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Friday, July 31, 2009

 
Astroforging

by dday

Creating fake grassroots organizations to show presumed local support for typically corporate initiatives is known as astroturfing. Corporate lobbies forging letters from local groups to show that same fake support should be called... I don't know, astroforging?

As U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello was considering how to vote on an important piece of climate change legislation in June, the freshman congressman’s office received at least six letters from two Charlottesville-based minority organizations voicing opposition to the measure.

The letters, as it turns out, were forgeries.

“They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter and sent it to our congressman without our authorization,” said Tim Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community. “It’s this type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy.”

The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by “Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator,” an identity and position at Creciendo Juntos that do not exist.

The person who sent the letter has not been identified, but he or she was employed by a Washington lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates.


Staffers found five forged letters of this type, including one from the local chapter of the NAACP, just in Perriello's correspondence. So you know there are lots more. This seems like the uncovering of a scam that's been going on for years. In fact, this company, Bonner & Associates, has been at this for decades. Ed Markey wants an investigation from his perch in the Global Warming subcommittee.

Obviously the power of lobbyists has grown so much to become completely divorced from the Constitutional dictate of petitioning government for redress of grievances. In addition to writing legislation, owning political campaigns and having politicians jump in and out of their companies, lobby shops more recently have taken to these deceptive techniques of aping grassroots activity. They have funded and supported the teabaggers, and they're now offering training sessions on how to approach Congressional town hall meetings during the August recess.

• Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

• Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

• Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”


They are busing people around the country to different town halls. Sound like the Brooks Brothers riots to you? Members of Congress somehow still think these meetings reflect the considered opinions of constituents. They should look at Tom Perriello's mail.


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