Astroturf lobbyist Jack Bonner will testify tomorrow in front of a Congressional panel investigating the forged letters his firm sent this summer, according to a witness list for the hearing obtained by TPMmuckraker. Also testifying will be Steve Miller, the CEO of the coal industry group that had hired Bonner to gin up opposition to climate-change legislation.
This summer, Bonner & Associates sent forged letters to several lawmakers, urging them to oppose the legislation. The letters, sent on behalf of Bonner’s client, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, purported to come from local minority, senior, women, and veterans groups. Bonner has blamed the letters on a temporary employee, but as we’ve shown, his firm’s modus operandi makes such occurrences all but inevitable.
The legislation narrowly passed the House in June.
The other witnesses at tomorrow’s hearing, which was announced yesterday by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, are Lisa Maatz, of the American Association of University Women, and Hilary Shelton of the NAACP. Forged letters were sent on the letterheads of both groups.
The Charlottesville Daily Progress reported yesterday that Rep. Tom Perriello, one of the three lawmakers who received forged letters, will also testify.
There have been calls for a criminal mail fraud investigation of Bonner’s firm, but the Justice Department has not said it’s probing the case.