Bonner & Associates, the DC ‘strategic grassroots’ firm facing a Congressional investigation for sending forged letters opposing the climate bill to members of Congress, is instituting a new No Forgeries ethics program to get out in front of the emerging scandal and ensure its astroturf campaigns are not tainted in the future.
“This is a very rare occurrence,” says a Bonner spokesman who asked that his name be withheld as a condition of talking to TPMmuckraker. “In response to it, as of August 11, the company has introduced a five-point check against this sort of thing. And every employee at Bonner has signed it and dated it.”
Rule number one: no forged letters.
Or as the five-point one-page document puts it: “100% call back verification of all groups that have signed statements of support to elected officials. The 100% call back verification will be conducted by permanent Bonner & Associates staff that did not place the original calls. The 100% verification will occur before any letter or statement of support is delivered to an elected official.”
That reference to “permanent staff” is significant because it’s clear Bonner relies on “temps” to do much of its work.
Read the full “GRASSROOTS FIVE POINT QUALITY STANDARDS PROGRAM” here.
The Bonner spokesman says “everything that’s in the signed statement was in place” in the past — “but it was verbal. It was never written down. And it only was for the senior members, it didn’t go through the entire organization.”
In other words: Bonner clients can be sure of ethical, best practices astroturf campaigns from here on out.