Witnesses Named for Hearing on Forged Letters

Posted October 14, 2009 at 11:59am

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee and a co-author of the cap-and-trade bill, named the four witnesses that will testify at an investigative hearing Thursday morning on forged letters sent to Congress on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.Jack Bonner, founder of Bonner & Associates, whose firm allegedly falsified letters on behalf of the ACCCE, will testify along with ACCCE President and CEO Steve Miller.Markey is also calling the heads of two organizations that were made to look as though they had sent the letters. Lisa Maatz, director of public policy and government relations at the American Association of University Women, and Hilary Shelton, NAACP senior vice president for advocacy and policy and director of the Washington, D.C., bureau.The hearing, which will focus on the forged letters, will also more broadly address the practice of AstroTurf, which refers to paid grass-roots efforts.Markey opened an investigation into the letters this summer.A temporary employee of Bonner & Associates allegedly falsified the letters on behalf of the ACCCE.The correspondence was sent to Democratic Reps. Tom Perriello (Va.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) and Christopher Carney (Pa.) before the House’s June 25 vote on the bill.The forged letters were made to look as if they had come from a Charlottesville, Va., NAACP chapter, the Hispanic advocacy organization Creciendo Juntos, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, the nonprofit Erie Center on Health & Aging and the American Association of University Women.ACCCE spokeswoman Lisa Miller said in a statement that the organization believes falsified letters have “no place in the public dialogue regarding public policy, and we are fully committed to ensuring that our education and advocacy programs adhere to the highest standards of integrity.—“Toward that goal, ACCCE has cooperated fully with the Select Committee’s investigation into this matter, and look forward to participating in Thursday’s hearing to get the facts of this matter clearly before the interested public,— she added.