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Lobbying Firm Says It Only Forged 13 Letters, Not 14

By David A. Fahrenthold
A day after Congressional investigators said they'd found a 14th forged letter written to Congress by a lobbying firm working for the coal industry, the firm on Friday said that was not the case.

Bonner & Associates, the firm at which a now-fired employee wrote the faked letters, said there were 13 and no more. The 14th letter, which appeared to come from an American Legion post in Rocky Mount, Va., was legitimate, the firm said.

Or at least, legitimate by the rules of Washington lobbying.

Here's the firm's account of what happened, from Bonner's attorneys at the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld:

An employee at Bonner & Associates, which was working for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, talked to someone at the American Legion post. Then they FedExed a pre-written letter to the post, asking U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) to protect American energy independence and keep electricity costs low as the House debated a climate-change bill.

Then the letter was FedExed back, with the signature of post Adjutant Charles Santrock.

"We have no indication that it isn't legitimate," said John Sopko, a partner at Akin Gump.

But, on Capitol Hill today, a spokesman for the committee investigating the letters say they still believe the letter is faked. Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said investigators have talked to Santrock, and he told them it's not his signature.

"The story hasn't changed," Burnham-Snyder said.

Santrock, of course, is the one person who might clear this up. But, when the Washington Post called this afternoon, a woman who answered the phone said he was out playing golf.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 11, 2009; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Comments

Well, that makes it alright then.... as long as there were only 13.

Posted by: brainfart007 | September 11, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

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