A while back, Chris asked, "Is FishScam.com a scam?" The short answer is Yes, but there’s more to the story.

As a couple of readers pointed out, FishScam is one of many projects of the Center for Consumer Freedom. This SourceWatch page on the CCF is good background. I’ve also written a little on how the CCF is a background player in the recent "eco-terrorism" scare.

Today, Carl Pope wonders how and why Richard Berman, the driving force behind CCF, seems suddenly flush with cash, buying full-page ads in the New Yorker defending mercury in fish and full-page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post bashing organized labor. These ads are not cheap, to say the least.

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You should read the whole post, but the nut of Pope’s theory is that it’s tied to the departure of Tom DeLay and the general crumbling of the Republican power structure in Washington:

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My own guess is that Abramoff’s guilty plea, DeLay’s departure, and Berman’s sudden wealth are connected. For years, corporate polluters could simply get their business done in Congress by having Jack Abramoff take members of Congress like DeLay on golf trips. Now that the junket strategy has run into trouble, the polluters are back in full public-relations mode, trying to discredit physicians, public health groups, environmentalists, and workers’ advocates. Their hope: That we’ll have no more credibility with the public than their departed Hammer, Tom DeLay, does.

If it’s true, we can expect a flurry of flimflam in coming months. Keep your eyes peeled and let me know if you see anything.