We’ve now obtained the letter to Congress from Bonner’s lawyer that we told you about earlier — in which Bonner hilariously claims that its client, a coal industry group, was the “victim of a fraud” stemming from the forged letters to lawmakers about the climate change bill.
The letter, from Akin Gump lawyer Steven Ross to Rep. Ed Markey, can be seen here.The letter contains other interesting details. It admits that the employee who forged the letters received a bonus before being fired, because of the number of letters he generated. That admission points up the dangers of Bonner’s business method, in which, as we’ve reported, employees are incentivized to generate as many letters as possible, making fraud all but inevitable.
Due to the extremely short duration of this project, on Tuesday, June 16, 2009, an incentive program was announced to encourage and reward hard work. Compensation for temporary employees is not based on the amount of letters generated. However, temporary employees could earn a small bonus payment for additional letters generated within that employee’s assigned district. It should be noted that the fired employee provided five fabricated letters on his first day of work, June 12, 2009, before the incentive program was even announced. Prior to the discovery of his fraudulent activity, since it ha appeared that the fired employee met the requirements of the incentive program, he was paid a bonus on Friday, June 19, 2009.
The letter also admits that due to a “miscommunication,” the office of Rep. Chris Carney wasn’t notified about the forged letters when Reps. Tom Perriello and Kathy Dahlkemper, the other two lawmakers who received them, were. As we’ve already learned, even though Bonner learned of the forgeries before the climate change vote, none of the lawmakers was notified until after.
And Ross’s letter also attempts to blame the forged letters on the fact that the project’s supervisor was out of the office with an illness. Ross writes:
One of B&A’s seven permanent staff members, and the person scheduled to manage the ACCCE project, faced an unanticipated dire medical prognosis that necessitated her taking an emergency leave of absence. Due to short staffing and an increased volume of work, a substitute staff person could not devote full attention to quality control until after the project was completed and the letters delivered to Congress.
We don’t want to make light of anyone’s medical problems. But Bonner’s excuse basically amounts to: the appropriate person was out sick.