Lobbyists-Loot Dot Con: Berman Flees, Martosko Plays Dumb

Mark Matthews, reporter for KGO, the ABC TV affiliate in San Francisco, traveled to Washington, DC, to investigate Rick Berman, the booze, food and tobacco lobbyist behind ActivistCash.com and many other front groups. Reports Matthews, "Berman set up the Center for Consumer Freedom and a number of other tax exempt educational organizations. And those educational non-profits all seem to support messages that dove tail nicely with the food beverage and tobacco industries that have hired Richard Berman. ... When we tried to ask Rick Berman himself about that, he ducked out of our interview. ... Berman wouldn't talk with us about how his non-profits are connected financially to his lobbying business, and his research director (David Martosko) didn't tell us. 'I don't know the firms that send the Center for Consumer Freedom money. I don't want to know. It's not my business to know.' ... The most recent available tax records for the Center for Consumer Freedom show in 2004 Berman and Co. took in a million-and-a-half dollars from the Center for Consumer Freedom. ... Representative Pete Stark of Fremont, calls Berman's operation an abuse."