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Howard Berman


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1983
Preceded by John H. Rousselot

Incumbent
Assumed office 
February 11, 2008
Preceded by Tom Lantos

Member of the
California State Assembly
from the 57th and 43rd districts
In office
1973–1982
Preceded by Charles J. Conrad
Succeeded by Gray Davis

In office
1974–1980
Preceded by Jack R. Fenton
Succeeded by Willie Brown

Born April 15, 1941 (1941-04-15) (age 68)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Janis Berman
Children Brinley Berman
Lindsey Berman
Residence Los Angeles, California
Alma mater UCLA
Occupation attorney
Religion Jewish[citation needed]

Howard Lawrence Berman (born April 15, 1941) has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1983, representing the 28th District of California (map). He was born in Los Angeles, California, was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a lawyer and a member of the California State Assembly from 1973 to 1982 before entering the House.

Contents

Political views

Howard Berman has championed protecting American film industry jobs from outsourcing ("runaway production"). He has also voted against amending the constitution to require a balanced budget, banning the desecration of the American flag,[1] the Defense of Marriage Act, and restrictions on abortion[1].

However, Berman concurs with many on the right on a number of issues—particularly foreign affairs and trade. Berman voted in support of the invasion of Iraq in both 1991 and 2003, as well as for the FISA Amendments Act of 2008,[2][3] positions that have hurt his standing among many liberals in his district.[4][citation needed] While he generally supports free trade—for instance voting in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)[5] and various trade agreements with specific countries—he voted against the more recent Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).[2] He opposes withdrawing U.S. support for the World Trade Organization. In that same year, he also voted to phase out many farm subsidy programs put into place by the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of the New Deal.

Berman is known for his staunch protection of copyright interests and his alliances with the entertainment industry; he is sometimes referred to as the "representative from Hollywood."[6] The major industry contributing to his election campaigns has been the entertainment industry.[7] He proposed legislation under which copyright holders would be able to employ technological tools such as file blocking, redirection, spoofs, and decoys—among others—to curb piracy (Peer to Peer Piracy Prevention Act). Recently, he has been named as one of the primary politicians involved in the creation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).[8] In a September 2008 hearing of the House Intellectual Property Subcommittee, Berman criticized the National Institutes of Health's policy requiring NIH-sponsored research to be submitted to a database open to the public by saying that "the N in NIH shouldn't stand for Napster"[9][10]. In addition to Hollywood, his district also covers roughly the eastern half of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley districts and the city of San Fernando.

Berman is also a strong supporter of Israel, telling the Jewish newspaper, The Forward after being appointed Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, "Even before I was a Democrat, I was a Zionist."[6]

Earlier life and political career

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Personal

He is the son of the former Eleanor Schapiro and Joseph Berman, and grew up in modest circumstances. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School (Los Angeles) in 1959, and earned his B.A. (1962, International Relations) and LL.B. (1965) at University of California, Los Angeles. He was a VISTA volunteer (1966–1967) in Baltimore and San Francisco, and was an associate at a Los Angeles law firm (1967–72) specializing in labor relations. He married Janis Gail Schwarz in 1979; they have two daughters, Brinley and Lindsey.[1][2][5][11][12][13]

Young Democrats

Berman was active in the Young Democrats at UCLA. He began his friendship with Henry Waxman there in 1960, when both were still undergraduates. Waxman was head of the YD liberal caucus, and through it ran the YDs. Both of them supported Adlai E. Stevenson's pursuit of the presidential nomination up to the eve of the 1960 convention. Berman was President of the California Young Democrats 1967-1969.[14][15]

National Convention

Berman was a convention delegate to the 1968 (Chicago), 1976, and 1984 Democratic National Conventions.

California assemblyman

Berman won election to the Assembly in 1972 from a district in the Hollywood Hills, unseating the incumbent Republican Speaker pro-tempore. His brother Michael, campaign manager in Henry Waxman's 1968 Assembly race, again ran a targeted mail operation. In 1974 Berman and Waxman both opposed Willie Brown's unsuccessful revolt against Speaker of the California State Assembly Leo McCarthy, who rewarded Berman's loyalty by appointing him the youngest majority leader in the Assembly's history. McCarthy fired Berman when he tried to replace him in 1980. Although McCarthy failed to retain the Speakership, Berman failed to win it; and Brown became Speaker. Other members remarked on what a tough politician he was; the Bermans helped arrange a primary defeat for at least one colleague (Jack R. Fenton) who had opposed his bid.[1][11][15][16][17] He also served as Chairman of the Assembly Democratic Caucus and on the Policy Research Management Committee of the Assembly.[11]

In 1982, he ran for U.S. Congress instead.

