While Carson may have meant well, her rhetoric and anti-technology views produced devastating consequences, particularly for children in Africa,” says CEI’s Angela Logomasini.

CEI files comments with the Federal Communications Commission, strongly warning commissioners against the proposal to regulate pricing and management practices on broadband networks, commonly referred to as “net neutrality.”

Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith leads a coalition asking Congress to reform the federal sugar subsidy program. “The Sugar Program is…one of the most egregiously harmful government programs to the American people,” says Smith.

President Fred Smith testifies before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in opposition to the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. Smith’s testimony emphasizes that, despite years of amendments and negotiations, “[the treaty] retains its coercive, collectivist philosophical underpinnings.”

CEI raises a glass to consumer freedom with a new video celebrating “Repeal Day,” the anniversary of the end of Prohibition in 1933.

2008

We say farewell to our longtime K Street home on the north side of Farragut Square, a few blocks from the White House, and move into beautiful new offices at 1899 L Street.

CEI launches “A Bright Future for Some,” an advertising campaign contrasting the affluent lifestyle of developed world climate activists with the developing world poverty that would result from the adoption of policies that increase the cost of energy.  

On Earth Day, Regnery publishes Iain Murray’s The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About—Because They Helped Cause Them. Reviewing the book, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg writes that Murray “has the keenest of eyes for spotting where science ends and utopianism takes its place--and rationally explaining why this is folly.”

CEI publishes the English-language edition of Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered, Climate or Freedom? by Václav Klaus, then-president of the Czech Republic. Klaus makes the case that many policies proposed to address global warming threaten freedom and prosperity around the world.

CEI joins with the South Carolina Department of Insurance to host a major conference on catastrophic risk, “Out of the Storm 2008.”

CEI and the National Taxpayers Union launch the website “Beyond Bailouts” to protest the Great Recession-era deals with Wall Street financial institutions and to “properly assess the government’s role in the country’s current financial difficulties.”

Regnery publishes Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed by Christopher C. Horner. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) recommends the book: “Finally, someone has written a definitive resource to debunk global warming alarmism.”

2009

CEI publishes a comprehensive list of policy recommendations for the incoming 111th Congress under the title One Nation, Ungovernable? A Bipartisan Agenda for Economic Liberalization and Restraint on Political Power.

Bottled water, once the preferred alternative among health activists to sugar-sweetened soda, itself comes under attack from environmentalists. Director of Risk and Environmental Policy Angela Logomasini leads the counter-attack with the study “Bottled Water and the Overflowing Nanny State: How Misinformation Erodes Consumer Freedom” and the website EnjoyBottledWater.org.

CEI launches “Human Achievement Hour,” an annual celebration of technology, innovation, and hard work. HAH counters the negative, Malthusian view that human intervention in the natural world yields only pollution and destruction—the perspective promoted by the environmentalist campaigns like “Earth Hour.” 

Building on its opposition to bailouts such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), CEI mobilizes opposition to the Obama administration’s auto bailout and the General Motors takeover.

CEI celebrates a quarter-century of free-market policy solutions with its 25th anniversary dinner and gala. BB&T Bank Chairman (and later Cato Institute president) John Allison delivers the keynote address.

CEI’s Michelle Minton stands up for online poker players amid a crackdown by the Department of Justice. She also weighs in against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which the National Collegiate Athletic Association is attempting to use to block states like Delaware from regulating gambling within their own borders. This law would later become the focus of the U.S. Supreme Court case Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018).

CEI’s project on insurance reform launches the “No Beach House Bailouts” campaign to stop Congress from putting taxpayers on the hook for a new “national catastrophe fund” that would subsidize wealthy landowners in coastal areas.

General Counsel Sam Kazman and Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis announce a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency to overturn its “endangerment finding” regarding the alleged effects of carbon dioxide on human health.

2010

The Supreme Court strikes down key elements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s structure as unconstitutional on separation of powers grounds in Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB. A majority of justices agreed that the then-current structure of the PCAOB fails to adhere to constitutional provisions governing removal of important officers. CEI attorneys Hans Bader and Sam Kazman serve as co-counsel for the plaintiff. Then-Circuit Court judge Brett Kavanaugh calls the case “the most important separation-of-powers case regarding the President’s appointment and removal powers to reach the courts in the last 20 years.”

Food law expert Baylen Linnekin authors the study “Extreme Refreshment Crackdown: The FDA’s Misguided Campaign against Alcohol Energy Drinks,” defending the right of Americans to consume the beverages of their choice, including the notorious party drink Four Loko.

John Berlau laments the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, noting that it is filled with “massively costly, counterproductive and possibly unconstitutional mandates on nearly every type of business—except for those government-sponsored enterprises at the root of the crisis.”

General Counsel Sam Kazman calls for Americans to make National Donut Day an occasion of protest against government intrusion into their personal lives. Kazman urges people to eat two donuts, “one for yourself, and one as an act of patriotic civil disobedience.”

Then-Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh writes the study “H-1B Visas: A Case for Open Immigration of Highly Skilled Foreign Workers,” making the case for welcoming greater numbers of foreign-born professionals to the United States.

CEI’s Myron Ebell calls on President Obama to fire White House “climate czar” Carol Browner for “distorting and concealing scientific data to serve a political agenda.”

2011

CEI urges Congress to reject a reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, arguing that multiple provisions “hinder individual liberties, lack meaningful safeguards, and likely violate the U.S. Constitution.”

CEI’s labor policy project, led by Labor Policy Counsel Vincent Vernuccio, launches Workplace Choice, a source for news on labor regulations, private and government sector unions, pensions, and pro-worker legislation.

CEI celebrates the release of Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray’s book, Stealing You Blind: How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You. The book reveals how “so-called public servants are ‘stealing you blind’ with inflated salaries, early retirement, massive pensions, leaving a legacy of red tape and higher taxes to the average American.”

Amid high unemployment and the aftermath of the Great Recession, CEI releases a 10-point plan to create jobs and revive the economy.

Entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and columnist Bill Frezza joins CEI as a Fellow in Technology and Entrepreneurship.

The study “Stifling Medical Device Innovation” by former Food and Drug Administration official Larry R. Pilot documents how the FDA has severely mismanaged the medical device approval process, and how policymakers can reform it.

CEI hosts a ceremony to recognize pro-worker members of Congress for their work in advancing sensible labor policy in Washington. As of Labor Day, 159 lawmakers earned 100 percent scores.

CEI issues “Durbin Dollar” certificates to protest the higher bank fees for consumers that resulted from an amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL). 

CEI condemns plans by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate the amount of salt that food companies may add to packaged products.

CEI’s Wayne Crews pushes back on calls for antitrust enforcement against Google, pointing out that “antitrust interventionism can too easily undermine true market competition by serving as a kind of corporate welfare for competitors.”

2012

Myron Ebell calls on Congress to override President Obama’s decision to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

John Berlau punctures payday loan myths in the report “The 400 Percent Loan, the $36,000 Hotel Room, and the Unicorn: Why the Annual Percentage Rate is a Poor Tool for Measuring Short-Term Credit.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute joins the 60 Plus Association and the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, as plaintiffs in a constitutional challenge to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Threshold Editions publishes The Liberal War on Transparency: Confessions of a Freedom of Information “Criminal” by Christopher C. Horner. Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes that the book “shows that the green agenda isn’t so much about a clean environment as it is about redistributing income from us to them.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, TechFreedom, and the Free State Foundation file a brief with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arguing that the Federal Communications Commission’s 2011 “Preserving the Open Internet” order is unconstitutional.  

The Competitive Enterprise Institute sues the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging its refusal to disclose information discussing the creation and use of “secondary” email accounts created for top-level officials.

