A Lifetime Fronting for Corporations

Pull Quote - CorporationsMost of Berman’s professional life has been dedicated to defending corporate interests. After beginning his career practicing labor law at various corporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Berman moved into the restaurant industry. He started the government consulting company that would become Berman and Co. in 1986.

As a registered lobbyist, Berman represented his own non-profit, the American Beverage Institute, as well as the American Beverage Licensees, the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA), and the Employment Roundtable. BPAA has referred to Berman and Co. as “the nation’s largest public affairs practice serving the hospitality and retail industries.” Berman has said that his lobbying background enabled him to build a list of over 500 contacts in government and industry.

Berman has acknowledged that secrecy is important to his clients, and pitches himself as someone who can do the “politically incorrect” work of shaping public opinion on the behalf of businesses. Berman has said that when he lobbied, many of his clients were trade associations, and this allowed individual companies to band together while retaining their own anonymity. In a 2007 deposition, Berman testified that he set up most of his non-profit groups at the request of corporate clients.

Because these non-profits are not required to disclose their donors, corporations can support their “aggressive” and often misleading activities without being publicly identified.

Berman once suggested that it was wrong to think that working hard and playing by the rules should keep a person out of poverty. “This is not how America works,” Berman once told a journalist. “We don’t pay people based on need. Maybe the Soviet Union.”

Berman’s tactics and positions are so outrageous that even his own son has denounced him. David Berman, an accomplished poet and songwriter, publicly broke with his father in 2009, calling him “a despicable man …an exploiter. A scoundrel.” “He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke,” the younger Berman wrote of his father.

A Lifetime Fronting for Corporations by CREW



quick facts

Experts: Nothing Charitable About Berman's Front Groups

Charity Navigator, an independent authority on charitable giving, has issued donor advisories against five Berman front groups:

The advisories note that, unlike most charities, Berman’s groups funnel significant amounts of their funds to a single company, Berman’s for-profit Berman and Company, Inc.

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quick facts

Experts: Nothing Charitable About Berman's Front Groups

Charity Navigator, an independent authority on charitable giving, has issued donor advisories against five Berman front groups:

The advisories note that, unlike most charities, Berman’s groups funnel significant amounts of their funds to a single company, Berman’s for-profit Berman and Company, Inc.