During forged letter investigation hearing, coal industry lies under oath about its lobbying history

This is a Think Progress repost.

Today, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing investigating fraudulent letters forged by Bonner & Associates on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) to attack the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has reported, ACCCE President and CEO Steve Miller lied under oath when he told the committee that his organization has never opposed clean energy legislation.

Later during the hearing, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) asked Miller about the purpose of ACCCE. Miller replied that in addition to grassroots lobbying (astroturfing) and state-based lobbying, his front group has only began federal lobbying in “April of 2008″³ in its “16 year history”:

INSLEE: Your entire goal of your organization is to influence Congress. Is that right?

MILLER: We do work at the state level, we do regulatory matters, we do general education to the public. So, the federal, direct federal lobbying has only been part of our portfolio since April of 2008 with a 16 year history of the organization.

Miller’s claim is another example of the coal industry’s perjury under oath. In a six month period of 2007 alone, ACCCE, under its previous name of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, spent $2,660,000 lobbying the federal government. Senate disclosures show that the organization has spent millions more lobbying since 2001.

ACCCE was formed in 2008, according to its website, with the combined “assets and missions of the Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) and Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC).” So when Miller noted his 16 year history, he was referring to the lobbying efforts of the coal industry’s previous incarnations, ABEC and CEED.

Here is Brad Johnson’s post:

In the hearing investigating fraudulent letters forged on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) to attack the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), ACCCE chief Steve Miller told Congress his organization has never opposed the legislation.

The record shows otherwise.

ACCCE Politico ad, 6/18/09ACCCE Called Waxman-Markey A ‘High-Risk Proposition.’ On June 18, a week before the House of Representatives voted on the legislation, ACCCE ran a full-page ad in Politico with the headline, “If a climate bill goes too far, too fast it could keep us from getting where we need to go.” The ad described the greenhouse gas pollution reductions in H.R. 2454 as a “high risk proposition.”

ACCCE Criticized Waxman-Markey For ‘Skyrocketing Energy Costs.’ On June 18, ACCCE published on its website the claim that Waxman-Markey could “have consumers paying higher costs for decades.” “In its current form, H.R. 2454 does not do enough to guarantee that consumers are protected against skyrocketing energy costs.”

ACCCE Said It ‘Cannot Support’ Waxman-Markey. Following the passage of the legislation in a 217-213 House vote on June 26, ACCCE issued a statement in opposition to the legislation: “ACCCE cannot support this bill, as it is written, because the legislation still does not adequately protect consumers and the domestic economy or ensure that the American people can continue to enjoy the benefits of affordable, reliable electricity, which has been so important to our nation.”

2 Responses to During forged letter investigation hearing, coal industry lies under oath about its lobbying history

  1. Dan K. says:

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  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Criminal Prosecution and/or Big Civil Suit

    I just saw Representative Markey on TV, faced with some questions of whether there should be investigations and prosecutions of anyone who committed perjury or who clearly defrauded the government, and, in essence, he dodged the question.

    I don’t have any direct knowledge of what happened, of course, BUT IF the facts show that this person committed perjury on this, and/or IF the organizations were aware of the false letters before the House voted, and did not promptly inform the House members involved, and IF that violates law and can be considered a fraud, then such violations SHOULD be investigated and fully prosecuted.

    These matters are too important to just wink and move on. What are we to think and do — that is, those of us who spend much time and energy on working in all sorts of ways to have climate change faced and addressed — if organizations send fake letters to the government, know about it, don’t inform the government before a key vote, and are just excused? Or, if people involved can lie, under oath, to a House committee and get away with it?

    No way. Please tell Representative Markey that investigating and prosecuting those sorts of crimes should not be thought of as a distraction to addressing the central matter of climate change. Quite the opposite. Investigating and prosecuting such things should be seen as the same as, and central to, that main goal. A big part of the problem (and it won’t go away) is that people can do such things and, in essence, get away with them.

    Forgot it. If people in the government want energized and motivated members of the public to work hard on these things, they had better uphold the law and call for investigation and prosecution of those folks who would defraud the House or commit perjury under oath.