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House Unearths a 14th Forged Letter from a Lobbyist

By David A. Fahrenthold
Congressional investigators today said they have turned up a 14th forged letter that was sent to a Congressional office criticizing the House's climate change bill, this one appearing to come from an American Legion post in Rocky Mount, Va.

The letter, sent to the office of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), asks Perriello to "make sure the Waxman-Markey bill includes provisions to promote American energy independence, while protecting already cash-strapped constituents from increases in electricity prices." It concludes, "Thank you for listening to concerns of vets in your district."

But the letter actually appears to have been faked by a Washington lobbying firm working for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a Congressional spokesman said today. The lobbying firm, Bonner and Associates, has conceded that an employee forged letters to three Congressional offices, including Perriello's, in the run-up to a vote on the climate bill. That employee has been fired, the firm said.

"We have confirmed [that the letter is fake] directly with the person whose name was forged," said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which is investigating the forgeries. The committee is chaired by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who along with Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), sponsored the bill. It passed the House in June, with Perriello voting yes.

Lisa Camooso Miller, a spokeswoman for the coal group, said that it had brought the letter to the committee's attention in the first place, after an internal investigation could not confirm it was legitimate. But she said the group is still not certain the letter is fake, even after talking to the person whose signature is on it.

"At the end of that conversation, it was unclear whether the letter was in fact false," Miller said. She reiterated that the coal group finds the forgeries "inexcusable."

"This type of misrepresentation has no place in any policy debate," Miller said.
A message left for an official with the Rocky Mount American Legion Post, Charles Santrock, was not immediately returned.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 10, 2009; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Comments

Can't say I'm surprised, but that doesn't mean I am still appalled. Despite these tactics, the public is still in favor of addressing global warming through legislation. Lets get 'r done!

Posted by: rutherfordbhaze | September 10, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Roberts, Alito, and Scalia, will see nothing wrong with this. Just corporation's exercising free speech.

Posted by: osterloh1 | September 10, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

A lobbying firm breaking the law?! Just the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg, I'm sure.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | September 10, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

To my mind the revelations regarding the forged letters speaks volumes about the influence and tactics of lobbyists in the pursuit of the goals of their clients. Especially with regard to the "Clean Coal" industry these tactics lend more creedence to the idea that the fallacy of clean coal can't win on its merits but require subterfuge and dishonesty to prevail. When will the Supreme Court acknowledge the inherent inequality that stems from the idea that corporations are the same as individual citizens with respect to "free speech" and access to the legislative process?

Posted by: youngj1 | September 11, 2009 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity wasn't fully aware to of this has their head in the sand.

If the American Legion had any cajones, it would sue both the lobbying and the "Coalition" that employed it.

Posted by: Garak | September 11, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

This is only the tip of the Iceberg... I know a guy that worked for Bonner & Associates for 10 years as Director of their IT Department. All I can say is put on your seat belts, the ugly TRUTH about Bonner & Associates' shady business practices will come to light very, very soon.

Posted by: politicalsteriods | September 11, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'll forge the next letter I send to congress and they'll read it.

I may even get a response.

Posted by: riain | September 11, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"But she said the group is still not certain the letter is fake, even after talking to the person whose signature is on it."
====================

Why was this article written then? Are they trying to accuse someone of something without any hard evidence or even a testimony from the person who supposedly didnt even write it?

Sounds like a setup from the Mainstream Media didnt quite make it off the ground...

In other news, we now have a radical Regulatory Czar named Cass R. Sunstein who has just kicked off his agenda with the EPA putting small businesses and farms out of business

and then you also have another run at the Global New Deal where we get to cede all our rights over to an international body of regulators....

Take your pick, but I think forged letters should be the last thing on anyones mind at this point.

Time to clean the Progressive Anti-American Terrorists out of both houses of congress, regardless of party affiliation....

...Then allow the Mainstream Media to file bankruptcy and fold up shop instead of continuing to use them as propaganda mouth-pieces

Posted by: indep2 | September 11, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Who will go to jail for this fraud?

"We have confirmed [that the letter is fake] directly with the person whose name was forged,"

"At the end of that conversation, it was unclear whether the letter was in fact false," Miller said. She reiterated that the coal group finds the forgeries "inexcusable."

If it was confirmed by the person whose name was used that it was faked, under what grounds can Ms. Miller say that "it's unclear whether the letter was in fact false"

Posted by: vigor | September 11, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Even their name is disingenious. There is no such thing as "clean" coal. All coal pollutes.

Posted by: cc222 | September 11, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Wait. I'm a bit confused.
There are still people that believe anthropogenic global climate change is possible?
Remarkable.

Posted by: spot1 | September 11, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Was the letter mailed by a Rocky Mount American Legion member?

P.S. For the "bit confused", humans are indeed a major cause of Global Warming, which we scientists KNOW is real.

Posted by: lufrank1 | September 11, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

P.S. For the "bit confused", humans are indeed a major cause of Global Warming, which we scientists KNOW is real.

Posted by: lufrank1 | September 11, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

----------------------

But, but, Spot1 read a bunch of Internet stories debunking human causes of global warming. That's at least as valuable as being an actual scientist!

Posted by: ghokee | September 11, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If any former Bonner employees have any tips to share, they can call the National Wildlife Federation's Polluter Fraud Citizens Tipline at 866-363-4648. You can also email tips@polluterfraud.com.

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | September 11, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Better still, if you want a real laugh go to www.hawthorngroup.com/NewsReleases/8.3.09news_release.html

The gang that created this bogus front group (which they have been pushing and funding since 2000) and unleashed Bonner et al now is all innocence and bliss - since they have finally gotten caught.

"nothing like this has happened in our 17 years in business" really means we haven't gotten caught until now! "Oh, we were so appalled when we realized what we, oops I mean, they, had done, that we were too shocked to actually follow up and see if they had alerted the congressional offices that the letters were fake until it was made clear in the media that they had not."

Jeez, Louise, talk about the farm leagues!
"The Not Ready for Prime Time Players presents..."!
"Green Acres is the place for me..."

The question is, who is paying for all this?

Posted by: SoCali | September 11, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

was that a "bonner employee" or "bonehead employee" i cant tell them apart anymore

Posted by: coolgolf | September 11, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"...Then allow the Mainstream Media to file bankruptcy and fold up shop instead of continuing to use them as propaganda mouth-pieces"
Posted by: indep2
*********************************************
That puts FOX at the top of the closure list.

Posted by: st50taw | September 12, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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