Five new forged letters fraudulently sent to Congressmembers have turned up in an ongoing Congressional investigation into the Astroturf campaign launched by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and it subcontractor Bonner & Associates.
The newly confirmed forgeries were sent to at least three Congressmembers and all fraudulently claimed to represent the views of elderly services organizations and senior centers, including the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging.
A total of 13 letters from nine different community groups have now been verified as forgeries, with dozens more letters still being vetted to determine if they were forged by Bonner & Associates, or actually represented the views of the named signers.
ACCCE hired Bonner & Associates in an attempt to scuttle Democratic support for the Waxman-Markey climate and energy legislation approved earlier this summer by the House of Representatives. ACCCE and Bonner have claimed that the first few forgeries uncovered were the work of a rogue temporary employee whom Bonner has since fired, although that person has not been identified to verify this claim. The newly revealed forgeries indicate that the ACCCE/Bonner Astroturf campaign was surely a more highly coordinated effort than even the best and brightest temp could muster.
In addition to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) who received previously confirmed forgeries claiming to represent the NAACP as well as Hispanic and women’s advocacy groups, the new letters were also sent to Pennsylvania Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and Christopher Carney (D-PA). Roll Call reports that "all three Members represent conservative, Republican-leaning districts and could be vulnerable in the 2010 elections."
These three members have received a total of 58 letters - possibly all forgeries - a matter being investigated by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, chaired by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Chairman Markey has called on ACCCE and Bonner & Associates to verify whether the remaining several dozen letters were also sent fraudulently.
"We have seen fear-mongering with our nations senior citizens with health care, and now were seeing fraud-mongering with senior citizens on clean energy," said Chairman Markey. "Lately, democratic debate has been deceptively debased by fake facts and harsh rhetoric. We must return to an honest discussion of the issues, and ensure that this sort of campaign does not further poison the well of trustworthy debate."
Read all of the fraudulent letters now received by the Select Committee below, courtesy of EnviroKnow.
[All letter links are PDF documents]