Energy Front Group Calls for Investigation of Environmentalists

Americans for American Energy (AAE), an energy front group established by the public relations firm Pac/West Communications, asked Congress to investigate "possible illegal coordination between U.S. Interior Department officials and several national environmental groups." At issue are contacts between the Department's National Landscape Conservation System and the Wilderness Society and National Wildlife Federation -- groups AAE accuses of "pursuing an anti-American energy political agenda." According to Representative Rob Bishop, a Republican from Utah, the Interior Department's inspector general is already looking into the matter. Federal employees are generally prohibited "from using appropriated funds or their official positions to lobby Congress." The Deseret News notes that the probe "comes after the Interior Department ... found that officials at its Minerals Management Service engaged in sexual relationships with energy industry representatives, and accepted gifts from them."