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Coal lobbyists caught forging letters to Congress

By Blogger for The Christian Science Monitor / August 5, 2009

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This week, we learned an important lesson on what to do when reality fails to conform to our political beliefs: Just make a forgery!

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We saw it with the so-called birthers – people who believe that Barack Obama isn't really president because he isn't a US citizen – when they produced an obviously fake birth certificate stating that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya.

And we saw it again with Bonner & Associates, a Washington lobbying firm working on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), which got caught sending forged letters to at least three House Democrats, urging them to vote against the climate bill that passed the House in June.

On Friday, Brian McNeill of the Charlottesville (Va.) Daily Progress, broke the story that the firm had sent six letters with letterheads from the NAACP and Creciendo Juntos, a Latino nonprofit, to Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat who voted in favor of the bill.

The online environmental magazine Grist obtained copies of the letters, both of which read in part:

We support making the environment cleaner, but the reason we are writing is that we are concerned about our electric bills. Many of our members are on tight budgets and the sizes of their monthly utility bills are important expense items. The cost to heat and cool our homes, run hot water and use other appliances is very important to those on a budget.

After news broke of the forgery, Jack Bonner of Bonner & Associates emailed the left-of-center blog TPMmuckraker to say that the fake letters were the work of "a temporary employee," who was immediately fired. Mr. Bonner did not identify this rogue ex-employee.

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