Image: Sierra Club's Liar Liar--Pants on Fire Campaign
Environmental issues are usually treated pretty seriously -- as they should be; we're facing some serious problems -- but that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun, from time to time, with the otherwise oh-so-serious issue of astroturfing -- the business of faking grassroots activism. Meet our "Liar Liar--Pants on Fire" campaign.
Clean Coal Lobby: Up to It's Old Tricks, Again
You'll recall the news that broke last week about Bonner & Associates -- a lobbying firm subcontracted by another lobbying firm of (I know, confusing) the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) -- faxing forged letters to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and others in Congress in an attempt to make them believe that Hispanic and African-American organizations in their districts opposed the House climate change and energy bill.
After the news broke, Sierra Club attorneys sent what has become a much-publicized letter to the Department of Justice, urging an inquiry into the matter. Our legal director, Patrick Gallagher, suggested that the DOJ investigate Bonner & Associates for wire fraud- defined under U.S. law as a "scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises" using electronic communication (in this case, a fax machine). It is punishable by fine and/or up to 20 years in prison. We also ran an ad in various venues, pointing out some other forged "peers" of the scoundrels involved in this campaign.
Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and a co-author of the climate bill with fellow Democrat Henry Waxman of California, is also asking questions. He wrote letters to both ACCCE and Bonner & Associates asking for the truth behind the forged letters and their other lobbying practices.
Can Big Coal Come Clean?
Here's the thing: Maybe Big Coal - the group behind the ACCCE - doesn't know how to come clean. To show the industry that it's really not that hard, we've launched a campaign called "Pants on Fire" where we give
you the opportunity to confess to a whopper of a lie from your past that you now regret. Show Big Coal how it's done! Folks have already come clean about some amazing stuff -- like dropping out of college but telling the folks they're still in school, the real reason for breaking up with a girlfriend, the true cause of that car accident of long ago...
Post your lie to the wall and you could win $1,000,000! Whoops, there we go again -- no cash prizes, but you might get a prevarication-themed book, DVD, or board game. One participant already won a copy of the "Liar Liar" DVD. Balderdash, anyone?