Lawson Bader becomes the second president of CEI.  “As someone who has known of CEI and its work for years, I admire a lot about the organization,” Bader said. “Through humor, individuality, and rigorous policy analysis, CEI unashamedly promotes and defends classical liberal economic perspectives. Being intellectually consistent and correct matters more to CEI than being blindly dogmatic. That’s a rare commodity in D.C. these days.”

CEI founder Fred L. Smith, Jr., steps down as president and founds CEI’s Center for Advancing Capitalism, with him as director, to expand the boundaries of pro-freedom activism beyond immediate policy debates. “Capitalism and markets do not operate in a vacuum. Rather, they require a support structure consisting of the rule of law, a tolerant society, property rights protections, and an extensive system of enforceable contracts,” said Smith. “We should present our conventional recommendations, but also include an ‘outside-the-box’ reframing of the issue. Wild card options outside the current boundaries of the debate will spark fresh debate and open up those sectors to entrepreneurial experimentation.”

CEI releases a short film version of the classic economics essay “I, Pencil,” by Foundation for Economic Education founder Leonard Read. “I, Pencil: The Movie” tells the story of how thousands of people, who may never meet, must cooperate through market transactions to create even something as simple as a pencil. The film goes on to win several awards, including the Reason Foundation Media Awards’ first annual Video Prize.

Angela Logomasini authors the study “Rachel Was Wrong: Agrochemicals’ Benefit to Human Health and the Environment” on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Carson’s celebrated but wrongheaded book “Silent Spring.”

2013

General Counsel Sam Kazman teams up with Center for Class Action Fairness Director Ted Frank to fight a sky-high class action attorney fee in a groundless merger challenge.

Eleven state attorneys general join CEI’s constitutional challenge to the Dodd-Frank Act. The suit challenges Dodd-Frank’s Title II, which gives the Secretary of the Treasury “orderly liquidation authority” and thereby abridges the rights that federal bankruptcy laws long have guaranteed to creditors.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute and ActionAid USA, an anti-hunger advocacy group, petition the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the impact of its ethanol fuel program on global food supplies. Petitioners cite evidence that the diversion of grain stocks to ethanol production cause nearly 200,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition.

CEI partners with gay conservative group GOPround to host the event “A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition, Bringing Tolerance out of the Closet” at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

A coalition that includes CEI, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, and several other organizations urges Congress to address the nation’s “outdated, wasteful” sugar subsidy program.

Deirdre McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, receives CEI’s Julian L. Simon Memorial Award. “It’s a special pleasure to get this marvelous award from an institution that believes above all in human dignity and liberty,” says McCloskey.

CEI joins a free-market coalition to urge Congress to defund the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs.

CEI publishes the study by then-Policy Analyst David Bier, “America Still Needs a True Entrepreneurship Visa,” highlighting the needs for the United States to attract more immigrant entrepreneurs.

Ronald Coase, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in economics, dies at the age of 102. CEI makes available a previously unreleased video interview with Coase and founder Fred L. Smith, Jr. from 2004.

2014

Twenty-eight members of Congress earn a 100 percent pro-worker score on labor policy from CEI and receive the “Champion of the Worker” award.

Journalism Fellow Bill Frezza launches the RealClear Radio Hour with producer Amanda France, a weekly syndicated radio show that offers a fresh perspective on the political and social issues of the day. Guests include Whole Foods founder John Mackey, Forbes Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, Russian pro-freedom activist Garry Kasparov, and dozens of others during its three year run.

Vice President Iain Murray and co-author Rory Broomfield of The Freedom Association win second place in the Institute for Economic Affair’s Brexit Prize contest. Murray and Broomfield argued that Britain’s links with the European Union were too complicated to unravel—like the Gordian Knot—and so should simply be cut. To compensate for the likely losses involved, they recommended spending the two-year withdrawal period pursing deregulation, unilateral free trade, and a market-based immigration policy.

