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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

August 3, 2009

David Willett, 202.675.6698
Josh Dorner, 202.679.7570


Is Coal Behind Forged Letters?
Sierra Club Urges Department of Justice

to Initiate Criminal Probe of Bonner & Associates

Washington, D.C.—In response to reports indicating that Washington, D.C. lobbying firm Bonner & Associates sent forged letters in opposition to comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, Sierra Club today formally urged the Department of Justice to open a criminal probe.  In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sierra Club lays out possible violations of federal criminal law and requests that a formal investigation.  

Print ads highlighting the controversy will also appear in Roll Call, The Hill, CongressDaily, Politico, and Congressional Quarterly on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Late this afternoon the coal industry group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity issued a statement acknowledging a relationship with Bonner but denouncing any potentially illegal activity.  Thinkprogress also has evidence of more possible fake letters opposed to the bill arriving in other congressional offices.  

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

"We believe the allegations against Bonner and Associates are so serious that they merit immediate investigation by the Department of Justice.  These kind of dirty tricks have no place in our democracy.  Bonner needs to come clean about what they did and be held accountable.  Both the coal industry's ACCCE and Bonner have denounced the sneaky tactics and firmly placed blame elsewhere.  It is clear that the Department of Justice and Congress may be the only ones can really figure out who is responsible for these dirty tricks.

"Big Oil, Big Coal and other special have already spent more than $100 million to kill a comprehensive clean energy jobs and climate plan.  By faking these letters, Bonner and the special interests they represent admit that an army of lobbyists and hundreds of millions of dollars still can’t overcome real grassroots power.  This just proves we need to redouble our efforts to demonstrate how much real support there is for clean energy jobs.

"We applaud Chairman Markey for calling on Bonner to come clean.  We urge the Justice Department to also investigate this matter."

Sierra Club Letter to DOJ



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