Richard Berman's Energy Industry Speech Advocating Underhanded Tactics Secretly Taped
WASHINGTON -- Prominent political consultant Richard Berman's speech that offered advice on how to get around anti-oil and gas industry groups through exploitation methods was secretly taped, according to a New York Times report published on Friday.
Berman, founder and CEO of the Berman & Company consultancy firm, spoke at the Western Energy Alliance conference held in Colorado last June. At the time, the veteran consultant had been soliciting funds for a public relations project dubbed Big Green Radicals.
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Berman's speech puts forward the notion that gas and oil executives must be prepared to resort to underhanded tactics -- and set aside an according budget for it -- to prevent liberal and environmental groups from blocking their drilling ventures.
You must be willing to exploit emotions such as anger, greed and fear and use these against them, Berman said as he addressed a crowd of oil and gas industry executives. He said that companies should not be concerned about offending the public.
This is an "endless war;" you can either choose to "win ugly or lose pretty," he added.
Unbeknownst to Berman, his blunt advice had been recorded by an industry executive who was offended by the remarks.
That one has to play dirty in order to win left a bitter taste in my mouth, the executive said, who spoke under condition of anonymity.
The recording could significantly undermine Berman's efforts of marginalizing environmental blocs advocating for restrictions on the extraction of oil and gas reserves through hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking.
Berman is known for his practice of setting up non-profit organizations like the Center for Consumer Freedom, which furtively collects corporate contributions to fund his team's aggressive media campaigns aimed at attacking opponents.
The political consultant was accompanied by Berman & Company vice president Jack Hubbard to campaign for Big Green Radicals.
The initiative has already released controversial ads in Pennsylvania and Colorado, where fracking is hotly debated issue.