Bonner's Dishonest Tactics Date Back a Decade Plus

The D.C. astroturf specialist Bonner & Associates has been feigning innocence that its employees were forging letters to Congress in an industry-funded attack on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. But DeSmogBlog researcher Nathanael Baker has turned up a 12-year-old article that shows this kind of questionable public manipulation is old hat in the Bonner offices.

The Ken Silverstein article, from a 1997 edition of Mother Jones, shows that Bonner has been duping American politicians on behalf of everyone from stale cigarette smoke-and-mirrors gang at Philip Morris to the coal barons of the Western Fuels Association.

Silverstein identified two particular tactics: the “virtual petition” in which people are induced to sign a statement (with a release in fine print) only to have their signature scanned and inked onto a petition; and the recruiting of “white hats,” in which Bonner engages influential people lobby for their clients without ever identifying the funder - sometimes without being completely open about the nature of the issue on which they were lobbying.

Silverstein’s article is well-documented and shows a pattern of deception that, judging from Bonner’s own website, seems to make the company proud. The Bonner promise is, essentially, to make politicians think that people care about an issue.

In a way, they have a point: if people really knew what Bonner was up to - and who was paying the bill - they’d care deeply.


Bonner’s dishonest is not a old hat,we should argue against it’s cheating for publication.Hope the day when people know what it is up to comes shortly.
registry fix

From a 1990 letter to Jack Bonner from the National Association of Independent Insurers -
“I have often wondered how it is that you have consistently hired co-workers that share your commitment and energy level.”

Hold on to your hat. Astroturf is the word of the week around here, but lets be fair, it happens on the left, the right and everywhere else - and I’m sure the left is a thousand miles ahead in this particular game.

I won’t link it because I’m sure it’s not welcome here, but Steven Crowder has a funny video right now dealing with liberal astroturf. Look it up if you want to consider the other side for 5 minutes.

Your argument is that everyone does it too, so it must be ok.

This is flawed logic.

You argument is a transparent attempt to draw attention away from Bonner & Associates, Adfero and all the other astroturf outfits, who offer to recruit hoards of bought and paid-for activists to the cause of their paymaster in order to skew and subvert the democratic process.

Due to practical reasons of high cost, there is good reason to believe that astroturfing is the weapon of choice restricted to those with deep enough pockests - big industry and the very wealthy.

Astroturfing is the enemy of democracy, irrespective of who does it.

Astroturfing must be outlawed.

Outlawing astroturfing would be entirely welcome - except for all the loop holes. You have to find a way to close those up so that there are no college students making $33,000 a year to be fake lefty activists as happens now.

That’s five minutes I’ll never get back. Interesting the company Crowder keeps (Fox News, Ann Coulter, etc., obvious icons of intellectual integrity…lol). He also mistakenly believes Obama is advocating Canadian style health care. Not too bright this guy.

From The Hill, Sept 1995 -

“A flood of phony telegrams urging House members to vote against the telecommunications bill has embarrassed the booming grassroots lobbying industry, which fears a loss of credibility. … Beckel Cowan, a Washington grassroots lobbying firm, acknowledged last week that the telemarketing firm it hired sent as many as 250,000 telegrams on constituents’ behalf without first notifying them.”