Friday, August 28, 2009

What Happens When Oil Lobbyists Forge Letters? They Get A Bonus!

Remember that old Louis Armstrong song concerning conflicting viewpoints on the correct pronunciation of "tomato?" Well, it turns out in the now-infamous letter forgery scandal involving Washington lobbying shop Bonner & Associates, there is some confusion as to whether or not "fired" is actually pronounced "bonus."

Let us explain.

In a letter to Representative Ed Markey (MA), whose committee is investigating fraudulent letters opposing a clean energy bill sent to members of Congress, a lawyer for the authors of said fraudulent letters at Bonner & Associates admits the employee who wrote the letters received a bonus. This provides an interesting counterpoint to Bonner's original assertion that the offending employee was simply fired.

Lawyer Steven Ross writes (via Talking Points Memo):
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 had appeared that the fired employee met the requirements of the incentive program, he was paid a bonus on Friday, June 19, 2009.
So, in another shocking twist, the fraudulent efforts of the individual at Bonner & Associates to derail clean energy and climate legislation (on behalf of its client the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity) were in fact rewarded before being punished once they were found out.

In this case, when "shocking" is prounounced "obvious."

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