Taking It To a New Level

I’m sort of used to people just making things up in politics these days, but this sort of takes things to a new level:

Freshman Democratic congressman Tom Perriello — whose Virginia district leans Republican — faced a tough decision last month over whether to support the climate change bill. As he was weighing the issue, he got a letter from a non-profit group in his district that focuses on issues of importance to Hispanics. The letter urged Perriello to oppose the bill because it could raise low-income members’ utility bills. “Many of our members are on tight budgets and the sizes of their monthly utility bills are important expense items,” it read in part.

But, reports the Charlottesville Daily Progress, the letter was a fake…

Fabulous.






64 replies
  1. 1
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Oh, I think it’s status quo for the Republicans. I’m reminded of Maryland ’06, where Republicans distributed sample ballots to the black community. The ballots had the names and faces of various local Democrats…and Michael Steele, also identified as a Democrat.

    Slightly different sure, but it’s still just variations on the deception theme.

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    Ah, the smell of newly installed astroturf inside a sterile, monstrous football dome.

    Awesome.

  3. 3
    PeakVT says:

    I see that the astroturf firm has blamed it all on a rogue employee. Who was a temp. Really.

  4. 4

    These people have been making up their own facts and passing them off as if they came from credible organizations for a long time.

    This is just the next logical step.

  5. 5
    gex says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Or the petitions in Maine challenging equal marriage. They’ll have two clipboards, one opposed to equal marriage and one “in support” of equal marriage. Of course, they are both petitions opposed to equal marriage.

    And sadly, there are places, such as Washington state, that are taking this public information and proposing to allow it to be confidential, for fear of the gays attacking anti-marriage opponents.

    I’m sorry, but there seems to be one side of the political spectrum that does this shit more than the other side. And they’re the ones most likely to thump their chests about how great America is while doing everything they can to undermine what makes America great.

    I’m sure others on this blog will say I’m biased, but I honestly don’t think I see the left doing this stuff as blatantly or frequently.

  6. 6
    neil says:

    Right out of the Karl Rove playbook.

  7. 7
    steve s says:

    Tom Perriello is a concern troll. And the non-profit Hispanic group was a group of non-profit concern trolls.

  8. 8
    Faux News says:

    “I see that the astroturf firm has blamed it all on a rogue employee. Who was a temp. Really”.

    Well I for one am very sorry to hear the Paul L. was fired from his temp position. I hope he gets a new job soon.

  9. 9
    David Hunt says:

    Dear Bonner & Associates (the lobbying firm),

    Next time, use a condom.

    Signed, the Rat

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:

    @neil:

    Karl Rove? Hell, Chuck Colson, Roger Stone, Dick Nixon, etc., etc.

  11. 11
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    In the followup story at TPM, the lobbying firm Bonner responds:

    We take our business very seriously. A temporary employee–lied to us–and contrary to our policies sent these letters.

    So the butler temp did it!

    Although temp workers across the nation are well known for disregarding long established practices, showing initiative and using out-of-the-box thinking to make waves and shake up a new workplace, this is a particularly impressive demonstration of entrepreneurial can-do spirit. That temp worker (if they exist) is going to go far.

  12. 12
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    This letter was an obvious fake, not rising far above Chicago-level quality. Everybody in the know recognizes that “Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator”, would never be given the authorization to release a policy paper from the Legal and Justice Center to a lawmaker. The only people authorized to release policy papers from the Legal and Justice Center are guilty white people.

    Here is the man who corrected the record, Tim Freilich.

  13. 13
    JenJen says:

    Speaking of assholes, check out the beer Chris Cilizza and Dana “Dick Whisperer” Milbank picked out for Hillary Clinton: “Mad Bitch Beer.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....01109.html

    I seriously have no idea what these two clowns in smoking jackets are thinking with this little program of theirs.

  14. 14
    Tsulagi says:

    Good to see lobbying firms for R-positions maintaining the same level of honor and integrity that has made that party what it is today.

    Curious whether the Bonner client is pissed at the lobbying firm’s action, or just that they got caught. I’m guessing the latter.

    But don’t think that’s taking making things up in politics to a new level. See Rumsfeld: “We know where the WMDs are.” Now that’s a contender.

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    Give it a rest steve. Nobody gives a shit about your poor hurt little feelings.

  16. 16
    David Hunt says:

    I wonder if companies like Bonner & Associates tell their temporary employee that one of their unofficial duties is to be fired to shield the higher-ups if they ever get caught participating in outright fraud.

    Rhetorical question, of course

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @MikeJ:

    Give it a rest steve. Nobody gives a shit about your poor hurt little feelings.

    I do. I prolly shouldn’t be concerned, but I am. It’s just how I troll.

  18. 18
    Dave C says:

    @JenJen:

    Was just about to comment about this. It should definitely be front-paged.

