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Blowing the Whistle on Astroturfing October 29, 2009

Posted by skolmk in astroturf, bonner and associates.
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Hey Bonner & Associates- here’s what astroturf looks like!

Today’s Congressional hearing shone light on the fraudulent letters sent to three congressmen on behalf of Bonner & Associates just days before the vote on the House energy bill (ACES) this past summer.  In short, we investigated astroturfing. The unfortunate tactics employed by the opponents of clean energy to blatantly co-opt and misrepresent members of already marginalized communities- the NAACP, seniors, and women, amongst others – and undermined genuine grassroots efforts.

In the same way that big tobacco once masqueraded the toxicity of cigarettes, Bonner & Associates led elected officials to believe that the groups most effected by the unjust realities of climate change and dirty energy were against passing provisions in the House to stop climate change and create clean energy jobs.

While politics have never been pretty, there are certain lines you just don’t cross. Until today.

Three action factory fellows showed what today was really about: the coal lobby and their astroturf operation.  The few supporters of Bonner and Coal were sitting just to our right, undoubtedly sweating as Jack Bonner and Steve Miller (President of American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity) were tirelessly grilled by Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Jay Inslee.

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Coal Lobby Poisons Democracy

We couldn’t help but smile every time Rep. Inslee interrupted Jack Bonner, requesting for the umpteenth time that he simply answer the question about whether he told his employees to lie. Steve Miller was similarly full of hot air as he stumbled between “ums” and “uhs”, attempting to dig himself, and the coalition he represents, out of a significantly deep pit of lies.

It was suggested to Mr. Miller that in retribution for his company’s deceitful actions (and equally as harmful inaction) that he make an office visit to Senator Inhofe-a climate legislation obstructionist-lobbying for progressive climate legislation in the Senate. Or perhaps run a full page advertisement in a political publication supporting energy independence instead of clean coal technologies that don’t even exist. Hilarity ensued as both Bonner and Miller were left speechless by these suggestions, and the coal lobbyists to our right looked nervously at their feet.

While the legal penance of the Bonner & Associates “hoax” has yet to be determined, the action factory fellows visibly exposed the astroturf efforts of these companies, complete with signs reading “Coal Lobby Poisons Democracy”.

Until we can actually keep CO2 safely sequestered, we should keep the same big coal lobbying efforts underground- and nonexistent.

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