Shameless Front Group Plans More Astroturf

After its public relations firm was outed for sending fake letters opposing the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill to members of Congress, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is expanding its "grassroots" outreach. The coal industry front group "is launching a $1 million campaign" to secure more concessions for coal in the Senate version of the climate change bill. The campaign "will use 225,000 volunteers dubbed 'America's Power Army,'" reports Greenwire. "They will visit town hall meetings, fairs and other functions attended by members of Congress and ask questions about energy policy." The campaign will focus on Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and other states where ACCCE thinks Senators might be supportive. Coal industry employees will ask potential "Power Army" members "if they want information or T-shirts or would be interested in asking a question at a town hall meeting." The new ACCCE campaign will be run by the Hawthorn Group, a public relations firm that earlier worked with Bonner & Associates, the firm behind the fake letters to Congress. Virginia Representative Tom Perriello, who received the most fake letters, reports that his staff have found even more ACCCE forgeries, purporting to be from the Jefferson Area Board for Aging and the American Association of University Women, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress.