FORGED

Lobbying Firm Faked Letter to Lawmaker

Why lobby Congress yourself when you can make up fake people to do it for you? That's what an ex-staffer at the Washington lobby shop Bonner & Associates did. This week, the firm discovered that an ex-employee forged a letter from a Latino social-service group to Rep. Tom Perriello, urging the Virginia Democrat to make changes in a bill capping greenhouse-gas emissions. The letter used the letterhead of Creciendo Juntos, a Charlottesville-based group, The Washington Post reports. "We are concerned about our electric bills," it read, requesting "pro-consumer" changes. In an email, the lobby shop's founder Jack Bonner wrote: "A temporary employee—lied to us—and contrary to our policies sent these letters...This should not have happened—we had a bad employee—but through our internal checks, we found the problem, and on our own initiative took the step to notify the affected group." Perriello's office also reportedly received five letters containing very similar language that claimed to be from members of the Charlottesville branch of the NAACP—but when Perriello's office checked with the NAACP chapter, none of the names matched with real members.