NWF Leads Call for Polluter Lobby Fraud Investigation

Tip Line Launched to Blow Whistle on Lobbying Fraud

09-03-2009 // Tony Ialonardo

In July investigators discovered that energy companies used forged letterhead from the AAUW (American Association of University Women) and chapters of NAACP to send letters to Congress criticizing new energy legislation, and in one case used the name of a deceased AAUW member. As an increasing number of fraudulent tactics came to light in the following weeks, NWF got serious about rooting out industry bad behavior and launched a fraud whistleblower line.

Together with AAUW, NAACP, Center for American Progress Action Fund and Sierra Club, NWF urged citizens to blow the whistle on deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal tactics being perpetrated by big polluters and their lobbyists to strike down clean energy innovation.

Adam Kolton, senior director, congressional and federal affairs at the National Wildlife Federation, said during the launch: "The hotline we have launched will help people fight back against big polluters and their lobbyists."

According to news reports, a contractor for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity sent more than a dozen forged and fraudulent letters to members of Congress in opposition to the American Clean Energy and Security Act. ACCCE and its contractor, Bonner and Associates, are now under investigation by the House Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence.

Citizens calling 866-363-4648 will have the option of reporting if they themselves were a victim of a forged letter or have knowledge of one; if they have knowledge of or witnessed an event staged by the American Petroleum Institute or oil and coal interests under the guise of being a true citizen-grassroots event; if they were coerced to attend such an event or denied access to one; if they are energy company employees or contractors and want to leave a tip about unethical or possible illegal activity or if they want to report other instances of fraud or deceptive tactics including misleading ads, mailing, or calls they may have received.

“Between the fake letters to Congress and a recently leaked American Petroleum Institute memo urging its member companies to have their employees masquerade as concerned “energy citizens” at events closed to actual citizens it’s becoming increasingly clear that additional steps need to be taken to ensure that a fair, open and honest debate takes place on the clean energy jobs bill," Kolton said.

Citizens can also e-mail tips@polluterfraud.com to report suspicious activity.