Berman has long been the front man through which corporations have aggressively attacked their opponents without leaving fingerprints. Known to his own friends and enemies alike as "Dr. Evil," Berman has perfected the art of setting up non-profit "charitable" groups to advance corporate interests. The groups have deceptively helpful-sounding names, like "Guest Choice Network," the "Employment Policies Institute" or the "Center for Consumer Freedom," but really serve as well-funded attack dogs for the tobacco, alcohol, chain restaurant, tanning and other industries. The groups' non-profit status makes their funding hard to trace, which has permitted Berman to operate in the shadows for decades while pocketing millions from unpopular industries for his work thwarting public interest legislation.Pushback against underhanded lobbying tactics
Berman depends on secrecy to cloak his operations, but recently the Congressional watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) unveiled a hard-hitting new Web site, www.BermanExposed.org, which unmasks Berman's front groups, tactics, employees and projects. [Note: Berman succeeded in knocking this website offline on January 29.] CREW's Web site outs Berman's "charitable" groups as the lobbying tools they are, and describes how he uses them to run attack ads and implement other tactics to fight Mothers Against Drunk Driving, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other public interest groups' efforts to raise awareness of obesity, secondhand smoke, drunk driving, mad cow disease, and other causes. CREW even posted a photo of the $3.3 million house Berman purchased with money he has earned from his dirty lobbying tactics.Another Blow Hits Closer to Home
CREW's new site was a resounding strike at Berman, but it might have inadvertently catalyzed yet another blow that hits even closer to home.
Rick Berman's son, David Berman, is a 42-year-old singer-songwriter who, since 1989, has been the front singer for a popular New York City indie rock band called the "Silver Jews." Over the years, the Jews have developed a loyal following, but on January 22, 2009 David Berman stunned his fans by posting a note to an online message board announcing that after all these years he was leaving the Silver Jews. The reason? His father, Rick Berman.
In scathing language, David disclosed to his fans who his father is, and how leaving the band related to his father's work. David wrote,
Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:
You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons. My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.
An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical mother******* son of a b*tch. (sorry grandma).
You can read about him here:
... A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.
He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We've been "estranged" for over three years.
Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.
He is a union buster.
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