The Employment Policies Institute is one of several front groups created by Berman and Company, a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Richard Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage, tobacco and fossil fuel industries. It is registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under the name of “Employment Policies Institute Foundation.”
In a February 2014 interview with NPR, New York Times reporter Eric Lipton detailed his visit to the EPI, saying “I didn’t see any evidence at all that there was an Employment Policies Institute office. And in fact when I started to interview the people there, they explained that there are no employees at the Employment Policies Institute and that all the staff there works for Berman and Company, and then they sometimes are just detailed to the various think-tanks and various consumer groups that he operates out of his office.”
In February 2015, The Guardian reported on a series of 16 supposedly “academic” studies opposing the Obama administration plans to limit carbon pollution were written by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) and funded by a grant passed through the Employment Policies Institute.
The Interstate Policy Alliance (IPA), a subsidiary of the Employment Policies Institute, was working in with the State Policy Network on a number of topics, including reports on the EPA Clean Power Plan and studies on the benefits of offshore drilling.
Jordan Bruneau, a spokesman for Berman, confirmed that Berman was funding analyses of the EPA regulations and stated, “Currently IPA is working with economists to determine the effects of certain EPA regulations on particular states.” He added, “the research was entirely funded by foundations” but refused to name the funders according to The Guardian. The South Carolina State Policy Network affiliate, the Palmetto Promise Institute, listed the IPA as working in collaboration with BHI and their organization. This collaboration suggests the relationship went beyond a mere grant to BHI, but details of what this collaboration involved, and what control Berman and Company staff had over the content of the studies have not been disclosed by BHI or Suffolk University.
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The reports have been released in partnership with industry-funded state think tanks with ties to the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel special interest groups.