Bonner and Associates was working on behalf of the coal industry when it sent forged letters — purporting to come from local Hispanic and black groups — to a member of Congress, urging him to oppose the recent climate change bill.
Bonner’s client was the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a top coal-industry advocacy group, reports Greenwire, the environmental and energy news service. And a total of twelve letters went not just to Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia, but also to two other Democrats, Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Chris Carney, both of Pennsylvania.ACCCE told Greeenwire that it had used a contractor, the Hawthorn Group, which sub-contracted with Bonner to do outreach to local groups. And its president slammed Bonner:
“We are outraged at the conduct of Bonner & Associates,” ACCCE President and CEO Stephen Miller said in a statement yesterday. “Based upon the information we have, it is clear that an employee of Bonner’s firm failed to demonstrate the integrity we demand of all our contractors and subcontractors.”
There’s also the claim that Bonner may have misled ACCCE into believing that it had contacted the lawmakers who received the letters.
Before Greenwire’s report came out, Rep. Ed Markey, who is probing the issue, sent a letter to Bonner with detailed questions about how the forgeries occurred. Looks like we’re starting to get some answers.