Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1996, 9th term.

Born: October 24, 1954, Los Angeles

Home: Sherman Oaks

Education: U.C.L.A., B.A. 1974, Harvard U., J.D. 1979

Professional Career: Accountant, 1980–90.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Jewish

Family: married (Lisa) , 3 children

Brad Sherman, a Democrat first elected in 1996, likes to portray himself as a self-deprecating wonk—though bald, he is famous for passing out personalized combs at campaign events. But he is also a rough and ready political scrapper. He is among Israel’s leading congressional defenders, an outspoken critic of the 2008 Wall Street rescue, and in 2012 he trounced even more senior Democrat Howard Berman in an unusually nasty and expensive member-on-member contest.

Sherman grew up in Monterey Park, in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. He started working on Democratic campaigns at age 6, stuffing envelopes for U.S. Rep. George Brown. He set up his own stamp-wholesaling firm at age 14. He graduated with high honors from the University of California at Los Angeles, worked as an accountant, and then went to Harvard Law School. He came back to the Los Angeles area to practice tax law, and he represented the Philippines in its successful effort to seize the assets of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos.

In 1990, Sherman was elected from Los Angeles County to the state Board of Equalization, which is a sort of tax court. He was known as a stickler for detail, a “tax nerd,” as one former staffer said, who used the office with a keen scent for political advantage. He irritated cartoonists with a ruling that exempted artwork from the state tax but not illustrations. They took their revenge by setting up a website, the Sherman Gallery, where they vied in caricaturing the balding and bespectacled Sherman.

In 1996, he moved his residence from Santa Monica to Sherman Oaks, where a U.S. House seat had opened. Both he and his Republican opponent, businessman Rich Sybert, were self-financers; Sherman spent $578,000 of his own money. And both stressed their moderation. Sherman ran against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress, but he also supported the death penalty, called for phasing out racial quotas and preferences, and favored tough measures on illegal immigration. Sybert stressed his independence from Gingrich as well as his support of abortion rights and environmental protections. Sherman won 49%-44%.

In the House, his voting record has been more moderate than those of most other Los Angeles County Democrats, and he has shown occasional independence from party leaders. He voted in 2005 in favor of a constitutional amendment banning desecration of the U.S. flag. He drew national attention in June 2011 for introducing a bill to prevent cities from banning male circumcision —a response to a proposed ballot measure in San Francisco that would outlaw the circumcision of males under the age of 18. Sherman has taken an interest in some of the more arcane aspects of government. He sponsored bills for several years to overhaul the presidential succession process and another measure to set up a commission to reduce delays in processing Freedom of Information Act requests.

One of the few certified public accountants in Congress, Sherman serves on the Financial Services Committee, where his experience has been useful in congressional attempts to unravel recent corporate accounting scandals. In 2008, he was an outspoken foe of the bill creating the Troubled Assets Relief Program to bail out the financial services industry, dubbing it “cash for trash.” He was regularly critical of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s subsequent efforts on behalf of Wall Street, calling Geithner’s proposal allowing the government to take over large firms “TARP on steroids.” When domestic auto company executives testified in favor of a proposed bailout for that industry in November 2008, Sherman got them to concede that they had all flown separately to Washington in private airplanes, a revelation that sparked a public backlash. In March 2009, he advocated a 70% surtax on all compensation exceeding $1 million for executives of financial institutions receiving large federal bailouts. Sherman also helped form the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill. But one of the bill’s namesakes, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., accused him of “arrogance” and of overstating his role after Sherman boasted that he had “more to do with Dodd-Frank than anyone except Dodd and Frank.”

On the Foreign Affairs Committee, Sherman is the top Democrat on the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, where his priority has been preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. As a staunch Israel supporter, he contended at a June 2011 conference that liberals suffer from “the David and Goliath inversion” regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “Liberals always root for David, never Goliath” and assume Israel is the aggressor, Sherman said. When Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla carrying supplies to Gaza in 2010 and killed nine passengers, most U.S. allies denounced the raid. But Sherman called on Attorney General Eric Holder to file criminal charges against all U.S. citizens involved with the flotilla, and said any non-U.S. citizen aboard should be permanently barred from entering the United States. He also has sought tougher economic sanctions against Iran, and in 2011, he sponsored a bill to end the practice of American corporations conducting business with Iran through their foreign subsidiaries.