  19. 19
    gex says:

    @MikeJ: Language police doesn’t like how we use language.

  20. 20
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Hey there is a silver lining in this story – at least the corporate shilling goons are now pretending to be blacks and hispanics, rather than claiming to be lily-white God-fearing Christian folk. I think this is how realignments happen.

  21. 21
    Warren Terra says:

    Tom Piriello is an interesting, impressive guy, the subject of two profiles in The American Prospect in the last year. It’s not surprising that he’d be the one to catch on – given his background, he’s likely got strong ties to the community action groups this lobbyist was spoofing – and it’s not surprising that he’d rub the lobbyist’s nose in it. A comment at the linked TPM post asks about mail fraud prosecution; I’d think this and slander suits would be excellent questions.

    RE “Steve S”: the frequest comments saying he was worried about misuse of the term “concern troll”, appearing apropos of nothing, were either a bit obsessive and weird or a rather amusing sort of meta humor. And I don’t know whether the guy spamming the threads nowadays with “Steve S” comments invoking concern trolls is the same guy continuing the meta joke or is a spoof turning “Steve S”‘s genuine obsession into a meta joke. But it’s getting to be a wee bit old.

  22. 22
    JenJen says:

    @Dave C: No doubt. And, as a trained professional bartender, I’m thinking of creating a drink called “The Dick Whisperer” in homage.

    It’ll taste like shit and nobody will ever order it, or else I wouldn’t be doin’ it right.

  23. 23
    Tonal Crow says:

    Most of what the GOP does is fake. They are the consummate postmodernists, for whom no fact cannot be baldly denied, and no lie cannot be suited in bright, shining armor.

  24. 24
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Your concern has been noted, Warren Terra. If that’s really who you are.

  25. 25
    kansi says:

    With this post and JenJen’s link re: Chris Cilizza and Dana Milbank’s sick comedy hour, I am seriously running out of outrage.

  26. 26
    Legalize says:

    “I seriously have no idea what these two clowns in smoking jackets are thinking with this little program of theirs.”

    I do:

    “There’s a better than average chance we can get on Drudge before the week is through if we act like braying douche-clowns for all the world to see.”

  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    is a spoof turning “Steve S”’s genuine obsession into a meta joke. But it’s getting to be a wee bit old.

    Next you’ll say it’s also JSF is also posting under myriad names asking for cookies. But yeah. Tiresome.

  28. 28
    JenJen says:

    @Legalize:

    “There’s a better than average chance we can get on Drudge before the week is through if we act like braying douche-clowns for all the world to see.”

    This is an excellent point.

  29. 29
    Malum says:

    The most useful part of the story is that it’s given the president of the local NAACP an opportunity to point out to everyone that the ENERGY BILL=JOBS. That’s the message that needs to get out there. So this whole stunt backfired in a big way, whether the truly guilty ever get punished or not.

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    @gex:

    And sadly, there are places, such as Washington state, that are taking this public information and proposing to allow it to be confidential, for fear of the gays attacking anti-marriage opponents.

    That somewhat defeats the purpose of a petition.
    “We’re going to collect 10,000 annoymous sources in support of our program! How’s that for grassroots?”

    If you don’t have the balls to let your opinion be known, it may not be as popular as you originally thought. What’s more, I remember the biggest threats the gay community hurled around were boycotts of anti-gay businesses. Which really just boils this down to what it’s always been about – money.

  31. 31
    Face says:

    @steve s: it’s getting old, fast.

  32. 32
    Calouste says:

    There are two things that would do a whole of a lot towards long term fixing what is wrong with America.

    The first is to make the Senate truly representative (preferably by proportional representation), and not a place for lobbyist to cheaply buy lawmakers from small states.

    The second is a ruling from the Supreme Court that the Founding Fathers never intended lies to be covered by the First Amendment.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    And sadly, there are places, such as Washington state, that are taking this public information and proposing to allow it to be confidential, for fear of the gays attacking anti-marriage opponents.

    My hope is this will help kill the moronic initiative system and send Tim Eyman back to depths from which he crawled.

  34. 34
    Face says:

    as a trained professional bartender

    Professional? Really? With a certificate and a union and all? Never knew.

  35. 35
    JenJen says:

    @Face: Unions! Oh, how I wish. Then maybe the people who prepare and bring you your food at your favorite dining establishment wouldn’t be underpaid, uninsured freelancers. You did know that, right?

  36. 36
    John S. says:

    This letter was an obvious fake, not rising far above Chicago-level quality.

    But when it comes to fake and manufactured bullshit, NOTHING comes close to Brick Oven Bill-level quality.

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    @Calouste:

    The first is to make the Senate truly representative (preferably by proportional representation), and not a place for lobbyist to cheaply buy lawmakers from small states.

