Via Think Progress:
Last month, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced a congressional investigation of the DC lobbying firm Bonner & Associates. The firm, which has a long history of astroturfing, was caught forging anti-clean energy reform letters — purportedly from groups representing women and people of color — to Congress. Coal front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy was eventually revealed to be Bonner’s client in the anti-clean energy campaign. Now, more forged letters have been uncovered.
Today, Markey revealed five new letters, and dozens more may be out there. According to a statement from Markey’s office, the faked letters came from “elderly services and senior centers” and were sent to Democratic Reps. Tom Periello (VA), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), and Christopher Carney (PA):
The letters released today were staged to appear as if they were sent by groups representing senior citizen services like the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging.
“We’ve seen fear-mongering with our nation’s senior citizens with health care, and now we’re 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.”
In case you’re keeping track, that brings the total to 13 fraudulent letters, supposedly from 9 different groups. I have to say, the conservative astroturfers are staying busy, even when most of their supporters are screaming and waving guns about health care reform. Polluting industries are working overtime to fight clean energy policy.
To be fair, liberal and environmental groups are sometimes guilty of astroturfing, though I haven’t seen much on this scale. The problem here is not so much politics as it is dirty industry versus… just about everyone else.
Just remember, the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. Those that cling to fossil fuels are still living in a Stone Age of sorts, and they’re determined to preserve it, no matter the cost to humanity and the planet.