Howard Berman

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 16:05, 7 October 2013 by Justin Haas (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Howard Berman
Howard Berman.jpg
U.S. House, California, District 28
Former member
In office
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 2, 1982
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
California State Assembly
Bachelor'sUniversity of California, Los Angeles
OtherLL.B., University of California, Los Angeles
Date of birthApril 15, 1941
Place of birthLos Angeles, California
Campaign website
The information about this individual is current as of when his or her last campaign ended. See anything that needs updating? Send a correction to our editors

Howard Berman (b. April 15, 1941) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House representing California's 28th congressional district from 1983 to 2013. He lost his re-election bid in 2012.[1]

Berman ran for re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing California's 30th District as a Democrat. He was displaced from the 28th district by redistricting.[2]

The primary battle between Berman and Brad Sherman made Politico's list of the 5 ugliest member vs. member battles.[3]

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Berman was a "moderate Democratic leader".[4]


Berman was born in Los Angeles, California. He earned his B.A. and his LL.B. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1962 and 1965 respectively.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Berman's academic, professional and political career:[5]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Berman served on the following committees:[6]


House Judiciary Committee

Congressman Berman was first appointed to the House Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn into office in January of 1983.[7] Berman served on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.[8]

The Congressman participated in the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton in 1998.[9]

Lobbying position after leaving office

Berman was listed in March 2013 by USA Today as 1 of 16 former lawmakers who took on a lobbying related position after leaving office.[10] Sixteen of the 98 total lawmakers who have retired or were ousted by voters since January 2011 hold lobbying-related jobs.[10] USA Today looked at lawmakers who retired, resigned or lost their seats in the last Congress — along with the handful who left their posts during the first months of the new Congress.[10]

Despite rules in place to prevent the constant rotation of lawmakers into lobbying positions, many former lawmakers are entering into positions with either lobbying firms or trade associations.[10] Former House members are barred from lobbying their former colleagues for a year, and former senators are barred for two years.[10]

There are no restrictions, however, on providing behind-the-scenes advice to corporations and others seeking to shape federal legislation.[10] Ex-lawmakers can immediately lobby the executive branch and officials in state and local governments.[10] Many former lawmakers are taking advantage of this slight distinction, and are taking positions after their political careers end as consultants and strategists.[10]

Campaign themes


Berman's campaign website listed the following issues:[11]

  • Jobs and the Economy
Excerpt: "Getting our economy moving again has been one of Howard’s top priorities in Congress. He knows that job growth is largest in new companies, and that the biggest problem faced by today’s small businesses is fewer customers with less money to spend."
  • Veterans
Excerpt: "He has made it a priority to help veterans facing hard times get back on their feet. He’s pushed for funding of programs to help treat homeless veterans with substance abuse and other mental health issues. He’s sought funds to improve the VA’s Supportive Housing program, and coordinated and co-hosted a veterans home buyers workshop."
  • Intellectual Property Rights
Excerpt: "Howard believes that robust protection of intellectual property and prevention of copyright theft protects local investments and creates jobs. The Chamber of Commerce has noted that America’s IP-intensive industries employ more than 19 million workers–at all educational and skill levels. From 2000 to 2007, the annual salary of all workers in IP-intensive industries averaged about 60% more than for similar workers in non-IP-intensive industries."
  • Middle East
Excerpt: "Howard has been one of the boldest and most effective Congressional voices in support of close US-Israeli relations since his first days in office. As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2008-2010, and now as its top Democrat, he’s been the recognized leader of annual efforts to whip Members of the House to support full funding for aid to Israel."
  • Foreign Policy and National Security
Excerpt: "In addition to his indispensable work on Israel, Iran and the Middle East, Howard has been a major force on a wide range of other foreign policy and national security issues."
  • Education
Excerpt: "As a graduate of Los Angeles’ public schools, including Hamilton High School and UCLA, Howard knows firsthand that a strong public school system is key to our nation’s global competitiveness and our children’s futures."
  • The Environment
Excerpt: "The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Act was enacted in 1979 by Assembly Bill 1312, authored by Assemblyman Howard Berman. Since it became law, it has provided the means to preserve over 60,000 acres of parkland in both wilderness and urban settings, and improve more than 114 public recreational facilities in the Santa Monica Mountains."

Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Berman voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was 1 of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[12]



See also: California's 30th congressional district elections, 2012

Berman ran for re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing California's 30th District as a Democrat. He was displaced from the 28th district by redistricting.[2] He and district 28 incumbent Brad Sherman (D) advanced past the blanket primary on June 5, 2012, defeating Vince Gilmore (D), Mark Reed (R), Susan Shelley (R), Navraj Singh (R), and Michael Powelson (G). They faced off in the November 6, 2012, general election and Sherman won.[1][13][14] Berman and Sherman were both considered vulnerable incumbents in the election.[15]

The race between Berman and Brad Sherman heated up further in a debate on October 11 when the two candidates nearly had a physical altercation. Berman moved over to Sherman's side of the stage and put a finger in his face. Sherman responded by putting his arm around Berman and asking "Do you want to get into this." A sheriff's deputy soon walked between the men, calming them down.[16]

U.S. House, California District 30 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBrad Sherman Incumbent 60.3% 149,456
     Democratic Howard Berman Incumbent 39.7% 98,395
Total Votes 247,851
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
U.S. House, California District 30 Open Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBrad Sherman (D) Incumbent 42.4% 40,589
Green check mark transparent.pngHoward Berman (D) Incumbent 32.4% 31,086
Mark Reed (R) 12.5% 11,991
Navraj Singh (R) 5.8% 5,521
Susan Shelley (R) 4% 3,878
Michael Powelson (G) 2.1% 1,976
Vince Gilmore (D) 0.8% 792
Total Votes 95,833


On November 2, 2010, Berman won re-election to the United States House. He advanced past the blanket primary on June 5, 2012, defeating Merlin Froyd (R) and Carlos A. Rodriguez (Libertarian) in the general election.[17]

U.S. House, California District 28 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngHoward Berman Incumbent 69.5% 88,385
     Republican Merlin Froyd 22.4% 28,493
     Libertarian Carlos A. Rodriguez 8% 10,229
Total Votes 127,107



Brad Sherman vs. Howard Berman
Poll Brad Sherman Howard BermanUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
(September 20, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign donors


Breakdown of the source of Berman's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Berman did not win election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Berman's campaign committee raised a total of $4,684,926 and spent $5,772,180.[18]


Breakdown of the source of Berman's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Berman won re-election to the U.S. House in 2010. During that election cycle, Berman's campaign committee raised a total of $1,914,073 and spent $1,124,915.[19]

His top 5 contributors between 2009-2010 were:



Berman was endorsed by Senator Barbara Boxer over his primary opponent and fellow incumbent Brad Sherman. She stated, "Because of Brad’s campaign mailing, which outrageously tries to connect you to the San Bruno tragedy, I will no longer stay neutral in this race." This is referring to a 2010 explosion in San Bruno, which resulted in eight deaths, caused by PG&E's failure to maintain their gas line.[20]

Berman was also endorsed by Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham as well as Independent Joe Lieberman.[21]


Berman and his wife, Janis, have two children.


Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Berman paid his congressional staff a total of $1,048,441 in 2011. He ranked 104th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic representative staff salaries and ranked 115th overall of the lowest paid representative staff salaries in 2011. Overall, California ranked 5th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[22]

Staff bonuses

According to an analysis by CNN, Berman was one of nearly 25 percent of House members who gave their staff bonuses in 2012. Berman's staff was given an apparent $6,648.00 in bonus money.[23]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Berman's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $1,139,171 and $1,224,169. That averages to $1,181,670, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2010 of $4,465,875.[24]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Berman ranked 122nd in the liberal rankings in 2012.[25]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Berman ranked 69th in the liberal rankings.[26]

Political positions

Voting with party

November 2011

Howard Berman voted with the Democratic Party 94.2% of the time, which ranked 34 among the 192 House Democratic members as of 2011.[27]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Howard + Berman + California + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

  • Loading...

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 CNN "California Districts Race - 2012 Election Center"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "California incumbents seek new districts to call home",, August 11, 2011
  3. Politico "Congress 2012: The 5 ugliest member vs. member battles" Accessed April 18, 2012
  4. Gov Track "Berman" Accessed May 17, 2012
  5. Biographical Director of the United States Congress "Howard Lawrence Berman," Accessed November 6, 2011
  6. Congressman Howard L. Berman, Representing the 28th District of California "Biography"
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bio
  8. Congressman Howard Berman "Committee Assignments"
  9. Government Printing Office "Impeachment Inquiry: President William Jefferson Clinton", November 19, 1998(See Page II)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 USA Today "Former lawmakers lobbying jobs" accessed March 27, 2013
  11. Campaign website, Issues
  12. U.S. House "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  13. California Secretary of State, Official candidate list
  14. Unofficial election results
  15. New York Times"house Race Ratings" Accessed October 3
  16. The Washington Post, "Berman-Sherman debate turns nasty, in a House race that is already heated," October 12, 2012
  17. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  18. Open Secrets "Howard Berman 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed March 19, 2013
  19. Open Secrets "Howard Berman 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed November 6, 2011
  20., "Sen. Boxer picks Berman over Sherman", February 21, 2012
  21. Politico, "GOP senators to endorse Democrat Howard Berman," September 10, 2012
  22. LegiStorm "Howard Berman"
  23. CNN Politics, "Congressional bonuses in a time of cuts," accessed March 8, 2013
  24., "Berman, (D-Cali), 2010"
  25. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 21, 2013
  26. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  27. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
David Dreier
U.S. House of Representatives - California, District 28
Succeeded by
Adam Schiff
Preceded by
U.S. House of Representatives - California, District 26
Succeeded by
Preceded by
California State Assembly
Succeeded by