Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jack Bonner: A History of Deceit

Heading into this morning's Congressional hearing on the ACCCE/Bonner & Associates forged letters scandal, the good folks at the Huffington Post did a little digging into the past activities of B&A President Jack Bonner. They found quite a bit:
Jack Bonner and his ‘Associates’ are well-known Astroturf specialists, working from the shadows to manufacture the appearance of grassroots support for the agenda of major corporate clients, who pay the firm large sums to generate such ‘citizen outrage.’ The firm doesn’t publicly disclose its current clientele, but several past clients have been identified in news stories and books.

Author Sharon Beder revealed in her book Global Spin that past Bonner clients include tobacco giants Philip Morris and U.S. Tobacco Co.; the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association; the utility trade group Edison Electric Institute; military contractor McDonnell Douglas; nuclear industry and military services giant Westinghouse; chemical companies Monsanto and Dow Chemical; and the major Detroit auto companies Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (who hired Bonner to help derail Congressional efforts to raise fuel efficiency standards back in the 1990s).

Other past clients include the coal barons of the Western Fuels Association; the American Sugar Alliance; Northrup Grumman (makers of the B-2 bomber); and the defunct Electric Utility Shareholders Alliance (a front group for big utilities that fought against electricity deregulation); to name only a few.

Operating out of a technologically sophisticated D.C. office, Bonner’s hired hands – mostly consisting of temporary employees and interns who are paid low hourly wages – crank out hundreds of phone calls and letters to Congress each day. Bonner reportedly refers to his own firm as a “white collar sweatshop.”
There's quite a bit more in the full Huffington Post article, which is well worth a read. It's going to be a great hearing: stay tuned to R?S? for updates throughout the day!

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