DC Lobbyist Firm Abandons Truth Entirely, Forges NAACP Letters to Congressman

By Channing Kennedy Jul 31, 2009

Question: Why would the NAACP come out against measures ensuring racial and gender equity in the green economy? Answer: They won’t. Just forge their name on something and call it a day, dude. At least that’s the solution reached by Bonner & Associates, a DC lobbying firm specializing in ‘astroturf’ campaigns, campaigns orchestrated to appear community-driven. Their previous work includes an effort, secretly backed by Pfizer, in which paid callers posed as community members fighting prescription drug legislation. This new headline-seizing campaign takes a bold new tack, just straight-up fabricating names and titles and cut-and-pasting letterhead in a bold disregard for truth, morals, or (fingers crossed for legal action) the law. And if you’d like the letters appear to be from community organizations and people of color, for that ‘street’ sensibility, you’re in luck — that’s just one of the many services they offer! From the Charlottesville Daily Progress:

As U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello was considering how to vote on an important piece of climate change legislation in June, the freshman congressman’s office received at least six letters from two Charlottesville-based minority organizations voicing opposition to the measure. The letters, as it turns out, were forgeries. “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,” said Tim Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community. “It’s this type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy.” The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by “Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator,” an identity and position at Creciendo Juntos that do not exist.

After being notified of the bogus Creciendo Juntos letter, staffers in Perriello’s office realized that the wording of the letter sounded familiar. The staffers dug through the stacks of thousands of letters, e-mails and faxes Perriello received about the bill — the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 — and found five more forged letters, these purportedly from the Albemarle-Charlottesville branch of the NAACP. M. Rick Turner, president of the local NAACP branch, said he checked his organization’s roster and found none of the five people who signed their name to the five faked letters.

Bonner & Associates have called the letters ‘a mistake’ and say that they ‘immediately fired the person on staff responsible.’ Because, you know, fabricating movements wherein underserved communities come out in support of the policies that screw them and benefit megacorporations, well, that just doesn’t mesh with the idiom of Bonner & Associates. It was probably the temp pressing the wrong button on the fax machine. GOOD SAVE GUYZ The American Clean Energy and Security Act, or ACES, has been hailed as a victory for communities and organizations of color; thanks to the hard work of a multiracial coalition of labor and environmental justice groups and legislators, it provides the opportunity for people without high levels of formal education to gain skills, quality jobs, and careers in the clean energy economy. In other words, it puts equity into the green recovery movement. The NAACP was among the groups leading the push on Capitol Hill to make sure language for equity was included in the final bill. Here’s hoping the NAACP also leads the push to sue the pants off Bonner & Associates.