Friday, July 31, 2009

UPDATED: DC Lobbying Firm Posing As Minority Groups Against Climate Bill

Freshman Representative Tom Perriello's (VA) vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) was crucial in securing its passage through the House of Representatives, and demonstrated the real effect elections have in shaping policy. The man he beat last year, former Representative Virgil Goode, boasted an (im)perfect 0% in the 2008 National Environmental Scorecard, and almost assuredly would have voted against ACES.

Of course, national Republicans have made it a priority to smear Mr. Perriello to no end in an attempt to win back a seat that many thought they would never lose. But their attempts to run an attack ad over his vote failed miserably after a Roanoke television station refused to air the spot when it became clear that it contained egregious factual inaccuracies.

As it turns out, we've only scratched the surface of the deceit and lies Mr. Perriello has faced in the wake of his vote. While those who oppose progress on clean energy and climate change have every right to let their Member of Congress know, Washington corporate lobbying firms posing as constituents is another matter altogether (via Daily Progress):
“They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter and sent it to our congressman without our authorization,” said Tim Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community. “It’s this type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy.”

The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by “Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator,” an identity and position at Creciendo Juntos that do not exist.

The person who sent the letter has not been identified, but he or she was employed by a Washington lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates.
So, having failed to thwart the passage of a bill that will revitalize our economy, improve our national security, and protect our planet from the catastrophic effects of climate change, it seems Bonner & Associates have taken sour grapes to a new level by forging letters from local minority-focused organizations.

In case you were wondering, organizational principal Jack Bonner is an alumnus of the National Republican Committee press shop.

And wait, there's more:

After being notified of the bogus Creciendo Juntos letter, staffers in Perriello’s office realized that the wording of the letter sounded familiar.

The staffers dug through the stacks of thousands of letters, e-mails and faxes Perriello received about the bill — the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 — and found five more forged letters, these purportedly from the Albemarle-Charlottesville branch of the NAACP.

M. Rick Turner, president of the local NAACP branch, said he checked his organization’s roster and found none of the five people who signed their name to the five faked letters.
To the anonymous culprit, for future reference, it's probably best to check if the organization you seek to impersonate doesn't hold an completely opposite view. In the wake of the climate debate, the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution that seeks to fight climate change and create green collar jobs through developing clean energy technology.

Or perhaps you're better off just avoiding the whole fraud thing altogether.

UPDATE (2:52PM): We've received word that Representative Ed Markey (MA) has announced an "investigation of the extent and scope of this activity." Is this just the tip of the (melting) iceberg?

UPDATE (3:05PM): Senator John Kerry (MA) says it's "a desperate distortion too many" and that "we have to fight this."

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