American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), an alliance of coal and utility companies, hired Alexandria, Va.-based Hawthorn Group for the new effort. Hawthorn worked for the coal group earlier this year, coordinating outreach on the House climate bill. During that project, Hawthorn subcontractor Bonner & Associates sent at least three members of Congress a total of 12 fraudulent letters purporting to be from groups opposed to the legislation.
It gets worse. Enter "America's Power Army," a group of 225,000 alleged volunteers who will be storming town halls and other community forums with a pro-coal agenda.
But much about the identity of the volunteers and how they operate is hidden from public view, said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a watchdog group.
"These public policy debates are too important to have the outcomes hinge on these fake AstroTurf campaigns" that employ "guerilla tactics," Slocum said. "We're all just left guessing what entities are doing and how lawmakers are influenced by what may be a very corporate-run campaign."
Lawmakers, as well, Slocum said, need to know whether concerns they are hearing in their districts and states are organic "or whether it's being orchestrated by hired guns working for the coal industry." full article
And since Obama tries to hide his secret meetings with the coal industry, I have to get a little Thomas Friedman:
"Attention all young Americans: Your climate future is being decided right now in the cloakrooms of the Capitol, where the coal lobby holds huge sway....Play hardball or don't play at all."
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