Important (?) Editor's Note

O.K. So ‘Astroturf’ Rises (Sinks?) to New Low: Holding Our Tongue on Lobbying Forgery Snafu

So, here’s the deal, and surely we digress:

We’re not going to spill a lot of ink here (spread a lot of bytes?) reporting on the snafu in which a D.C. Beltway public relations/advocacy firm forged letters to a Virginia congressman urging opposition to the recent House-passed Waxman-Markey bill.

It’s simply beneath us to grovel in this gruel (although it’s so danged unreal, and fun, that we retain the option to return to the subject later, perhaps even in a slow-news August moment).

Here’s the back story: The Charlottesville, Va., Daily Progress reports that Congressman Tom Perriello, freshman Democrat, in July got letters from two Charlottesville-based minority groups expressing their opposition to the Waxman-Markey energy security-climate change bill.

Problem is, the newspaper reported, the letters were forged by someone working with a D.C. lobbying firm, Bonner & Associates. Reps from both the Hispanic organization, Creciendo Juntos, and from the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, bemoaned the fake letters.

“It’s the type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy,” the newspaper quoted a Creciendo Juntos representative – a real one, in this case – as saying. (Not to mention underlying one’s faith in D.C. Beltway Bandits!)

The Bonner group reportedly took at tsk-tsk approach to the whole mess, canned the offending individual, and issued apologies. Not everyone bought their line that it was a fluke, just a “mistake,” however, and liberal bloggers had a field day with the gaffe. Congressman Ed Markey, D-Mass, issued a press statement saying the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which he chairs, “will immediately begin an investigation of the extent and scope of this activity.”

So. We won’t be covering it here. Just too bizarre, too sophomoric (no insult intended to the nation’s sophomores) and too blatantly stupid to have been intentional on the part of any savvy inside-the-beltway lobbying group. Let alone, too easy to get caught, as happened in this case, with your hand in the cookie jar.

So you didn’t read it here. (Who ever said that watching legislation get made can’t be fun? Perriello, by the way, supported the bill as part of the slim 219 largely party-line vote.) For those loyal readers still wanting to grovel, however, a few veritable feast links:

“Forged letters to congressman anger local groups”

“Investigation Into Forged Letters Planned” (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

“Firm Forged Letters to Lawmaker on Climate Bill” (AP)

“Lobby Shop Says Ex-Staffer Forged Letter to Lawmaker”

“Naked Activists Respond To Lobbyists’ Forged Anti-Climate Letters to Congress (PHOTOS)” (Huffington Post)

“Lobby Firm Sent Forged Climate Change Letter” (TPM Muckraker)

“Bonner Responds” (TPM Muckraker)

Edward Markey raps lobbying group on forgeries

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