Friday, March 9, 2012

CD6: John Delaney's Campaign Releases New Criticism of Rob Garagiola's Work as a Lobbyist

UPDATE: State Senator Rob Garagiola's campaign provided Maryland Juice with the following response to John Delaney's attack:
Rob doesn’t recall lobbying for Rick Berman, and he certainly never pushed the right-wing healthcare agenda or lobbied against healthcare reform as the Delaney camp falsely accuses him of doing. When Rob worked on the Hill for Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, he was a lead staffer in the creation of S-CHIP – the healthcare program that provides healthcare coverage to children from low-income families. Rob was also the lead staffer for the Democratic Healthcare Task Force, which was in charge of Democratic healthcare reform in the House of Representatives. For John Delaney to equate Rob to Rick Berman is outrageous. Rob has been a champion of expanding healthcare access to families. As a State Senator, he passed the strongest statewide smoking ban in the country. Rob’s grandfather was killed by a drunk driver, at which point Rob became deeply committed to anti-drunk driving advocacy and became President of Students Against Drunk Driving. And so he’s personally offended by John Delaney’s fabrications, especially this one.

Documents Reveal That Garagiola Worked for Right-Wing Lobbyist Rick Berman
Garagiola Still Not Telling Voters the Whole Truth

On the Kojo Nnamdi Show this afternoon on WAMU radio Rob Garagiola finally addressed just what he did while at Greenberg Traurig, saying that, “When I worked at Greenberg Traurig I had advocated for rural hospitals on the Hill, for community health centers… and to eliminate a therapy cap on Medicare beneficiaries.”

Yet again Rob Garagiola failed to disclose the whole truth. Garagiola lobbied for numerous right-wing clients opposed to comprehensive healthcare reform.

Federal disclosure documents reveal that Rob Garagiola worked as a paid lobbyist for notorious right-wing hired gun Rick Berman, aka “Dr. Evil.” In 2001-02, under Berman’s direction, Garagiola pushed the right-wing healthcare agenda in Washington.[1]

“First lobbyist turned politician Rob Garagiola didn’t disclose his lobbying income. Now, even after getting caught, he’s still not telling voters the whole truth,” said campaign manager Justin Schall. “With clients like these, it’s no wonder Gargaiola has tried to hide his nearly $200,000 in lobbying income for so long.”

As reported in multiple outlets late last month, Garagiola failed to disclose his lobbying income on state ethics forms. In addition, Garagiola did not mention his time at Greenberg Traurig in biographies on his congressional campaign website, his legislative campaign website, the Stein Sperling Law Firm, Maryland General Assembly bio page, and his own LinkedIn account.

“Garagiola claims he wants to run on his record, we do too” said Schall. “Given Rick Berman’s extreme agenda, it’s no wonder Garagiola still isn’t disclosing his ties.”

Who Is Rick Berman?

60 Minutes called him “Dr. Evil” and noted that “Even in a mudslinging city like Washington, it's difficult to find someone who provokes as much venom as Rick Berman.”[2]  Here is just some of his recent activity:
  • He’s campaigned against Mothers Against Drunk Driving on behalf of restaurants that serve alcohol (ABI),[3]
  • He launched a “highly visible attack against organized labor,”[4] and said “I take that as a compliment that [unions are] so upset.”[5]
  • He’s campaign against the Humane Society because of its “success in altering laws and regulations dealing with animal cruelty” which was causing an “increase the cost of doing business” for the food industry.[6]  The Humane Society responded, calling him “a corporate front-man” saying that he is “a corporate front-man…in it for the money”[7]
  • He’s come out against the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health for their work on obesity.[8]
  • He’s campaigned for Philip Morris, and against smoking restrictions “against attacks from anti-smoking…activist.” [9],[10]   

[1] Secretary of the Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, “Greenberg Traurig, LLP/ Berman & Company,” 2001 End-Year Report, 2001 Mid-Year Report, 2002 End-Year Report 

[2] “Meet Rick Berman, A.K.A. "Dr. Evil"” 60 Minutes, 7/17/2007

[3] “MADD vs. Rick Berman's American Beverage Institute,” Saletan, Slate, 8/29/2011

[4] “Group Starts Anti-Union Campaign,” Greenhouse, New York Times, 2/14/2006

[5] “Berman turns his eye to battling big labor,” Devaney, Washington Times, 2/14/2012

[6] “The PR Man Behind the Oscar Night Anti-Humane Society Slam,” Sewer, Mother Jones, 2/28/2012

[7] “F.A.Q. on Richard Berman,” The Humane Society,

[8] “New JAMA Study Challenges CDC’s 400,000 Obesity Deaths Figure,” Center for Consumer Freedom, 4/19/2005

[9] “MADD vs. Rick Berman's American Beverage Institute,” Saletan, Slate, 8/29/2011


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