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Congressman receives forged letters urging "no" vote on climate bill

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Like many of his colleagues, freshman Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) received thousands of letters, emails, and faxes about the American Climate and Energy Security Act (a.k.a. the Waxman-Markey climate bill). That’s nothing unexpected in and of itself. But it turns out that some of those letters were appalling forgeries.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress, which broke the story, reports that an unnamed employee (now ex-employee, supposedly) of a D.C. lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates sent a letter to Rep. Perriello from a non-existent employee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit group that works with the Charlottesville, VA hispanic community. The letter, which included the nonprofit’s logo, urged Perriello to vote "no" on the legislation.

Five similar letters were faxed to Rep. Perriello from the Arlington, VA headquarters of Professional Risk Management Services Inc. The letters, which came from five individuals claiming to be members of the Albemarle-Charlottesville branch of the NAACP, were also forgeries.

Representatives from Creciendo Juntos and the local NAACP branch were rightfully outraged by the faked letters, and my guess is that the outrage won’t stop there. This story, coupled with the unprecedented lobbying efforts coming from industry, illuminates the contentious debate that this legislation has stoked. At the very least, one hopes that forgeries like these aren’t a more pervasive problem than has already been reported.

Sam Edmondson was a campaign manager on air toxics issues from 2010 until 2012. He helped organize the first 50 States United for Healthy Air event. His desire to work at an environmental organization came from the belief that if we don't do something to change our unsustainable ways, we are in big trouble.