I am sure by now that you have seen the disruptions of town hall meetings throughout the country (unless of course you don’t read the paper, blogs or the only TV news you watch is on ESPN). What has been an integral part of the American democratic process for over two centuries devolves into nothing but a contest to see who can yell the loudest or the longest or both without really making a point. It’s all over the news media. Something you may have missed however and something that I feel completely undermines the political and democratic process in this country and is far more serious than a handful of folks with the capacity to yell loudly, something that should have all of us outraged…
As reported by the New York Times and others, a firm working for the lobbyist group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) forged a dozen letters from various community organizations and sent them to members of congress. These letters included the community organization’s name and logo and purported to speak on behalf of the organization’s membership. These letters urged the members of congress to vote against the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Forged Letters! One of the fundamentals of democracy is that our representatives in Washington are just that, OUR representatives. Through letters, phone calls and emails, our representatives gain an understanding of how we, their constituents, feel on any given matter. Forged Letters!
Now, the ACCCE is outraged that a subcontractor to one of its vendors committed such a heinous act. So outraged that they waited over a month to own up to the forgery and then didn’t own up to it until after it was uncovered by the press. So outraged in fact that they basically washed their hands of the situation and accepted no responsibility except to point a finger at the subcontractor of the subcontractor. So outraged in fact that when they learned of the fraud on June 24 TWO DAYS BEFORE Congress was to vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act they did NOTHING! It is interesting to note, that two of the three Representatives that received these letters voted against the bill.
As I’ve stated in previous postings, I am not a lawyer but let me show you the definition of “Mail Fraud”, a felony.
MAIL FRAUD – 18 U.S.C. 1341, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to use the United States mails in carrying out a scheme to defraud.
A person can be found guilty of that offense only if all of the following facts are proved: First: That the person knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises; and Second: That the person used the United States Postal Service by mailing, or by causing to be mailed, some matter or thing for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud.
In addition the False Statements Accountability Act states:
The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, amending 18 U.S.C. § 1001, makes it a crime knowingly and willfully: (1) to falsify, conceal or cover up a material fact by trick, scheme or device; (2) to make any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) to make or use any false writing or document knowing it to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of the Legislative, Executive, or Judicial branch. The False Statements Accountability Act does not assign any responsibilities to the Clerk and Secretary.
I would think someone needs to go to jail over this. I, for one, certainly feel defrauded and frankly violated. Congressman Markey, one of the authors of the American Clean Energy & Security Act, has expressed deep concern over these forgeries and is demanding some answers from the subcontractor. Other groups are urging the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the matter.
We need to take action! I urge you to join me in expressing outrage and in taking back one of our fundamental rights of democracy, the right to have our voices heard.
Please write to Attorney General Eric Holder and encourage him to investigate this matter and hold all the parties responsible, not just the subcontractor to the subcontractor. You can write to Mr. Holder at:The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Attorney General US Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC 20530-0001
Next write to the Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives and ask them to investigate this as a violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act and to revoke the registration of the ACCCE to lobby in the House.Office of the Clerk US House of Representatives B-106 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Then write to your respective congressmen or congresswomen and urge them to raise the voices and express their outrage.
Finally, write to Stephen Miller the President and CEO of ACCCE and express your outrage to him. Ask him to accept responsibility for those that were under contract to his firm. Ask him why he failed to notify congress the minute he learned of the forgery. You can contact Mr. Miller at:Mr. Stephen Miller 333 John Carlyle Street Suite 530 Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Of course, when you do send these letters you might need to provide 3 or 4 pieces of ID so that they know it’s really you! Or on second thought, why don’t I just write some letters and sign your name…you wouldn’t mind…would you?