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More Forgeries Emerge in Climate Lobbying Effort

By David A. Fahrenthold
The office of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) has revealed the names of the two more groups whose names were forged on letters urging him to alter the House's climate-change bill.

Perriello received eight of the letters -- all purporting to come from constituents or groups in his district, but actually written by the Washington lobbying firm Bonner and Associates. The names on six were already known: one appeared to come from a Latino social-services group, and five from non-existent members of the Charlottesville NAACP.

The other two, Perriello spokesman Jessica Barba said, carried the names of the Jefferson Area Board for Aging -- a group that assists seniors in the Charlottesville area -- and a Charlottesville branch of the American Association of University Women.

An official at the AAUW said Thursday that her group doesn't have a Charlottesville branch.

"We've worked a long time to build up a reputation, and keep our name untarnished, and the notion that someone would come along and take that name ..... it's deceit. It's outright deceit," said Lisa Maatz, the group's director of public policy and government relations.

In all, 12 fraudulent letters were sent to three Representatives -- all relatively new Democrats from coal-producing states. Three went to Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), who is a first-termer like Perriello, and one went to Rep. Chris Carney (Pa.), in his second term.

At the time, Bonner was a subcontractor working for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a pro-coal lobbying group, which was seeking greater guarantees about the price of energy under the bill's "cap-and-trade" scheme. Bonner has said a single employee was responsible, and has been fired.

By David A. Fahrenthold  |  August 6, 2009; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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As a Canadian friend to many Americans resulting from wintering in the US every year and I marvel at the degree of distrust in government. However politicians get monitored and there is a disciplinary mechanism in place i.e. the vote. Big Business seen to be the base of the Capitalist system is generally totally unfettered and frequently will do anything to promote its agenda. These recent acts, including the disruption of the democratic process at the community level should be viewed as criminal and dealt with accordingly. To even suggest that one employee was responsible for the forgeries is to hold us all in contempt. Greed at all levels drives unethical and illegal acts. Too many politicians have been caught and will pay some form of a price. The conservative view that any form of control on business is negative is nonsense. What we see every night on the news is abominable and mostly goes unchecked. The mobs are not politicians. They are formed and driven by all too powerful business groups. The democratic system that used to be the envy of much of the world is trampled unimpeded as we watch.

Posted by: hercster44 | August 7, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Why is this not a front page headline? Why is every free press organization not making a big issue of this, and the Health Insurance lobby disruption of town meetings? Maybe because there's not much of a free press left?

Posted by: RYBice | August 7, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to thank the free W Post for the excellent pics of the Secretary Hilary Clinton in Nairobi on her African tour for AEOC. She seems to be getting a good reception at least in Kenya

Posted by: derick_fd | August 7, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

ACCCE (and before that ABEC) have been mis-leading the public for quite some time. See this clip from 2008:

Posted by: info92 | August 12, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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