Not so fast…
This morning’s hearing, at which astroturf lobbyist Jack Bonner was scheduled to testify about the forged letters sent by his firm to lawmakers, has been postponed a week.Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the ranking Republican on the Select Committee For Energy Independence and Global Warming, complained at the outset that he hadn’t had 48 hours to read witnesses’ testimony. In response, Chair Ed Markey announced the postponement.
“In the interests of fairness, [Markey] decided to postpone the hearing so all sides could review the testimony,” said Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder.
“I think the chair did the right thing and I salute him for it,” said Sensenbrenner.
Spokespeople for the committee declined to say which testimony Sensenbrenner didn’t have in time, saying that witnesses “from both sides” had submitted statements after the 48-hour-rule window. But they confirmed Bonner only agreed yesterday to appear, and said that the witnesses whose testimony Sensenbrenner felt he didn’t have enough time to review included “people on the fraud side.”
The other witnesses are from groups whose names were forged on the letters, and, according to one report, Rep. Tom Perriello, who received several of the letters.
The letters, sent by Bonner’s firm on behalf of a coal-industry client and purporting to be from community groups, urged lawmakers to oppose climate change legislation. Bonner has blamed the episode on a temporary employee.
Reporting by TPMDC’s Evan McMorris-Santoro