(The New York Times)  When it comes to consumer freedom, president of Berman and Company Richard B. Berman is not afraid to advocate.  His recent posters accusing the Humane Society of the United States of inappropriate money spending have been plastered on billboards and bus stops, catching significant attention.  But it seems his true issue with the Humane Society is their campaign toward better living conditions for livestock.  “The Humane Society wants to force us all to be vegetarians,” said Mr. Berman, quoted in the New York Times, “–or vegans.”  He also objected to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine because they wanted ignition systems installed that prevent inebriated individuals from starting their vehicles.   “De facto Prohibition,” Mr. Berman called it.  For the last 20 years, Mr. Berman has founded several nonprofits, including Center for Consumer Freedom and others with similarly harmless names, but his tactics are questionable.  Many critics say that his nonprofits are a means for profit for his firm.  His industry donors include large restaurant chains that could lose money by supporting healthier living conditions for livestock, not to mention liquor stores that lose sales if MADD is successful.  Former lawyer for the IRS Jack Reilly said that arguably, the nonprofits were created for the commercial benefit of Mr. Berman’s firm.  Mr. Reilly cited a similar case involving EST in Hawaii, saying “You’re just operating your business under a charity guise, and therefore are getting paid with pretax money.”

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