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Sleazy tactics and dirty money pollute the climate debate

Pete Altman

Posted July 31, 2009

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The evidence that opponents of clean energy are using sleazy tactics, fueled by dirty money, is becoming more and more clear each day.

Today's big news is reported by the Charlottesville Daily Progress, which reports that opponents of the ACES climate bill hired a DC lobby firm to manufacture grassroots opposition to the bill, using tactics that include writing fake letters ostensibly from real organizations, as the board member of one such organization said:

"They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter and sent it to our congressman without our authorization."

The firm in question is Bonner and Associates, a long-time presence in DC known for its capacity to manufacture constitutencies for its clients. As William Greider reports in "Who Will Tell the People,"  (published in 1993)

"Bonner & Associates packages democractic expression and sells it to corporate clients - drug manufacturers and the cosmetic industry, insurance companies and cigarette makers and the major banks."

Their services are pretty fine tuned. As Bonner explains to Greider,

"We sit down with the lobbyists and ask: How much heat do you want on these guys? Do you want ten local groups or two hundred groups? Do you want one hundred phone calls from constituents or a thousand phone calls?"

This is just the latest example of how sleazy clean energy opponents are willing to be.  As I have previously mentioned, opponents have encouraged people to pretend they are consituents and to call Senators over and over again.

And let there be no doubt that dirty energy dollars are fueling at least some of this. Yesterday I pointed out that Peabody Energy is a financial supporter of Newt Gingrich's "American Solutions" group which has been at the forefront of opposing clean energy.  That entry also noted Koch Industries' ties to the ideologically driven groups working to block clean energy progress.

But to come back to the top, they key question of the day is: who is Bonner and Associates' client? Whose money is funding this campaign of deliberate deception?

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Rebecca StanfieldJul 31 2009 02:01 PM

Evidently this firm has a long history of similar tactics. For example, here's an article from 2002 on their fake grassroots lobbying on prescription drugs.

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