    I don’t know about this, to be honest. There is a certain appeal to state-proportioned delegates because a lot of policy gets enacted at a state-by-state level. In many ways, states are their own miniature governments. So it makes a certain degree of sense to have state representatives. And it makes sense to give them equal weight, so that you don’t have high population states putting demands on low population states by volume of votes.

    I would, however, like to see MORE Congresscritters overall. The reason Senators are so cheap to buy is that there are only 100 of them. Increase that number by another 100 and proportion them out by state population, and it’s like doubling the price of gum.

    If we’re talking hypothetical here, I’d like to see our representative bodies inflated a good ten fold. Thousands of house reps, rather than a piddly 435. An even thousand senators. I’d like to see a guy on Capital Hill representing 60k people rather than 600k. And I’d like to see us go to parlimentary style voting, rather than this winner-take-all shit. Rather than having two guys duking it out for that 10% swing vote, get ten or more guys on the ballot and send two or three of them up. Then we don’t have to worry so much about this gerrymandering crap.

    That’s just my take, though.

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:

    JenJen:

    Speaking of assholes, check out the beer Chris Cilizza and Dana “Dick Whisperer” Milbank picked out for Hillary Clinton: “Mad Bitch Beer.”

    I hope every woman in the country see that.

    .

  39. 39
    JGabriel says:

    Zifnab:

    … it makes sense to give [small states] equal weight, so that you don’t have high population states putting demands on low population states by volume of votes.

    As a denizen of a big pop. state, I disagree. I’m sick to death of some Wyoming bigot’s vote being worth 3 times mine.

    .

  40. 40
    Nutella says:

    And everybody, in states big and small, gets at least three more legislators than the District of Columbia does. If we’re going to reform Congress we need to fix that first.

  41. 41
    eric k says:

    Just to be clear, this isn’t astroturfing, that is creating fake grass roots organizations, for the most part the poeple that do it keep it legal by skating right up to the edge, there is legalese fine print to cover them and so on.

    This is outright fraud, they sent letters purporting to be from other organizations, this is clearly a criminal act. And the “the temp did it” excuse shouldn’t get them off the hook, they are repsosnisble for what was done in their name by someone employed by them.

  42. 42

    There is the practice of framing, casting the facts into the best light in regard to your position – and then there is out and out lying. One can choose facts to emphasize or de-emphasize and still maintain some credibility.

    I have no idea why the (R)s have chosen the path they’ve taken; it is an extremely short-term tactic with the potential for huge blow-back and associated costs. It is demonstrably not in a politician’s interest to lie. One only need look back a couple years into the BushCo or other political shambles.

    There is a group that the lies appeal to, but the problem is that those people would be in support anyhow and the ones you need, the undecided or unsure, will blow a gasket if they find out they’ve been walked down the primrose path. One of the first rules of finding yourself in a hole is to stop digging and they’ve brought out the heavy equipment.

    The failure of the media with its parrotting may encourage this behavior and increase the lag time, but historically facts will come out.

  43. 43
    David says:

    Don’t they AND the temp worker agencies keep records of people who work for them?

  44. 44
    Tonal Crow says:

    @John S.:

    But when it comes to fake and manufactured bullshit, NOTHING comes close to Brick Oven Bill-level quality.

    Wham! BAM! POW!

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Kryptik says:

    You know…if they were truly concerned, and felt that their policies were that much better and bills like this were truly destructive…why do they feel the need to lie so damn much in order to bolster opposition?

    And sorry, no one’s buying the ‘temp’ excuse, fellas.

  47. 47
    JenJen says:

    Washington Post appears to have yanked Chris Cillizza and The Dick Whisperer’s “Mad Bitch Beer” segment, but thankfully, Media Matters continues to kick ass:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....038;fmt=22

  48. 48
    David Hunt says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    There is a group that the lies appeal to, but the problem is that those people would be in support anyhow and the ones you need, the undecided or unsure, will blow a gasket if they find out they’ve been walked down the primrose path.

    I think you underestimate how much the conventional media serves conservative ends. As a test, let’s see if this ends up in any of the big papers or onto the network news. I hope that I’m wrong, but I predict that it will simply fall down the memory hole.

    And even if it get made into a big media circus, the odds of any criminal charges (much less a conviction) from Bonner’s flagrant mail-fraud make the chances of media coverage look cheery.

    I shouldn’t get depressed about this stuff. I knew that Obama’s election wasn’t going to fix everything even if he was a saint and not-at-all tempted by all the Bush Assertions of absolute power and secrecy.

  49. 49
    David Hunt says:

    @David Hunt:

    Arrgh. There appears to be some sort of problem with blockqoute. The first paragraph of my prior post should have been blocked as a quote from Chuck Butcher.

