bonner and associates

Astroturf King Jack Bonner's Long History of Deceitful "Grassroots" Lobbying

As you’ll recall, Bonner & Associates – the D.C. Astroturf shop busted for mailing at least a dozen forged letters to Congress this summer prior to the House vote on climate and energy legislation – has found itself under the media spotlight lately, struggling to defend its sullied brand.

Tomorrow morning, Rep. Edward Markey’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing on the Bonner and Associates forged letter scandal and it can’t come soon enough.

But the forgery scandal is just one example in a long career of anti-democratic Astroturf jobs for which Jack Bonner’s firm is responsible.

Public relations firms like to try to shape the news, not appear in the headlines themselves. Jack Bonner knows this as well as anyone in the business, and is rarely quoted in news stories, preferring to keep a low public profile. But when his firm was caught sending forged letters to Congress this summer while working on contract for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and its parent company the Hawthorn Group, Jack Bonner ended up in the uncomfortable position of defending his own firm rather than the interests of his corporate clients.

The gaffe appears to have cost Bonner a great deal of business, including the lucrative contract with Hawthorn.

Sources close to Bonner’s operation say that the firm furloughed several key staffers in the wake of the ACCCE scandal, informing them that there is currently not enough business to keep them on staff. And Jack Bonner’s much-anticipated appearance before the Congressional committee to answer questions about his firm’s role in the forgery scandal will not likely help the Bonner firm’s portfolio, either.

Public Support for Energy Bill Shows the Deception in Bonner Astroturf Campaign

A recent poll sponsored by the Center for American Progress goes another step toward revealing the duplicity of Astroturf campaigns like the one that Bonner & Associates was running while representing the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

The CAP poll shows that, in swing states, 63 per cent of voters support the climate change legislation currently being considered in the Senate. And yet the Bonner crowd was fomenting a “grassroots” campaign specifically designed to make it look like the public was taking quite a different position.

Duke Energy Quits Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group

In a potentially devastating move for the Washington, DC coal lobby, Duke Energy has announced that it is canceling its membership with the controversial American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

You’ll recall that ACCCE was the coal industry front group recently involved in the Bonner and Associates scandal where fake letters from influential organizations like the AARP were sent to members of Congress urging them to vote against the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill.

According to a report in the National Journal today, Duke Energy “left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy on Tuesday over differences with “influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010.”

Josh Nelson at Enviroknow obtained a copy of Duke Energy’s talking points on the matter:

The following are talking points related to Duke Energy withdrawing from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which Duke Energy has been a member of since the fall of 2007.

· While some individual members of ACCCE are working to pass climate change legislation, we believe ACCCE is constrained by influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010.

· This became increasingly apparent during and after the debate on the Waxman/Markey legislation in the U.S. House in recent months.

· This is not consistent with Duke Energy’s work to pass economy-wide and cost effective climate change legislation as soon as possible.

· Therefore, effective Sept. 1, 2009, Duke Energy resigned from ACCCE

I expect there will be more moves like this in the near future as energy companies begin to realize that siding with front groups like ACCCE put them on the wrong side of the clean energy issue and the downside of being associated with such a group far outweigh any benefits.

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]:

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.”

Subscribe to bonner and associates