Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman at a debate forum.

Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman at a debate forum. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / October 2, 2012)

Rep. Howard Berman, trying to come from behind in his fight with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Shermanfor a San Fernando Valley congressional district seat, Monday slammed Sherman for having earned interest on loans he made to his campaigns over the years he has been in office.

The practice is legal  and not uncommon; but Berman strategist Brandon Hall said he has found that the matter resonates with voters, and the campaign will begin using the issue in TV ads and political mailings.

In a telephone news conference with reporters, Hall said he believes voters think it “inappropriate for a member of Congress to view their campaign accounts as investment vehicles.”

He said Sherman earned nearly $461,000 in interest on loans he made to his campaigns over more than 20 years in elected office. The Berman campaign launched a website, www.Sherman-Scam.com, to  help make its case to voters.

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-- Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times