Angela Logomasini authors A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk: Deciphering the “Science” Behind Chemical Scares, designed to reduce confusion and needless fear about chemicals.

CEI publishes three reports in a series entitled “The High Cost of Big Labor” that quantify the cost to state taxpayers of collective bargaining and public pensions liabilities—and the benefits of right to work laws.

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray exposes a campaign by federal regulatory agencies to shut down businesses that are politically disfavored, but perfectly legal, in “Operation Choke Point: What It Is and Why It Matters.”

2015

The Supreme Court hears CEI’s high-profile legal challenge to Obamacare, King v. Burwell. The plaintiffs argued that the Internal Revenue Service had essentially rewritten the law by subsidizing insurance purchased on federally-established health care exchanges, despite the fact that Congress had limited such subsidies to state-run exchanges. Unfortunately, the court sides with the government. “The Court has allowed the IRS to rewrite a law enacted by Congress in a ruling that undercuts the Constitution’s separation of powers,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “For this reason, it is all the more important that Congress exercise even more vigilance in keeping the executive branch and its agencies in check.”

Online crowdfunding begins for the film “I, Whiskey,” a successor to “I, Pencil.” Donors eventually contribute over $80,000 to help fund the short film.

Prof. Vernon Smith, 2002 Nobel laureate in economics, accepts the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award at CEI’s annual dinner and gala.

The Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF) merges with CEI. Led by attorney Ted Frank, CCAF has a solid track record in challenging abusive class action settlements in which the plaintiffs’ lawyers get multimillion-dollar payments while the class members get puny compensation, if anything.

In the study “Real Goals to Improve the Developing World,” CEI Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray outlines five proven ways to reduce the impact of extreme events such as weather or disease on the poorest in the world by delivering real prosperity.

In the study, “Keeping the Skies Open for Drones,” CEI Senior Fellow Marc Scribner warns that laws and regulations curtailing use of civilian drones could hold back big economic and public safety gains.

CEI joins the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Rutherford Institute is a legal challenge to the Transportation Security Administration’s illegal body scanner policy, eventually winning a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Vice President Wayne Crews expands his longstanding research on the scope and costs of regulation with work on the murky depths of “regulatory dark matter”—guidance documents, interpretive bulletins, memoranda, and other agency issuances that are not officially “rules,” but still carry regulatory weight.

CEI takes the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) to court to protect federalism. CEI’s Myron Ebell characterized the plan as “colossally expensive, blatantly illegal, and totally pointless.”

CEI’s Center for Advancing Capitalism launches the Profiles in Capitalism monograph series with the study “Virtuous Capitalism: Why There Is Less Corruption in Business than You Think” by Fred Smith and Ryan Young. “Economists are quick to condemn unethical behavior like rent-seeking, and rightly so. But they rarely take the time to praise virtue or to recognize the value of cultural restraints on unethical behavior,” write Smith and Young in the paper’s introduction.

2016

Kent Lassman becomes CEI’s third president. “Since its humble beginnings 32 years ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has grown into a leading pro-market voice in debates about economic policy and regulations that shape people’s lives and livelihoods,” said Lassman. “For that reason, I am honored to be entrusted with its leadership. As it has since its founding, CEI will continue to promote the cause of liberty and fight against government barriers to economic freedom.”

CEI receives a subpoena from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker demanding a full decade’s worth of our communications, emails, statements, and other documents regarding energy and climate policy. President Kent Lassman vows to fight back aggressively, and the subpoena is eventually withdrawn. “All Americans have the right to support causes they believe in and the CEI subpoena is an abuse of the legal system and an effort to intimidate and silence individuals who disagree with certain attorneys general on the climate debate,” he writes.

After nearly eight years on the corner of 19th and L Streets, CEI movies into a newly-renovated space several blocks east at 1310 L Street, near the headquarters of longtime allies the Atlas Network and Cato Institute.

