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Probe finds more forged lobby firm letters

Aug. 18, 2009 at 9:00 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional investigators said Tuesday they have uncovered five more forged letters sent to Congress regarding energy and climate legislation.

The letters are designed to make recipients think they were sent by senior centers and elderly services organizations, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in a statement.

Markey, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said the five letters released Tuesday bring to 13 the number of fraudulent letters sent by the Washington lobby group Bonner & Associates. The firm was subcontracted by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity to lobby Congress on the recently passed Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill.

The 13 fake letters purport to represent nine different community groups, including the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging; the Charlottesville, Va., NAACP chapter; the Hispanic advocacy group Creciendo Juntos; and the American Association of University Women.

"We've seen fear-mongering with our nation's senior citizens with healthcare, and now we're seeing fraud-mongering with senior citizens on clean energy," Markey said. "Lately, democratic debate has been deceptively debased by fake facts and harsh rhetoric."

Investigators were trying to determine the authenticity of dozens of letters to members of Congress, the statement said.

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