In an article published on March 16, 2015 by the online news provider SFGate, David McCumber, the Washington bureau chief for Hearst Newspapers, reports on the authorship issue of the chemical bill recently introduced by U.S. Senators David Vitter and Tom Udall (FPF reported). Hearst Newspapers obtained a draft of the bill, which was circulated by Udall’s office in the form of a Microsoft Word document. By going to “advanced properties” in Word, they found out that the “company” of origin was actually the American Chemistry Council (ACC). McCumber points out that the ACC is an industry association and a lobbyist for the chemical industry. The opponents of the bill have now used the document’s digital fingerprints to support their point that the bill favors industry far too much. A bill to protect the public from harmful chemicals should not be written by chemical industry lobbyists, said U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Boxer and Senator Edward Markey introduced an alternative version of the bill calling for more stringent regulatory provisions (FPF reported). The document originated in our office, said Udall’s communications director Jennifer Talhelm. However, it was shared with stakeholders, including the ACC. Somebody at the ACC saved the document, and sent it back to us, said Talhelm. The digital signature does not mean the original document was generated at the ACC. Anyone could have put it in there, added Anne Kolter, ACC spokeswoman and vice president.
David McCumber (March 16, 2015). “Questions raised on authorship of chemicals bill.” SFGate