Rick Berman's History
grew up in New York City. His father ran gas stations and car washes,
and Berman did general labor on weekends and summers while he was
From 1967 to 1969, Berman worked as a labor law attorney for Bethlehem
Steel. From 1969 to 1972, he served as a corporate lawyer for Dana
Corporation, an automotive parts company in Toledo, Ohio.
From 1972 to 1974, Berman was employed as labor law director of
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. In this role, Berman
claimed that he “argued against unnecessary regulation of
[the] hospitality industry.” However, he is known to have
submitted an amici curiae brief opposing a decision to grant health
care coverage to pregnant women.
Berman moved into the food and beverage industry in 1975 under the
mentorship of Norman Brinker, founder and owner of the Steak &
Ale chain of restaurants. Berman started a government affairs program,
launched his first PAC for Brinker, and worked there until 1984.
In 1995, Berman and Brinker were identified as the special-interest
lobbyists who donated the $25,000 that caused House Speaker Newt
Gingrich to be hauled before the House Ethics Committee for influence
Berman served as executive vice president of Pillsbury Restaurant
Group from 1984 to 1986. In 1986, he formed Berman and Company.
Berman’s résumé also includes his work for Beverage
Retailers Against Drunk Driving (BRADD), where he argued for “tolerance
of social drinking;” the Minimum Wage Coalition to Save Jobs;
and the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), created in 1991 to
argue “the importance of minimum wage jobs for the poor and
Today, Berman describes himself as a social liberal and an economic
conservative. He is media savvy and is reported to be clever, “aggressive,
and polished—a real street fighter.”