"News broke on Friday that the American Petroleum Institute is urging member companies to recruit their employees, retirees, vendors, and contractors to attend 'Energy Citizen' events across the country over the August congressional recess. Today, we have some updates to the story:
It's not just energy interests backing the astroturf efforts; major conservative and anti-tax groups are jumping in. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are both part of the coalition, and API tells TPMMuckraker that its campaign is funded by a variety of corporate and conservative groups --including 60 Plus, FreedomWorks, the American Conservative Union, National Taxpayers Union, and Americans for Tax Reform.
The groups' astroturf campaign focuses on 21 states that have 'a significant industry presence' or 'assets on the ground.' American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard wrote in a memo [PDF] that the intent is to put a 'human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy' and urge senators to 'avoid the mistakes embodied in the House climate bill' that was passed in June."