House Panel Calls Out Energy Astroturfers for Corrupting Democratic Process

astroturf lobbying firm Bonner and AssociatesThe House Global Warming Committee conducted a hearing to investigate the astroturf lobbying firm Bonner and Associates, which last summer sent phony letters on forged stationery to members of Congress on behalf of their energy-industry clients who oppose a climate change bill. At the hearing, Bonner and Associates president Jack Bonner claimed that the letters were generated by "one rogue temporary employee" who had since been fired, and that no one else at the company knew about them. Bonner's firm has been charged with ethics violations in the past for using unscrupulous lobbying tactics. Committee member Jay Inslee (D-WA) called out Bonner and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a coal industry front group, for trying to create a fake movement against the climate change bill. Insley said ACCCE head Steve Miller, "You remind me of the guy who hired a hitman and said, 'Just take care of the problem. Don't tell me whether you're using a knife or a gun.'" Inslee and Committee Chair Ed Markey (D-MA) said that when highly-funded lobbying campaigns are willing to spread lies and falsify documents in order to stop a bill, it corrupts the entire democratic process.