The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal industry lobbying group, responded in writing Thursday evening to questions from Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) about a dozen forged letters that Bonner & Associates sent opposing the House climate change bill on behalf of the group.
But the group refused to make the letter public and declined to say whether it had confirmed that additional letters the firm generated on behalf of the association were also forgeries.
Markey, chairman of the Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee and a co-author of the climate change bill, opened an investigation earlier this month and asked for information
regarding the falsified letters sent to Democratic Reps. Tom Perriello
(Va.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) and Christopher Carney (Pa.) before the
House's June 25 vote on the bill.
All three Members represent conservative, Republican-leaning districts and could be vulnerable in 2010.
The forged correspondence was made to look as if it had come from two
prominent African-American and Hispanic civil rights groups based in
Charlottesville, Va., and asked them to vote against the legislation.
"ACCCE is committed to working with Chairman Markey and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming," ACCCE president and CEO Stephen Miller said in a statement. "Toward that goal, today we submitted responses to questions from the committee in its August 5 letter to ACCCE. It is clear that some additional answers to questions posed by the committee will be forthcoming as ACCCE's internal examination continues."
ACCCE has been reviewing whether any more of the 50 letters Bonner &
Associates were responsible for sending were forged.
Miller declined to publicly release the group's answers "out of respect" for the ongoing investigation.
Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said, "We have received some of the information we requested from Bonner & Associates. We expect both they and ACCCE will provide all the information we have requested."
Markey also sent an inquiry letter to Bonner & Associates. It is unclear if the firm met the Congressman's Aug. 12 deadline for replying. Firm founder Jack Bonner was not immediately available for comment Thursday evening.