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Rachel Maddow, Ed Markey Discuss Lobbyist Fraudsters

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On last night's Rachel Maddow Show, she focused attention on two lobbying firms that have recently taken a turn in the baleful eye of the spotlight: shady, letter-forging Bonner and Associates, and the clean-coal mavens at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity -- whose CEO perjured himself while offering testimony before the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee. Keep in mind, it would not be right to refer to anybody from either of these organizations as a "K Street whore" -- Bonner is headquartered at 17th and L, and ACCCE is in Alexandria. Got to get this stuff right.

Maddow was joined by Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to discuss the goings on. The good news, obviously, is that Bonner's fraud did not founder any legislation. The bad news is that anyone who thirsts for accountability is likely to be disappointed:

MADDOW: Is defrauding congress a prosecutable offense? What can happen to the Coal Coalition, to the subcontractor, to Bonner and Associates for having done this?

MARKEY: Well, I don't know that, but my own feeling is that I do have a responsibility to ensure that there is a spotlight placed upon this legislation because now the senate is taking up the counterpart legislation to Waxman-Markey and that is the Kerry-Boxer bill. And I want to make sure that this is a debate that takes place on the facts. The planet is running a fever. There are no emergency rooms for planets, and we have to take action in order to give global leadership, create the green jobs and back out the imported oil, and we won't be able to do that if we have a fraud perpetrated on the senate the way it was in the House, because that vote in the Senate is going to be very close.

MADDOW: In addition to them getting sort of caught having done this in the House, this goes to the larger issue whether or not this is an ongoing strategy. this is an ongoing way, this is the types of tactics the coal industry and other people opposed to global warming are going to use to try to defeat it. To that end, it's been reported late this afternoon that one of the people testifying today from the Coal Coalition may have committed perjury in your hearing today. He said our organization has never opposed the climate change legislation, the Waxman-Markey bill. I don't think that's true. Is it possible that the committee will be looking further into today's testimony? Could there be perjury prosecutions?

MARKEY: Again, I don't know if that's the case, and it would be premature for me to make any judgment. But the reality is that there was opposition to the legislation. In one of these instances, by the way, one of the letters that was sent was -- it was of a deceased woman of a defunct chapter of the American Association of University Women that was sent to congressman in Virginia who they felt could be persuaded to vote against the legislation, Tom Perriello. He did vote for the legislation, but that just goes to show the extent to which some people would be willing to go in order to block this historic energy, clean energy legislation.

Well, it stands to reason that this sort of legislative subversion will continue, forever, if there are no consequences for defrauding the legislature.

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