Congressional career

Committee assignments

False claims act

Berman was the House sponsor of the 1986 False Claims Act that authorized civil litigation by whistleblowers. It led to recoveries for the United States Government exceeding one billion dollars.[11]

Investments

The Center for Responsive Politics noted that 151 members of Congress had investments (as of year end 2006) in companies that do business with the United States Department of Defense, suggesting that such holdings conflict with their responsibility for U.S. security policy. The most important such companies, ranked by estimated total value of members' holdings, were Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Pepsi, ExxonMobil, Berkshire Hathaway, IBM, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, H. J. Heinz Company, and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. It identified the top ten members of Congress as

Top ten members (biggest investments)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC)
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)

The report named no other members among the 151, save Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Rep. Berman.[18][19]

Campaign consulting

Berman paid his brother Michael Berman's consulting firm Berman & D'Agostino $195,000 from campaign funds from 2001 to 2006.[20] This included $70,000 in consulting fees for the 2006 election.[21] In 2005, $50,000 in consulting fees were paid to the company, and Michael Berman himself was paid a further $80,500 in campaign management and consulting fees.[21] In the 2002 campaign, Berman & D'Agostino was paid $75,000 in political consulting fees.[21]

Redistricting 2000

The 2000 census allocated California one new House seat, 53 in all. Howard Berman, "dad of the delegation" on redistricting, made a deal with Republicans Tom Davis and David Dreier keeping 34 safe seats for Democrats, and adding one new Republican district while protecting 19 incumbent Republicans. Every California Democrat in the House and California State Senate hired Michael Berman as a redistricting consultant, for a fee of $20,000 each.[citation needed] When the August 2001 plan was unveiled, Brad Sherman complained that it undermined the safety of his seat with too many Hispanic voters. "Howard Berman stabbed me in the back." Berman agreed to redraw the boundary between their districts, giving himself 55.6% and Sherman 36.5% Latino population. The redistricting plan survived (June, 2002) MALDEF's court challenge, arguing it diluted Hispanic representation.[12] The Republicans suffered some slippage; they had only 19 members in the delegation to the 110th Congress.[2]

Ethics committee

Alan Mollohan, ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, resigned from the committee after he himself became the subject of an ethics complaint. Berman had been its senior Democrat 1997-2003, and on 2006-10-05 Minority leader Nancy Pelosi reappointed him to replace Mollohan. Berman served on the subcommittee investigating the House's page program in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal.[2][22][1] "This is an honor I could have done without."[2]

Center for Public Integrity reported in 2006 that members of the House Ethics Committee and their staffs had taken many privately sponsored trips, about 400 trips from 2000 to mid 2005, at a total expense nearly $1 million. Of these, Democrats took about 80% of the trips at about 70% of the cost. Berman and his staff were at the top of the chart, with trips costing more than $245,000. Berman himself had taken 14 trips at the Aspen Institute's expense, including two to China with Mrs. Berman. Aspen replied that its events for members were like graduate seminars, and did not push any policy agenda. "Gene Smith, Berman's chief of staff, said that the bulk of the congressman's foreign travel can be attributed to his being a senior member on the House Committee on International Relations." Five private groups (Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG) jointly sent a letter to the ethics committee urging it ban or restrict such travel.[23][24]

Memberships and awards

[26]

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles J. Conrad (R)
California State Assemblyman, 57th District
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Mike Cullen (D)
Preceded by
Michael D. Antonovich (R)
California State Assemblyman, 43rd District
1974–1982
Succeeded by
Gray Davis (D)
Preceded by
Jack R. Fenton
California State Assembly Majority Leader
1974–1980
Succeeded by
Willie Brown (D)
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Lantos (D)
California
Chairman of House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2008–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
John H. Rousselot (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 26th congressional district

1983–2003
Succeeded by
David Dreier
Preceded by
David Dreier (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th congressional district

