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Larry Sabato's Hairpiece

I'm confused. The article said a DC grasstops firm, Bonner and Associates, sent the letters, not a VA GOPer. Am I missing something?

Not Larry Sabato

The mystery would be in who was fired... :) Don't ruin me dragging this out!

Larry Sabato's Hairpiece

Got it!

Gnarly

What about this is racist? It's stupid....it's fraud....but what is racist?

DanielK

Because typically the NAACP is a supporter of many Democratic initiatives and if the public believed that the NAACP of all organizations weren't behind this bill then it would have a substantially more significant impact than if if came from any other group.

NotKen

An examination of lobbyist disclosure forms filed with the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives shows that Bonner & Associates did not register to lobby on behalf of any company or organization against the cap-and-trade bill.

Maybe it was Professor Gates.

LAS

Firing some poor scapegoat really isn't enough, IMHO. Isn't this sort of thing illegal? Or merely actionable?

DanielK

Unless there is some obscure law that no one really ever enforces I don't believe there is one. I mean it would be different if it involved money or on official government issued letter head or something but I can't really think of anything off the top of my head.

DanielK

Here is the closest thing I could find:
ยง 1342. Fictitious name or address

Whoever, for the purpose of conducting, promoting, or carrying on by means of the Postal Service, any scheme or device mentioned in section 1341 of this title or any other unlawful business, uses or assumes, or requests to be addressed by, any fictitious, false, or assumed title, name, or address or name other than his own proper name, or takes or receives from any post office or authorized depository of mail matter, any letter, postal card, package, or other mail matter addressed to any such fictitious, false, or assumed title, name, or address, or name other than his own proper name, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

That's probably the closest thing they could charge someone with.

Gnarly

I really don't understand your twisted logic here.

When you have a headline like "Racist Virginia Republicans Strike Again", you probably would want to have something to back it up.

What you have now is some low level staffer for a grasstops firm who mocked up some letters. Since these firms pay people for each letter on someone's official letterhead submitted to targeted members of Congress on any given bill, I'm betting it was a scam to score some bucks and had nothing to do with race.

Did anyone call the voter fraud committed by ACORN racism? No, it was just voter fraud.

Brian

Oh, good grief, Benny. You know that this DC lobbyist is Virginian, a Republican, and a racist just how exactly?

kelley in virginia

you know, i read about this in the a.m. my initial reaction (and boy, will this piss off you Perriello lovers): that his vote on cap 'n trade was beginning to fester with his constituency & he better make it look like he was tricked into supporting it by the NAACP forgery.

Brian W. Schoeneman

Politico had this earlier as well, an hispanic group got faked as well. Looks like someone at Bonner was cutting corners and didn't realize that those advocacy letters actually mean something.

James Young

This is beneath you, Ben.

"The person who sent the letter has not been identified...."

And as I recall, plenty of Democrats voted against "Cap and Tax," and quite a few had their arms twisted.

Dan

Brian,

If you believe that this incident is not standard operating procedure for Bonner and is instead the result of a rogue "temp" employee "cutting corners" then I have some swampland in Florida I'd like to sell you. Jack Bonner has a long history of this kind of thing.

And this is not the first time he has used the "we fired the employee who was doing those awful things that are (wink,wink) against our policies" line. Although I suppose that isn't as scummy as the flippant remark he made about the First Amendment when he was called on some of his bullshit in the past.

It doesn't matter where one stands politically. We should all recognize this as a threat to our democracy.

Jack Bonner is a lying piece of shit. He belongs in a jail cell.

I'm not a lawyer, but would this possibly apply?

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1001.html

And he says that since his firm does not directly lobby Congress he isn't required to disclose who his clients are. But it seems to me that since his firm is sending this stuff directly to Congressmen it is a bit of a strech to say he isn't directly lobbying Congress.

It would be nice if someone had the stones to prosecute this guy. It might help restore the faith of folks of all political persuasions in the political process.

It shouldn't be up to the organizations whose names were used by him in perpetrating his fraud to sue this bastard. It should be a criminal matter.

NoVA Scout

The most I can glean from news accounts is that the Bonner group has confirmed that someone in their employ (now terminated) concocted the item. I can't find anywhere support for NLS's screaming headline about "Racist Republicans." That kind of thing just makes its author seem unhinged.

Brian W. Schoeneman

Dan, I'm familiar with Bonner but I've never worked with folks from that organization. Having done a few grassroots campaigns on the hill, I know the last thing I would ever do would be to fake a letter.

As a grasstops firm, he doesn't have to register as a lobbyist because he's not directly contacting Congress. This loophole was left in the latest lobbying reform because if they closed it, there would have been all kinds of unintended consequences.

That being said, I don't think there's anyway to prosecute him. The language in subsection C of 1001 makes it clear that for legislative jurisdiction, it has to be linked to an investigation, administrative matters, or documents required by law. This was just an advocacy letter, so there's no crime there.

Tom Paine

Please, this so called "grass tops" lobbying typically is a fraudulent activity; the proper name is really astro-turf lobbying because it, like astro-turf isw just fake grass!

Spock

My question is why were the faxes coming from:
Professional Risk Management Services, Inc.

?????????????????????

They are an Arlington based insurance underwriting firm on Wilson Blvd.

Something is beginning to smell like rotten tea bags ...

Rtwng Extrmst

Man caught jaywalking in Arlington...

Ben's headline: "Racist VA Republican walkers strike again!"

truthnjustice

It isn't necessarily racist, but it is fraudulent and criminal in nature and almost certainly sponsored by the right wing or their industry allies

Spock

The racist element is that they specifically forged letters from minority advocacy groups.

No, it's not the same as burning a cross on someone's lawn, but it shows a certain mentality who would assume those groups don't have the strong enough connection to the congressman where this won't be noticed.


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