The stack of forged letters opposing clean energy reform on behalf of the coal industry is growing. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) has revealed that he not only received forgeries purporting to come from black and hispanic groups, but also senior citizen and women’s advocacy organizations as well. Yesterday, Perriello’s office told reporters that in addition to the five NAACP letters and one Creciendo Juntos letter forged on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), “two other letters were forged to appear as if they had been sent by the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, a Charlottesville agency, and the American Association of University Women.” Perriello, who cast his vote in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act despite this fraud, discussed the scandal on Rachel Maddow:
Obviously, anything like this, where someone is claiming your letterhead and then claiming your position is just outrageous. They also did JABA, the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging, which is one of these great service organizations in our community that helps our seniors. And for them to get dragged into something like this really is, I think, a blow to folks in the area. But it’s also just a turn-off again to these sorts of corporate-lobbying tactics.
Neither JABA nor the American Association of University Women did any lobbying on the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and both organizations first learned about the fraud today. Since the scandal broke last Friday, ACCCE has placed the blame on its contractors, the Astroturf specialists Hawthorn Group and Bonner & Associates. However, ACCCE has known and kept silent about the fraudulent campaign against the clean energy legislation since June, even as the two other members known to have received fraudulent letters, Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and Chris Carney (D-PA), voted against the bill.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the chair of the Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, today sent a letter to ACCCE requesting information about its role in the affair, including the full details of all of the fraudulent letters sent on its behalf:
The deliberate inaction prior to the House vote and the extended silence after the vote — some 40 days after ACCCE knew what had happened — raises serious concerns.