Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tip Of The (Melting) Iceberg? More Forged Letters, Clean Coal Group Linked

The fallout continues from last week's revelation that DC lobbying firm Bonner & Associates produced fraudulent letters opposing the American Clean Energy and Security Act.  As was reported last Friday, Bonner acknowledged that they posed as minority groups in opposition of the bill, and, on forged letterhead, sent them to the office of Representative Tom Perriello (VA), a top-tier target for national Republicans.

Within hours, Chairman Ed Markey's Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming announced an investigation into Bonner's activities to determine "the extent and scope of this activity." Soon after, the Sierra Club urged the Department of Justice to conduct their own investigation.

Yesterday, Energy & Environment Daily reported that the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) employed Bonner to do "limited outreach," just not the illegal kind of outreach. Pete Altman at NRDC's Switchboard blog had already flagged issues with ACCCE's lobbying expenditures:
This makes our discovery that ACCCE changed their lobby disclosure report for the 2nd quarter of this year even more interesting. As I mentioned in that post, ACCCE initially reported a whopping $11,317,625 for lobbying on climate issues in the US House and Senate (Original PDF here); then four days later ACCCE submitted a revised report, showing just $544,853 in lobbying expenses (Amended PDF here.)

That's over $10.5 million that ACCCE suddenly realized it didn't want to report as direct lobbying. At first, we figured that must have been tv advertising. But now we have to wonder - maybe that money has something to do with Bonner and Associates?
If you had a feeling that the mischief didn't end with Mr. Perriello, it seems you actually did pick something up from those pesky kids. E&E reports today (subscription required) that multiple instances of forged letters have been identified:
The lobbying firm that sent forged letters opposing the House climate bill to at least three members of Congress was working on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, one of the top Washington, D.C.-based coal industry advocacy groups.

A total of 12 forged letters were sent out to three House Democrats -- Reps. Tom Perriello of Virginia and Kathy Dahlkemper and Chris Carney of Pennsylvania. Both Carney and Dahlkemper voted against the House climate bill (H.R. 2454), while Perriello supported the measure and has faced a storm of criticism from Washington Republicans and some constituents in the wake of its passage.
One has to wonder, though: to what extent can Mr. Perriello take his "constituents'" criticisms seriously?

At this point, saying "more to come" would appear to be an understatement.

1 comment:

mae said...

this is just sickening. Hill staffers will now have to call the signers of every single letter they get to verify authenticity, wasting their time and tax payer money. If these groups have to lie, cheat, and steal to influence legislation, they are obviously on the wrong side of the issue.

Congrats to ReallySeriously.org, btw, for being one of the very first to break this story! This blog rocks.