The Dernogalizer

August 29, 2009

And Better…

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 2:49 pm
Tags: , , ,

In my last post about all the astroturfing being done by big oil, and corruption by big coal, I said..

“The coal companies have had a scandal with forged interest group letters that had gotten better, and better, and betterand better….and better. Wow.”

Turns out there’s even more!

The talking points employees of Bonner were given by the astroturf company instructed them to lie to generate letters to Congress.  Josh Nelson at EnviroKnow had the goods yesterday…

“Most importantly, TPM has obtained a copy of the letter Akin Gump sent to Congressman Markey’s office on behalf of Bonner and Associates. The letter included as an attachment a set of talking points and sample script employees working on the ACCCE campaign were given.

Crucially, the talking points specifically instructed employees to lie to the community organizations they were calling, telling them they were working with seniors/veterans groups and that other seniors/veterans groups had written the letter they would be signing. They were in fact working directly for a coal industry front group, and the letter was written by Bonner and associates.”

There’s more information from TPM that Bonner paid a productivity bonus to the employee who forged the letters…

“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.

Ross writes:

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.

Here’s the full letter.  Last, it looks like more statements made my Bonner to defend itself may be lies(shocker!).  Check out this excerpt..

“In the following days B&A personally contacted each of the eight organizations that were defrauded,” wrote Steven R. Ross, a lawyer with the Akin Gump law firm who is representing Bonner. “B&A employees conducted in person meetings with some of the organizations to discuss what happened and to apologize.”In at least one case, that was true. A Bonner & Associates vice president visited Charlottesville in late June to inform the chairwoman of Creciendo Juntos, a network of service providers to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community, that the organization’s logo and name had been used in a bogus letter sent to Perriello.
At least three other Charlottesville-area organizations, however, say they received no such notification.
Five letters were forged to appear as if they were sent by members of the Albemarle-Charlottesville chapter of the NAACP. Rick Turner, president of the group, said he has never once heard from Bonner & Associates.

‘We never heard from them’

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