The U.S. Supreme Court suspends the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, barring it from taking effect while the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the underlying merits of the consolidated challenges. The court granted a rare stay requested by the attorneys general of several states and industry groups.

CEI, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, and former CEI employee Gordon Cummings file a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Transportation ban on electronic cigarettes on planes.

CEI places a full-page advertisement in The New York Times defending every American’s right to free speech. The advertisement is a response to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and the “AGs United for Clean Power” coalition, which is investigating more than 100 businesses, nonprofits, and private individuals who oppose their positions on climate change.

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray and Fellow Ryan Young release two new studies on inequality and opportunity, arguing that instead of focusing on statistical ratios of inequality, policymakers should remove barriers to economic opportunity and bolster institutions that promote entrepreneurship, openness, and commerce.

Senior Fellow Michelle Minton releases a study on soda taxes, arguing that the poorest in our communities often bear the financial brunt of such regressive taxes and are ineffective at their stated goal of reducing obesity.

U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker withdraws his subpoena of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s climate advocacy documents. “No American should fear being singled out and harassed by a government official who takes a different point of view on public policy questions,” declares President Kent Lassman in a video defending the right to free speech.

Produced by CEI and Passing Lane Films, the short film “I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit” illustrates how the world of commerce creates human connections—from farmers and distillers to restaurant owners, consumers, and beyond. The film goes on to win several awards, including from the Anthem Film Festival, TIVA-DC Peer Awards, and the Southern Shorts Awards.

2017

President Trump’s “two-for-one” executive order on regulation implements reform ideas long advanced by CEI. Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews comments: “Regulations have compounded for decades with very little rollback ever taking place, so President Trump’s executive order requiring agencies to identify two regulations for elimination, for every one new regulation issued, is both reasonable and a step in the right direction.”

CEI publishes Shrinking Government Bureaucracy: Proposals for Reorganizing the Executive Branch to Boost Economic Growth and Freedom. The study is a series of policy proposals to rein in America’s regulatory state, save tax dollars, boost economic growth, and lighten the burden on job creators across the nation.

Senior Fellow Michelle Minton challenges the prevailing narrative on salt consumption and human health in the study “Shaking up the Conventional Wisdom on Salt: What Science Really Says about Sodium and Hypertension.”

CEI launches a TV ad campaign urging President Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, followed by a study by Senior Fellows Marlo Lewis and Christopher C. Horner titled “The Legal and Economic Case against the Paris Climate Treaty.”

President Trump announces that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. CEI is widely credited in news reports as influencing the White House’s decision.

Then-Vice President Jim Harper files an amicus brief in U.S. v. Coinbase on behalf of CEI, arguing that an individual’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures extends to their digital records and effects.

CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness scores a major win for consumers when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejects a settlement in the Subway “foot-long case” that would have paid plaintiffs’ attorneys over half a million dollars while leaving the class members with nothing.

CEI joins a Supreme Court brief in the case of Christie v. NCAA (later Murphy v. NCAA), urging the court to invalidate the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which bans sports gambling nationwide. “Not only has PASPA failed to halt the spread of sports betting, but also it threatens the very notion of representative government by allowing members of Congress to make decisions with no regard for the will or interests of each state’s citizens,” said Senior Fellow Michelle Minton.

The Federal Communications Commission votes to repeal net neutrality regulations, capping off years of advocacy and legal work by CEI and other free-market groups. “Today’s FCC vote to restore Internet freedom is a victory for consumers. Building the networks of tomorrow will require enormous investment and risk-taking—today’s vote will help this virtuous cycle reach its full potential,” said CEI Research Fellow and Regulatory Counsel Ryan Radia.

2018

Legendary economist Hernando de Soto accepts the 2018 Julian L. Simon Memorial Award at CEI’s annual dinner and gala. He said upon receiving the award, “Julian Simon, who said that the ingenuity of mankind is its number one resource and that the reason that you can get to it is because people are entitled to property. And that’s one of mankind’s greatest achievements.”

