Anti-Labor Group Attacking Merkley Headed by DC Lobbyist

An anti-labor group under the guise of, “Employee Freedom,” has been taking out newspaper ads in Oregon attacking Jeff Merkley. What are they attacking him on? They’re aiming straight for Merkley’s support of the Employee Freedom of Choice Act. The EFCA, aka the card check, would allow employees to control how they vote on whether to form a union rather than the management overseeing the process. The anti-labor group released two full page ads in two major papers in Oregon saying:

Jeff Merkley won the Democratic primary Tuesday through a mailed private ballot by Oregon citizens. Yet he supports eliminating the right to a private vote when unions are enlisting new members…tell Merkley to support true democracy.

So, where did this newly formed PAC come from? The Willamette Week did a little digging:

Washington, D.C.-based Employee Freedom is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which means it does not need to disclose its funding sources. The group is headquartered in the office of D.C. lobbyist Richard Berman, who has a history of setting up AstroTurf groups for the tobacco and booze industries, as well as anti-union employers.

Darn! I wish I could find out who is funding this ridiculous anti-labor PAC. What about Richard Berman? What other honorable organizations does he head up? Berman founded the Center for Consumer Freedom, which works against regulating meat and dairy processing and alcohol. This group knows no boundaries and has attacked groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Berman heads up the American Beverage Institute which fights against regulating alcohol consumption. He also heads up the Employee Policies Institute which works against raising the minimum wage. Lastly, Berman founded the Center for Union Facts, a PAC that spends its time trying to blame the unions for dwindling industries in America. He seems like a good guy right?

House Speaker Jeff Merkley called on Gordon Smith to renounce the misleading attacks by the anti-labor front group. Here’s what Merkley had to say:

“Gordon Smith should renounce this rogue and the special interests that are bankrolling this organization,” said Speaker Merkley. “Shadowy groups like this are planning to come into Oregon and mislead voters about important issues at stake in this election. Smith has fought hard to protect these interests and now they are protecting him.”

I’m glad Merkley is fighting back against these attacks. They’re not just attacking Jeff Merkley, they’re attacking Oregon labor. People like Berman have spent their entire life protecting the big special interests at the expense of ordinary Americans. Hmmmmm, it sounds a lot like my Oregon Senator Gordon Smith doesn’t? Gordon Smith helped block the employee free choice act, voted against the minimum wage and is heavily funded by lobbyists and special interests like big oil. It’s no wonder this anti-labor front group is doing Smith’s dirty work and trying to keep him in power.  


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  1. go unanswered this election!

  2. Labor is in a constant uphill battle in the U.S., and the blogs need to do much more to cover it. Thanks, sarah.

  3. groups seem to crawl out of the woodwork every election, from ballot measures to candidates. I guess the reverse side of all politics are local is that all politics are national. Thanks for this my shunning of the MSM, especially the Boreogian, leaves a big gap in my knowledge of the oppositions shenanigans. It’s a good thing to know the enemy. Sorry I missed this earlier.  

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