Monday, October 26, 2009

ACCCE: Diversifying Falsifying?

For much of the summer we talked about the fraudulent practices of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), mostly in reference to forged letters sent from one of the group's lobbyists, Bonner & Associates.

Now, the hot water is boiling. Rep. Ed Markey has announced that, during this week's investigative hearing into the matter in the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the committee will also question the ACCCE for underreporting their expenditures in federal lobby disclosures.

While charges of fraud have dogged the group this entire time, additional allegations such as these make it look like a pattern from the ACCCE. Falsifying their required quarterly lobbying reports represent an attempt to defraud the federal government.

The New York Times reports:
In an Oct. 21 letter, Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) asked ACCCE whether its lobbying disclosure for 2008 and the first half of 2009 should have included work conducted by the Hawthorn Group, a public relations firm hired in part to coordinate efforts to fight the House climate bill.

Rep. Markey directed ACCCE to detail how much of the $10 million it paid Hawthorn Group during that 18-month period went toward work aimed at influencing U.S. climate legislation. ACCCE paid Hawthorn Group more than $7 million in 2008 and nearly $3 million in the first half of 2009, according to documents it gave the committee.
It was the Hawthorn Group that hired Bonner & Associates prior to the letters being written.

Our guess as to what brought about the additional charges? If Bonner & Associates spent time generating false letters and calls, that would qualify as lobbying expenditures. Given that these would have been done surreptitiously, they certainly would not have been included in the group's lobbying expenditures.

Of course, this could also be the tip of another iceberg of ACCCE falsehoods.

This begs the question of how much of the entire opposition to comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation has kept from the government. Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed its lobby report, detailing nearly $35 million in spending just last quarter. So not only are these groups winning the spending battle by far, they are lying about exactly how much.

But the fight continues.

And for now, it's back to the principal's office for the ACCCE.

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