bonner astroturf

Fri, 2009-08-28 17:18Brendan DeMelle
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Bonner & Associates Coached Employees To Lie To Generate Letters to Congress - Will Congress Rein In Such Astroturf?

An interesting and potentially explosive attachment was included with a letter sent to Congressional investigators by Steven R. Ross, an Akin Gump attorney working to defend his client Bonner & Associates, the D.C. public relations firm embroiled in an embarrassing scandal over forged letters sent from its offices to at least three Democratic lawmakers claiming to represent opposition to the Waxman-Markey climate and energy legislation from nine community groups. 

Attached to Ross’s letter, which was obtained by Talking Points Memo, is a set of “Talking points for ACCCE” distributed to the temp employees to guide their conversations with targeted groups whom they would be calling to drum up opposition to Waxman-Markey in key Congressional districts.


Fri, 2009-08-28 15:41Brendan DeMelle
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Bonner & Associates Paid Bonus to Letter Forger Before Firing Him

Talking Points Memo has obtained a copy of the letter sent to Congressional investigators by Steven R. Ross, an Akin Gump attorney working to defend his client Bonner & Associates, the D.C. public relations firm embroiled in an embarrassing scandal over forged letters sent from its offices to at least three Democratic lawmakers.  The forged letters claimed to represent opposition to the Waxman-Markey climate and energy legislation from nine different groups, including senior citizens’ organizations, Hispanic and women’s advocacy groups, and the NAACP.

According to the letter from Ross to Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the Bonner employee who forged the letters received a bonus payment for his “hard work,” four days before the firm fired him after learning the letters were forgeries.


Fri, 2009-08-28 11:29Brendan DeMelle
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Bonner & Associates Spin Machine in Full Gear To Defend Sullied Brand

Usually PR firms like to be behind the news, not in the headlines themselves.  But Bonner & Associates – the D.C. Astroturf shop busted for mailing forged letters to Congress attacking the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – finds itself under the spotlight trying to save its tarnished brand. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bonner continues to blame a rogue temporary employee for the forgeries, resurrecting an age-old PR maneuver - when caught with your pants down, blame the button maker.  “It was a setup!” of course.  No systemic pattern of shady behavior to see here!

Bonner has lawyered up, hiring veteran Akin Gump attorney Steven R. Ross, in another classic defensive posture often used to convolute the matter and issue veiled threats of countersuits to dissuade investigators from looking deeper into the muck.  Attorney Ross claims that Bonner & Associates were victims in the scheme, overwhelmed by “being short-staffed and given the incredibly short time frame of this [two-week] project,” and therefore, according to Ross, “some letters were transmitted to Capitol Hill before they could be thoroughly reviewed.”

Thu, 2009-08-27 14:33Kevin Grandia
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Exposing Jack "Astroturf" Bonner's Naked Fraud [video]

The very-active Avaaz Action Factory was in rare form recently when they showed up for a naked protest in front of the offices of DC’s Astroturf King, Bonner and Associates. The point of their action was to not only get a nice shower but to drive home the point that Bonner and Associates is a naked fraud.

A point I fully agree with.

As you may recall, Washington, DC corporate power player, Jack Bonner and his firm Bonner and Associates were recently busted for sending fake letters to Congress representatives urging them to vote against the Clean Energy and Security Act - the underhanded tactic was paid for by the Washington coal industry lobby who stands to lose big-time if their toxic emissions are regulated under the new act.

For those not up to speed on their PR spindoctoring nomenclature, Astroturfing is a an age old, slimy and undemocratic technique in which one manufactures a fake grassroots uprising. It is a big money service offered by some very powerful Washington public relations companies and one of the more successful of these is Bonner & Associates, which boasts of a long history of manufacturing fake grassroots movements for corporate America.

Anyways. On to what you came for, the video [ps. here’s the photos from the naked protest]:

Wed, 2009-08-26 12:27Kevin Grandia
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Bonner & Associates: the long and undemocratic history of astroturfing

With a history that could surprise the most jaded Beltway insider, Jack Bonner, head of the D.C. public relations firm Bonner & Associates, might just be the king of corporate Astroturf in the nation’s capital.

Whether its on the health care debate or the proposed clean energy bill, a notorious public relations tactic known as  astroturfing is heavily influencing the public conversation.

Astroturfing, the manufacturing of a fake grassroots uprising, is a big money service offered by some very powerful Washington public relations companies. One of the more successful of these is Bonner & Associates, which boasts of a long history of manufacturing fake grassroots movements for corporate America. 

A 1993 New York Times article, A New Breed of Hired Hands Cultivates Grass-Roots Anger, profiles Jack Bonner and his company as a “new breed of Washington firms that has turned grass-roots organizing to the advantage of its high-paying clients, generally trade associations and corporations.” As the Times rightly puts it: “the rise of this industry has made it hard to tell the difference between manufactured public opinion and genuine explosions of popular sentiment.”

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