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Mon, 2009-08-31 11:18Brendan DeMelle
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Bonner & Associates Never Contacted Rep. Perriello and Several Charities Defrauded In Forged Letter Scandal

In the wake of the forged letters scandal involving lobbyists for the coal industry, D.C. astroturf firm Bonner & Associates claimed to have reached out to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and several Virginia charities whose names appeared on the fraudulent letters.  It turns out that Bonner never contacted Rep. Perriello or at least three of the groups it claimed to have informed about the letter forgery episode. 

Bonner & Associates’ attorney Steven R. Ross of Akin Gump wrote in an August 12 letter to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that Bonner took immediate action in late June once it learned of the scandal, which it has blamed on a rogue temporary employee.  Ross stated in the letter that Bonner left messages with Perriello’s office on July 1st and that “on July 13, B&A staff succeeded in directly speaking with congressional staff for Rep. Perriello.”

But the Charlottesville Daily Progress reports that Rep. Perriello’s press secretary, Jessica Barba, has confirmed that Bonner & Associates never contacted Perriello’s office.  “I asked everybody in our office, did anybody hear anything from them about this?” Barba said. “They hadn’t. Nobody in our office ever talked to them.”


Fri, 2009-08-28 10:48Kevin Grandia
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Maddow on Bonner and Adfero's Astroturfing for Coal

On her show last night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow lambasted the latest coal lobby astroturf campaign for using generic clip art stock photos for their FACES of coal campaign. I guess the coal lobbyists behind the campaign couldn’t find any real people willing to pose as pro-coal cheerleaders and instead had to rely on stock photo stand-ins instead.

This story was first uncovered by the hardworking folks at Appalachian Voices who are fighting to save the mountains of Appalachia from the hugely destructive and toxic industry process of mountain top removal.

Maddow also gave a quick shout-out to DeSmogBlog on her show presumably for our work to uncover the high-powered Washington, DC public relations company, Adfero Group, that appears to be working behind the scenes on the FACES astroturf campaign. 

Brad Johnson at the WonkRoom reported yesterday that Adfero Group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

Fri, 2009-08-28 10:10Richard Littlemore
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FACES: Coal Industry Buying "Friends" Off the Shelf

JW Randolph at Grist has discovered that the coal industry has, quite literally, bought friends off the shelf in the FACES of Coal campaign facilitated by the D.C. PR firm Adfero. The photos on the FACES website were all sourced from iStockPhoto, which, as the name implies, is the place where lazy/busy/rich people go for photos when, for example, they don’t have any friends of their own.

Thu, 2009-08-27 17:00Kevin Grandia
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Astroturf PR firm also a major Republican Party Player

It has now been revealed that a Washington, DC PR powerhouse that was recently exposed as being part of an anonymous “grassroots” pro-coal group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

As regular readers will recall, earlier this week we exposed the ties between a new pro-coal “grassroots” group calling itself the “The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal), and a Washington, DC firm called the Adfero Group. Adfero’s client list includes Koch Industries and the US Chamber of Commerce, two leaders in the fight to confuse, distort and deny the realities of climate change - and especially to block government action that might affect their bottom line.

Brad Johnson at the Wonk Room is reporting today that Adfero also has significant ties to another very powerful group in Washington, DC that would love nothing more than to see legislation on climate change blocked, the Republican Party.

Johnson writes: “A new “grassroots” fossil fuel front group, FACES of Coal, is employing a shadowy Republican-staffed company to spread its message. The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security — a new pro-mountaintop removal campaign that refuses to reveal its “grassroots” members — is employing a GOP Beltway shop to promote its work.”

Tue, 2009-08-25 12:56Jim Hoggan
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New "Grassroots" Pro-Coal Group backed by K-Street PR Firm

“The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal).” the latest “grassroots” organization to join the public conversation on behalf of the coal industry, appears to be a project of the K-Street public relations firm, the Adfero Group, one of industry’s most accommodating voices in Washington, D.C.

The FACES website, which includes no contact information, is registered to Adfero.

[Update: since we posted this article, the website registration for facesofcoal.com has been updated overnight and Adfero’s name has been wiped, however - thanks to research by one of our most loyal readers, Frank Bi, a cross-reference with Adfero’s IP address still shows facesofcoal.com running on their server.]

FACES describes itself as “an alliance of people from all walks of life who are joining forces to educate lawmakers and the general public about the importance of coal and coal mining.” But Adfero’s client list includes Koch Industries and the US Chamber of Commerce, two leaders in the fight to confuse, distort and deny the science of climate change - and especially to block government action that might affect their bottom line.

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