Thursday, August 6, 2009

Coal Group Knew About Forged Letters Before Climate Vote

As we posted yesterday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow interviewed Representative Tom Perriello (VA) Tuesday night, the first reported target of Bonner & Associates' forged letter campaign against the American Clean Energy and Security Act. In the ensuing days, Pennsylvania Representatives Chris Carney and Kathy Dahlkemper were also revealed as targets of the fraudulent activities conducted on behalf the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the client linked to Bonner's antics.

Perriello took the opportunity to mention that, in addition to a local chapter of the NAACP and Latino rights group Creciendo Juntos, Bonner also used phony letterhead to impersonate two other groups: the Charlottesville-based Jefferson Area Board for Aging and the American Association of University Women.

Maddow continued her coverage of this rapidly-developing scandal on last night's show. And she certainly didn't disappoint with yet another shocking development: according to an investigation into the matter launched by Representative Ed Markey (MA), the ACCCE knew that the fraudulent letters had been produced on June 24, two days before the vote on the energy and climate bill in the House, and did nothing to stop Bonner's atrocious tactics.

You can watch the full video, and her interview with Representative Frank Pallone (NJ) on the letters, below.

And we would be less than honest if we didn't feel just a bit jealous that we couldn't come up with something as clever as Unnatural Mail Enhancement.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Perriello Responds To Letter Forgeries

From last night's The Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow also lists Bonner & Associates's lengthy history of fraudulent grassroots tactics.
And we will continue to abstain from employing the suffix "gate" in this or any subsequent scandal...

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.