Rick Berman's Public Face
Rick Berman founded and runs a trio of shadowy tax-exempt food, tobacco, and beverage industry front groups. For a hefty fee, these nonprofit organizations hire Berman as executive director. Berman then uses his own privately owned public relations company to do work for the nonprofit organization. In this way, Berman channels between 49 and 79 percent of the donations given to these nonprofit groups into his own pocket. In 1998, this amounted to more than $1 million for just one of these groups.
Berman’s trio of tax-exempt groups includes:
All three of these industry front groups parade behind the banner
of free choice, which really means continued big profits for their
- The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) The CCF attacks anyone who criticizes smoking, fast-food, or alcoholfrom People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The American Beverage Institute (ABI) The ABI fights laws designed to curb drunk drivingin part by claiming that even a blood alcohol level of 0.08 is within the realms of responsible, social drinking.
- The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) The
EPI is opposed to raising the minimum wage, particularly in the
labor-intensive restaurant industry. It promotes the specious
concept that an increased minimum wage would drive the poor and
uneducated out of the job market.