General Counsel Sam Kazman announces a consumer petition urging the Department of Energy to stop ruining the performance of home dishwashers with overly stringent efficiency requirements

CEI publishes the third edition of Senior Fellow Marc Scribner’s study “Authorizing Automated Vehicle Platooning,” which make the case for reforming state-level “following-too-closely” laws in order to take advantage of new vehicle automation technology. Between the release of the first and third editions of the study, several states make legal changes consistent with CEI’s recommendations.

Research Fellow Ryan Radia authors the study (with Research Associate Ryan Khurana) “European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and Lessons for U.S. Privacy Policy.” Radia lays out how the EU’s recently-enacted privacy requirements threaten innovation in America and around the world. 

CEI commends the Environmental Protection Agency for reviewing federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards on new cars and trucks. “CAFE’s lethal effects on vehicle crashworthiness were documented by analysts and a federal appeals court years ago,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “Despite this, CAFE has remained in force, getting even more stringent and more deadly over the years. We hope that the Trump administration will finally take account of those effects and start to liberalize this program.”

CEI publishes the 25th anniversary edition of Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews’ flagship study, Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.

Fellow Ryan Young warns that President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs against our allies are a huge mistake. “While the tariffs could potentially save 33,000 steel jobs, the harms to downstream industries from automobiles to construction to food production could result in a net loss of 146,000 American jobs,” writes Young.

The Supreme Court rules in favor of CEI’s position in Murphy v. NCAA, a challenge to the federal ban on states legalizing sports betting within their own borders. “The Supreme Court’s decision is a huge win, not just for states that want to legalize sports betting, but for everyone who believe the right to make such decisions belongs to state voters,” said Senior Fellow Michelle Minton.

CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness wins nearly $100 million for class members in a settlement involving state-controlled Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray and Fellow Ryan Young make the case for a renewed commitment to free trade in their study “Traders of the Lost Ark: Rediscovering a Moral and Economic Case for Free Trade.”

The Environmental Protection Agency releases a proposed replacement for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan of 2015, of which CEI was a leading opponent. The new Affordable Clean Energy rule provides minimal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, likely resulting in only minor increases in electric rates.

Senior Fellow Michelle Minton warns that a ban on flavored e-cigarettes by the Food and Drug Administration will put lives at risk.

Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner releases two studies detailing inappropriate influence over state environmental policy by political donors, “Law Enforcement for Rent” and “Government for Rent.”

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao appoints longtime board member and Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith to serve as the consumer representative on the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee. “In my many years of dealing with policy issues, I have worked hard to identify and implement public policies that empower consumers to make informed decisions in their everyday lives and in their own best interests,” said Smith.

Director of Litigation Ted Frank argues the case Frank v. Gaos before the U.S. Supreme Court. Frank makes history as the first petitioner to argue pro se before the Supreme Court in the 21st century. CEI challenged a class action settlement that provided zero dollars to class members, more than $2 million to the lawyers, and the remaining $5 million to third-party organizations unrelated to the case.

Senior Fellow Michelle Minton comes out strong against public health officials who oppose vaping and e-cigarette technology in the study Fear Profiteers: How E-cigarette Panic Benefits Health Activists. She shows that “[the] campaign to restrict or ban e-cigarettes does a huge disservice to public health, decreasing the likelihood that smokers will utilize these devices as a means of quitting their deadly habit.”

2019

CEI publishes “Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 116th Congress,” a report which highlights specific steps lawmakers can take to rein in unlawful overreach by executive agencies, reduce the costs of federal regulations, and unleash America’s entrepreneurial, wealth-creating potential.

The Center for Class Action Fairness becomes part on the newly-launched Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, a public-interest law firm created by CEI litigators Ted Frank and Melissa Holyoak.

CEI celebrates its 35th anniversary.