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Berman's Front Groups
Rick Berman's Front Groups

Front Groups Set-Up by Berman to Further Big Business Interests

Richard Berman runs all of the following campaigns out of his offices in Washington, DC, most of which were revealed to pay “huge fees” to his lobbying firm.46  According to a July 2006 profile of Berman in USA Today, his company has 28 employees and earns $10 million dollars a year, but "only Berman and his bookkeeper wife" know how much of the $10 million ends up in their own pockets.47 

This chart shows the flow of money to Berman & Co.

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Center for Union Facts (CUF)

Berman launched this effort in February 2006 with a multimillion dollar PR effort aimed at damaging the public image of unions, depressing workers’ rights, pushing legislation that would make it more difficult for workers to join unions, and furthering an anti-union business climate. 

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Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)

In 1995, Berman launched the Center for Consumer Freedom (formerly Guest Choice Network) with seed money received from Philip Morris, which totaled nearly $3 million by 1998.48  The group obtains most of its funding from food and restaurant companies,49 yet it claims to represent the interests of consumers.  Recent PR campaigns run by CCF include the discrediting of research linking obesity with major health problems and the consumption of fast food, and the promotion of fish consumption despite research documenting unsafe levels of mercury.  Through these campaigns, CCF has attacked groups like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Center for Science in the Public Interest

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American Beverage Institute (ABI)

Berman established this 501(c)(6) to fight efforts to strengthen drunk driving laws, in large part by attacking MADD.  ABI is a trade association representing bars, restaurants, and alcohol distributors and manufacturers.

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Employment Policies Institute (EPI)

This industry-supported front group fights minimum wage increases, especially in low-wage, labor-intensive sectors such as the restaurant industry.  The group releases “research” demonstrating how raising the minimum wage or policies that mandate employer-provided health benefits are bad for the economy and workers.  A National Journal article noted EPI gets 95 percent of its budget from corporate sources, and described the organization as “another new think tank with even closer ties to industry…started in 1992 by a group of restaurant companies that wanted an alternative source of research on labor issues.”50  According to the Chicago Tribune, EPI paid Berman $656,726 in salary and benefits from 1997-01.51 

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Employment Roundtable

Berman lobbies52 for this networking initiative of industry labor lawyers, consultants, and government officials,53 which operates out of the same office as Berman and Company.54