Among the forged anti-climate letters that found their way to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) earlier this summer was a message purporting to be from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). One can only assume that the coal-funded astroturfer who faked the letter worried that the etters he forged from minority groups wouldn’t get Perriello’s attention. It’s a given fact among conservatives, after all, that liberal Democrats always pay more attention to elites from the ivory tower than regular folk, and Perriello’s district does contain Mr. Jefferson’s University of Virginia.

No surprise that the AAUW wasn’t too pleased. On Thursday evening, AAUW issued a statement condemning the letters as “blatant fraud” and “outright deceit.”  The group noted that it has never taken a position one way or another on climate and energy policy.

AAUW focuses on “pay equity, family-friendly workplaces and education,” said Executive Director Linda D. Hallman. Moreover, as the group told the Washington Post, it doesn’t even have a branch in Charlottesville (UVA’s home), from which the letter was supposedly sent.

Perhaps Bonner & Associates/Hawthorn/the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity should hire employees more adroit with “the Google.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Here’s the full statement issued by AAUW:

“AAUW has been victimized by an act of blatant fraud. We have been informed, and confirmed with our Virginia affiliate, that an agent of Bonner & Associates – through its work with the Hawthorne Group and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – forged one or more letters from AAUW to members of Congress. Other well-known organizations were similarly targeted. The goal was to further the coal industry’s lobbying efforts against the Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the ‘cap and trade’ legislation.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“Energy policy is not a topic on which AAUW advocates. We are best known for playing a leading role in some of the nation’s greatest public policy success stories in the areas of pay equity, family-friendly workplaces and education.

“This incident constitutes outright deceit and demonstrates a breathtaking lack of ethics. AAUW greatly resents having been portrayed in false lights, and sympathizes with the other organizations that have been victims of this outrageous act. We also fully support Rep. Edward J. Markey’s investigation into this matter. When members of Congress receive a letter from AAUW and its members, they should feel confident that they are being contacted by real people committed to the principles of our great democracy and the mission of AAUW. Cynical and premeditated lies have no place in public policy debates.”