  50. 50
    28 Percent says:

    John Cole if that is your real name you do not “get it” just because the Junta said they did not send the letter you should not just automatically believe it is true. If they could be trusted they would of sent the letter that they say they did not because that would have been the right thing to do for theyre members. Maybe they do not care about there members though and I do not know why they want to reduce the costs because they probably do not pay taxes anyway. But you should not believe everything you read just because it is their and you like it also. THINK FOR YOURSELVES!

  51. 51
    JenJen says:

    Deep Thought: What’s with all the trollage?

  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    Why is the moral, ethical republican party, so unethical and immoral?

  53. 53
    Napoleon says:

    @JenJen:

    It seems to me its not just here, and I think not unrelatedly town hall meetings held by Democratic congress people are now being overrun by the 28% who have been disrupting them.

  54. 54
    neil says:

    @Napoleon: I don’t disagree – this sort of thing has a long pedigree, and Rove certainly had mentors (Lee Atwater) – but I was specifically thinking of the part about actually lifting somebody’s letterhead and writing spurious stuff and distributing it as the words of someone else.

    I think he was a Young Republican at the time.

  55. 55
    liberal says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    I’m reminded of Maryland ‘06, where Republicans distributed sample ballots to the black community.

    Yes, but my god, it was even worse than that. They hired homeless people from somewhere (IIRC Philly or B’more), bussed them in (on election day, I think), and had them hand the stuff out.

    That Ehrlich is still implicitly viewed as a respectable politician by the Washington Post (instead of a laughingstock) after that incident is just amazing.

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    @eric k:

    This is outright fraud, they sent letters purporting to be from other organizations, this is clearly a criminal act.

    How is it a criminal act? I could maybe see an argument that they could be sued in civil court by the orgs they impersonated, but I don’t see what crime was committed here.

  57. 57
    Calouste says:

    @Zifnab:

    Multi-representative districts is another option I like. It would make gerrymandering far less of a problem. And at a minimum it would make incumbency less of a problem, because there would always be a second or a third person from the same party representing the district, so the voters have choice between say a Blue Dog and a progressive Democrat or a Club for Growther and a relatively sane Republican, rather than the binary choice they get now. And it would probably also make third parties more viable.

  58. 58
    JenJen says:

    @Napoleon:

    It seems to me its not just here, and I think not unrelatedly town hall meetings held by Democratic congress people are now being overrun by the 28% who have been disrupting them.

    Oh, that? Yeah. More coming from the Teabaggers in August. Planned disruptions, literally:

    http://politics.theatlantic.co.....august.php

  59. 59
    JohnR says:

    “They hired homeless people from somewhere (IIRC Philly or B’more), bussed them in (on election day, I think), and had them hand the stuff out.”

    As I recall, they were hired primarily from Philly. Well, when I say “hired”, I don’t mean actually “paid to politic”, because that would be so very wrong, especially by the party that has piously protested the old Democratic machine’s practice of handing out “walking around” money. No, what happened was that they were given money by the Ehrlich campaign’s many private supporters, then given misleading and fraudulent pamphlets by the Ehrlich campaign’s many private supporters, given a free bus tour that ended in lovely Baltimore on election day, and given time to wander around near polling places to see the sights. If they happened, purely as private citizens, to give (as a personal gift) their voting information to African-American voters of every political persuasion, that was their right as American citizens of African descent not connected with any campaign.
    This being Baltimore, the offense was more that Ehrlich’s campaign was being run by idiots than that it was actually bending, if not breaking, the laws dealing with political operations.
    Anyway, as a Baltimorean and Marylander, I have to say that I’m proud that we have sent Alan Keyes and Michael Steele on to the national stage. They haven’t yet managed to measure up to the titanic stature of our own Ted Agnew in the eyes of the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity, but we have hopes.
    Well, this should correct the ‘cookie’ problem and let me better see the site myself.
    Oh, and I should give a big shout-out to BOB; I’m out of beer and was looking forward to a dry and depressing evening, but thanks to BOB’s sparkling, Lucky-charms-flavored opinionating, I now feel as if I have just had a heaping helping of fly agaric or some other fine hallucinogenic fungus. God bless you, BOB!

  60. 60

    I can see this idea catching on.

    The Birfer conspiracy-mongering? That was a temp.

    That numberless budget document? A temp.

    Picking Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate? Temp.

    etc.

  61. 61

    How is it a criminal act? I could maybe see an argument that they could be sued in civil court by the orgs they impersonated, but I don’t see what crime was committed here.

    Mail fraud. You’d be amazed how broad that law is.

  62. 62
    eric k says:

    J Michael beat me to it,

    It is mail fraud.

    The organizations they impersonated can also sue them and should.

  63. 63
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @28 Percent:

    John Cole if that is your real name you do not “get it” just because the Junta said the

    You’re no funnier than “steve s”.

  64. 64
    sparky says:

    @Comrade Kevin: accept no substitutes for gen-u-wine BOB.

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