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Sloan: Shining Some Light on Berman’s Ulterior Motives

Someone has an agenda, but it isn’t CREW. Notably, Berman’s opinion piece follows closely on the heels of the IRS complaint filed against CREW by failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. She needs something to do with the $7 million war chest she’s sitting on — it’s not as if she can live on the money. And did I mention that O’Donnell has a book coming out?

But it is not just a coincidence that it is Berman who penned this piece.

Back in 2004, CREW filed a complaint with the IRS against Berman for abusing the nonprofit status of the Center for Consumer Freedom, which has received funding from Philip Morris to mount a campaign claiming the proposed bans on smoking in restaurants infringed on consumer’s choices. We’ve been a thorn in his side ever since.

In fact, CREW created a website dedicated to exposing Berman’s shady tactics. BermanExposed.org reveals that more than 20 of Berman’s so-called nonprofits operate from the same address on Vermont Avenue Northwest that houses his public relations firm, Berman and Co. The site also shows a number of employees of Berman’s public relations firm seemingly hold additional and different positions at several of these organizations. So Berman has his own reasons not to be much of a CREW fan.

In a 2007 “60 Minutes” piece titled “Dr. Evil,” Berman succinctly described his modus operandi as “shoot the messenger.” This “facts-be-damned” philosophy had led him to vilify the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Food and Drug Administration and even Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It’s a list CREW is proud to join.

Melanie Sloan is executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

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