A top Republican senator accused an environmental group of "bribing" supporters into commenting on a federal environmental study by offering them a chance to win a free fishing trip.
The group, Trout Unlimited, encouraged visitors to its website to comment on a proposed Environmental Protection Agency draft environmental assessment of the impacts of a proposed Alaska copper and gold mine on a nearby watershed.
Commenters who also told a friend to comment on the draft were automatically entered into a drawing to win a free fishing trip at the Bristol Bay, a nearby salmon fishery.
"Win the fishing trip of a lifetime by using the Tell a Friend feature after you take action," Trout Unlimited advertised.
Sen. David Vitter (R., La.), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, criticized the contest in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon.
"This is a pretty low tactic to try and bribe support of their efforts to preemptively kill a job-creating project," Vitter said. "Skewing the public's response is really unhelpful in the process to get an unbiased review."