Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) launched BermanExposed.org, a site dedicated to exposing lobbyist Richard Berman’s activities, his myriad front groups and projects, his employees’ work, and his firm’s tactics.
For years, Berman has been a front man for business and industry in campaigns against consumer safety and health promotion groups. Through his public relations firm, Berman and Company, Berman has fought unions, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and other watchdog groups in their efforts to raise awareness about childhood obesity, the minimum wage, the dangers of smoking, mad cow disease, drunk driving, and other issues. Berman runs at least 15 industry-funded front groups and projects, such as the Center for Union Facts (CUF).
Berman and those in his employ have long been shills for a range of industries, including those related to tobacco, alcohol, chain restaurants, and tanning. Within these various groups and his public relations firm, Berman holds 16 different positions and his employees have at least 33 job titles among them. CREW’s site lists as many of those positions as are publicly available.
BermanExposed.org also includes a number of Berman and Company IRS documents, including the letter granting CUF tax-exempt status, and CUF’s 2007 990 form. CREW has posted its IRS complaint alleging the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a food-and-beverage industry front group that attacks anyone who criticizes smoking, fast food or alcohol, had violated its tax-exempt status, as well as its 2006 letter to the Senate Finance Committee asking for an investigation into whether CCF and CUF have violated their tax-exempt status by working on behalf of for-profit entities. The committee never responded to CREW’s request.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, “Richard Berman has become wealthy by deceiving the public through scare tactics, sleazy ads, and bogus websites. BermanExposed.org lists in one place Berman’s pay-for play activities, and demonstrates that his real expertise is making money.
Before one more story is published citing Berman as a credible expert, we encourage journalists and consumers to take a look at BermanExposed.org to better understand Richard Berman’s number one goal: to be the best snake-oil salesman ever.”