Climate & Energy Blog

Lobbyists Forge Anti-Climate Letters to Congress

Posted Jul. 31, 2009 / Posted by: NBerning

CONTACT: Avaaz.org: Ben Wikler (ben@avaaz.org) at 646-283-9132 Friends of the Earth: Nick Berning (nberning@foe.org) at 703-587-4454.

In Response to Forged ‘Grassroots’ Anti-Climate Letters, Naked Activists at Lobbyists’ Office Say Fossil Fuel Lobby Has No Clothes

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Responding to breaking news that lobbyists forged letters from constituent groups in order to sway votes against the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill, activists protested outside the offices of Bonner & Associates, the firm reportedly behind the hoax, wearing jackets, ties, and no pants while holding signs reading "The Fossil Fuel Lobby: Naked Fraud" and "Coal and Oil: Stealing Our Future." "Apparently, the fossil fuel industry's tactics are as fraudulent as their arguments against climate action," said Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz.org. "I guess they couldn't find real people opposed to green-energy jobs." Friends of the Earth Public Advocacy Director Nick Berning said, "The fossil fuel industry doesn't just play dirty with the climate, it plays dirty when it comes to our democracy. It will stop at nothing when it comes to putting corporate profits over health, jobs, the environment, and even plain old ethics. This is an outrage." This morning, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported that an employee of Bonner & Associates had forged letters opposing the energy bill and faxed them to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va) on the purported letterhead of two Charlottesville-area grassroots groups, the NAACP and Cresciendo Juntos. In reality, neither group opposed the legislation. Bonner & Associates reportedly apologized and claimed to have fired the employee responsible, but the full extent of the fraud is unknown. This afternoon, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the House Select Committee on Global Warming, called for a congressional inquiry into the forged letters, saying, "This fraud on Congress shows that some opponents of clean energy have resorted to forgery and theft to block progress." According to Charlottesville Daily Progress, the DC-based lobbying firm Bonner & Associates sent at least six fake letters to Rep. Tom Perriello urging him to oppose the climate bill. The letters were sent on faked letterhead purporting to come from the local NAACP and a Hispanic nonprofit network called Creciendo Juntos. After the fraud was discovered, a partner at Bonner & Associates traveled to Charlottesville to personally apologize, and wrote in a letter to Cresciendo Juntos that the forger had been fired. Photos from today's protest can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dc_climate_action/sets/72157621906710696/show/ Video of today’s protest can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH0t_Dfn9Nw

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