Berman and Company » Richard

Short Bio: Richard Berman is the executive director and founder of several big-industry-funded front organizations and dozens of related projects. Berman sets up and runs these organizations via his consulting firm, Berman and Company.

A longtime restaurant industry insider and a former labor lawyer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Berman struck out on his own in the mid1980s. In the early 1990s, Berman set up two of his flagship organizations, the American Beverage Institute and the Employment Policies Institute. In 1995, he used Phillip Morris seed money to start the Guest Choice Network, which he used to fight smoking bans in restaurants. GCN became the Center for Consumer Freedom in 2001 and Berman added the Center for Union Facts and the Enterprise Freedom Action Committee to his stable of non-profits in 2006 and 2007.

Berman represents the interests of the food and beverage industry, the anti-union lobby, the tanning industry, and businesses that oppose raising the minimum wage. Berman attended undergrad at Transylvania University and earned his law degree from The College of William & Mary.

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Berman and Company » Kristen

Short Bio: Kristen Lopez Eastlick has been listed in many different capacities for nearly all of Berman and Company’s front groups. She has been cited as everything from director of policy analysis to government affairs director, and has been linked to the Center for Consumer Freedom, the American Beverage Institute, the Employment Policies Institute, and the First Jobs Institute.

When Berman and Company actively lobbied, Eastlick was one of the firm’s registered lobbyists. She is a frequent editorial writer and Berman spokesperson. Prior to joining Berman and Company, Eastlick was a manager of member services for the Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education. She graduated from American University, where she earned a MA in political science and a BA in literature.

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Berman and Company » Sarah

Short Bio: Sarah Longwell is a vice president of Berman and Company and formerly worked in communications for the firm. In the past, she has been listed as the principal media contact for the Center for Consumer Freedom, the Center for Union Facts, and the Indoor Tanning Association.

Her primary public role for Berman and Co. is as the managing director of the American Beverage Institute. Longwell has written many editorial pieces on behalf of these industry-funded front groups. When she was named one of Campaigns & Elections magazine’s 2010 International and Nonpartisan Rising Stars, Longwell proudly described how the company is known to “always have a knife in our teeth.” Longwell considers Rick Berman to be both her “boss and mentor.” She previously served as the director of public affairs at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a non-profit organization that works to spread the conservative message on college campuses.

Longwell is currently on the board of the Log Cabin Republicans and the leadership committee for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. Longwell graduated from Kenyon College, where she studied political science and worked on a conservative newspaper supported by the Collegiate Network.

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Berman and Company » Michael

Short Bio: Michael Saltsman is an economist and researcher for Berman and Company, and also serves as research director at the Employment Policies Institute.

He frequently writes editorials and opinion pieces discussing entry-level employment and arguing against the minimum wage. Prior to joining Berman and Company, Saltsman worked as a field economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Saltsman is Secretary of the District of Columbia Republican Committee and he “has provided communications strategy for the campaigns of Jill Homan and Mary Brooks Beatty.” He graduated from the University of Michigan, where he earned a BA and studied economics and political science.

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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.