Sherman did not have serious opposition for reelection until redistricting following the 2010 census lumped him together in 2012 with Howard Berman, a 30-year House veteran who had chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee. Berman had the backing of much of the state’s Democratic establishment as well as the support of Hollywood elites for his work on anti-piracy legislation; even some prominent Republicans such as Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. John McCain of Arizona came out publicly for him. But he was at a serious geographic disadvantage: The new 30th District covered twice as much of Sherman’s old turf as Berman’s.

Both candidates raised plenty of the money. The final tab for the race was $16.3 million, making it one of the nation’s most expensive. Sherman went on the attack, depicting Berman as a Washington insider who didn’t understand constituents’ concerns. The normally mild-mannered Berman followed suit, launching a weekly “BS Report” on his opponent and highlighting his inability to get more than a handful of bills into law while criticizing him for loaning his campaigns money and then charging interest, an allegation that Sherman heatedly denied. The acrimony reached its peak at an October debate when the two loudly bickered over a federal immigration bill, and Sherman threw his arm around his opponents’ shoulders and demanded, “You want to get into this?” A sheriff’s deputy and a debate organizer stepped between them to prevent an escalation. Berman sent out a YouTube video of the incident accusing Sherman of trying to start a fight, prompting Sherman to apologize. But it was too little, too late for Berman. Sherman won easily, 60%-40%.

Even before his hard-fought victory, Sherman was named the House’s second “meanest” member, behind perennial winner Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, in Washingtonian’s 2012 annual anonymous survey of congressional aides.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5911

(202) 225-5879

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2242
Washington, DC 20515-0530

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5911

(202) 225-5879

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2242
Washington, DC 20515-0530

DISTRICT OFFICE

(818) 501-9200

(818) 501-1554

5000 Van Nuys Boulevard Suite 420
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-1791

DISTRICT OFFICE

(818) 501-9200

(818) 501-1554

5000 Van Nuys Boulevard Suite 420
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-1791

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

4570 Van Nuys Boulevard Unit 270
Sherman Oaks, CA 94103

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

4570 Van Nuys Boulevard Unit 270
Sherman Oaks, CA 94103

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Acquisitions

Don MacDonald
Staff Director

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Don MacDonald
Staff Director

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Banking

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Budget

Don MacDonald
Staff Director

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Consumers

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Education

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Energy

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Finance

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Gambling

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Health

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Homeland Security

Kinsey Kiriakos
Legislative Assistant

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Housing

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Kinsey Kiriakos
Legislative Assistant

Internet

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Labor

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Military

Kinsey Kiriakos
Legislative Assistant

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Tax

Marc Shultz
Senior Legislative Assistant

Technology

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Women

Lauren Wolman
Legislative Director

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Brad Sherman
Votes: 149,456
Percent: 60.3%
Howard Berman
Votes: 98,395
Percent: 39.7%
2012 PRIMARY
Brad Sherman
Votes: 40,589
Percent: 42.35%
Howard Berman
Votes: 31,086
Percent: 32.44%
Mark Reed
Votes: 11,991
Percent: 12.51%
Navraj Singh
Votes: 5,521
Percent: 5.76%
2010 GENERAL
Brad Sherman
Votes: 102,927
Percent: 65.15%
Mark Reed
Votes: 55,056
Percent: 34.85%
2010 PRIMARY
Brad Sherman
Votes: 31,724
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Brad Sherman
Votes: 145,812
Percent: 68.51%
Navraj Singh
Votes: 52,852
Percent: 24.83%
Tim Denton
Votes: 14,171
Percent: 6.66%
2008 PRIMARY
Brad Sherman
Votes: 25,591
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (65%), 2008 (69%), 2006 (69%), 2004 (62%), 2002 (62%), 2000 (66%), 1998 (57%), 1996 (49%)

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