Bonner Says They Only Authored 13 Fake Letters to Congress
Bonner & Associates says that while they may be responsible for the 13 other forged letters to Congress, they’re not to blame for fake letter No. 14 that was revealed yesterday. The letter claims to be from a Virginia American Legion post, to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), but was actually sent by Bonner & Associates on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
Bonner is now claiming that the letter is legit -– even though the guy whose John Hancock is on the letter says he didn’t sign it. TPMMuckraker has the story:
But soon after we posted that story, a Bonner spokesman contacted us. Bonner, he said via email, “is being unjustly blamed” for the latest letter, which went to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). To support that claim, the spokesman attached a FedEx receipt, which indeed appears to show that on June 11th a package was sent from Bonner’s office to Charles Santrock, an official with the American Legion post. The package was signed for by “Anne Lester” at the Legion post, then returned to Bonner a few days later. Bonner also sent us a copy of the letter, which had been signed with the name “Charles Santrock.”
Santrock confirmed to TPMmuckraker last night that Anne Lester is an employee of the Legion post. But he said he never spoke to anyone by phone about the climate-change campaign or about energy costs, that the Legion post doesn’t get involved in political issues of that nature, and that the signature on the letter — which was shown to him recently by congressional investigators — doesn’t even match his own.
While they may actually be making a legit claim here –- that someone at the American Legion post really did sign off on the letter without telling Santrock -– that alone would reveal more about the shadey business model of Bonner and other astroturfing firms. How many other letters to Congress have been authored by Bonner employees and signed off on by unwitting low-level staffers?
In any case, Bonner’s quest to elicit sympathy by claiming that they authored only 13 fake letters to Congress is fun to watch.