2003 – present
Incumbent

References

  1. ^ a b c d Barone, Michael; Grant Ujifusa (1997). The Almanac of American Politics (1998 ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Journal, Inc.. pp. 206–208. ISBN 0-89234-081-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Barone, Michael; Richard E. Cohen (2007?). The Almanac of American Politics (2008 ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Journal, Inc.. pp. 233–237. ISBN 978-0-89234-117-7. 
  3. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 145: Agree to the Senate Amendment with an Amendment". U.S. House of Representatives. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll145.xml. Retrieved 2008-09-18. "To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purpoes (sic)" 
  4. ^ Sutton, Linda (2007-05-17). "PEACE ACTIVISTS TARGET CONG. HOWARD BERMAN". Truth Now Sunday (Los Angeles Independent Media Center). http://la.indymedia.org/news/2007/05/199869.php. Retrieved 2008-09-20. "About 40 peace activists from multiple groups in the San Fernando Valley gathered in front of Congressman Howard Berman's home in Valley Village on Sat, May 26, 2007. Berman did NOT VOTE on the supplemental Iraq appropriations bill HR2206 that funds the war without timelines for withdrawal. Groups represented included Neighborhood Peace and Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, Progressive Caucus CDP, So. Cal. Grassroots, Valley Democrats United." 
  5. ^ a b "Politics, Breaking News, US and World News - Howard Berman". Washington Times. 2006-07-19. http://www.washingtontimes.com/elections/candidate/32/. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  6. ^ a b Guttman, Nathan (2008-04-24). "New Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Draws Praise From All Sides". The Forward. http://www.forward.com/articles/13244/. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  7. ^ "Howard L. Berman: Campaign Finance/Money summary". Open Secrets. 2. http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?CID=N00008094. 
  8. ^ "Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007)". WikiLeaks. 2008-05-22. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Proposed_US_ACTA_multi-lateral_intellectual_property_trade_agreement_(2007). 
  9. ^ "Hearing on: H.R. 6845, the "Fair Copyright in Research Works Act". United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. 2008-09-11. http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_090911_1.html. 
  10. ^ "Backlash against open access". Ars Technica. 2008-09-16. http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/open-access-science.ars. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Howard L Berman." Carroll's Federal Directory. Carroll Publishing, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Document Number: K2415002198. Fee.
  12. ^ a b Barone, Michael; Grant Ujifusa, Douglas Matthews (2003?). The Almanac of American Politics (2004 ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Journal, Inc.. pp. 236–239. ISBN 0-89234-106-8. 
  13. ^ a b "Howard Lawrence Berman." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Document Number: K2017593147. Fee.
  14. ^ Barabak, Mark Z. (2001-08-17). "Rep. Henry Waxman Takes to His New Role as Gadfly. The Los Angeles congressman says he's simply keeping tabs on the White House". Los Angeles Times. http://www.waxman.house.gov/news_files/news_profiles_waxman_gadfly_8_17_01.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  15. ^ a b Meyerson, Harold (1994-12-04). "The Liberal Lion in Winter. The Democrats' Legislative Genius, Los Angeles Congressman Henry A. Waxman is Back on Defense". Los Angeles Times Magazine. http://www.waxman.house.gov/news_files/news_profiles_liberal_lion_12_4_94.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  16. ^ Vassar, Alex; Shane Meyers. "11-07-1992 Election". Join California. One Voter Project. http://www.joincalifornia.com/election/1972-11-07. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  17. ^ Isoardi, Steven L. (1994, 1995). "Oral History Interview with TOM BANE" (PDF). State Government Oral History Program. California State Archives. http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/pdf/TBane.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-18. "On top of that, Michael Berman was after votes. He figured if he'd knock off Jack Fenton, another vote for Howard. ...He did it to Jack Fenton, he'd do it to them." 
  18. ^ Abid, Aslam (2--8-04-07). "FINANCE: U.S. Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars". Inter Press Service International Association (Rome, Italy). http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41893. Retrieved 2008-09-18. "Other panel chiefs who invested in defence firms include Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent who presides over the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Howard Berman, the California Democrat who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
    In all, 151 current members of Congress -- more than one-fourth of the total -- have invested between 78.7 million dollars and 195.5 million dollars in companies that received defence contracts of at least 5.0 million dollars, according to CRP."
     
  19. ^ Mayer, Lindsay Renick (2008-04-03). "Strategic Assets". Capital Eye. Center for Responsive Politics. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/04/strategic-assets.html. Retrieved 2008-09-18. "...lawmakers are personally invested in companies reaping billions of dollars from defense contracts." 
  20. ^ "Related recipients". USA Today. 2007-06-18. http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070618/a_campaignfunds_chart18.art.htm. 
  21. ^ a b c "Family Affair" (PDF). Citizens for Ethics. 2007-06-19. http://www.citizensforethics.org/files/FINAL_FULL_REPORT.pdf. 
  22. ^ Cillizza, Chris (2006-04-21). "House: Mollohan Steps Down From Ethics Post". The Fix (Washington Post). http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2006/04/mollohan_steps_down_from_ethic.html. Retrieved 2008-09-19. "Congressman Howard Berman, who previously served as the senior member of the Ethics Committee, has agreed to accept my appointment to return temporarily as ranking member." 
  23. ^ Robert, Brodsky (2006-06-14). "Ethics Committee Members, Staff Among the Well-Traveled. House legislators mulling rules and their aides took about $1 million in trips". Center for Public Integrity. http://projects.publicintegrity.org/powertrips/report.aspx?aid=412. 
  24. ^ "Sponsor Profile - Aspen Institute". Center for Public Integrity. 2006-06-05. http://projects.publicintegrity.org/powertrips/default.aspx?act=profiles&pid=2. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  25. ^ "2000 FARMWORKER JUSTICE AWARD PRESENTED TO REP. HOWARD BERMAN" (PDF). Farmworker Justice News, Summer 2000 (Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc.): p. 4. 2000-07-18. http://www.fwjustice.org/FJNews%20Summ%202000.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-16. "The Board of Directors of the Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc. presented the 2000 Farmworker Justice Award to Rep. Howard Berman of California. The presentation was made by Dolores Huerta, Secretary-Treasurer of the United Farm Workers, a long time friend of Howard Berman. The award reception was held at the Mott House in Washington, D.C. during the evening of May 24, 2000." 
  26. ^ "The Daily Recorder". Roseville, Placer County, California 95661: Ochrach Law Group, PC. April 15, 1994. http://www.ochrach.com/daily_recorder.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-19. "...former state Assemblyman Mike Cullen, who went into private practice after losing a 1978 re-election campaign... A retired U.S. Navy captain and former Democratic assemblyman from 1967-78, Cullen" 

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