06 August, 2009

More Fraud from the White-Collar Sweat Shop

You knew that Bonner & Ass., along with their employers-in-crime ACCCE, sent more fraudulent letters, didn't you? Oh, yes. In fact, we discovered yesterday that they not only swiped the identities of black and hispanic groups, but old people and women's groups, too:

The stack of forged letters opposing clean energy reform on behalf of the coal industry is growing. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) has revealed that he not only received forgeries purporting to come from black and hispanic groups, but also senior citizen and women’s advocacy organizations as well.

Yesterday, Perriello’s office told reporters that in addition to the five NAACP letters and one Creciendo Juntos letter forged on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), “two other letters were forged to appear as if they had been sent by the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, a Charlottesville agency, and the American Association of University Women.”


Neither JABA nor the American Association of University Women did any lobbying on the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and both organizations first learned about the fraud today.
I'm sure they were thrilled to discover to what use their good names were being put.

And you can expect plenty more dirty laundry where that came from. After all, we're talking about a "white-collar sweat shop" here:
Jack Bonner -- who did not immediately respond to TPMmuckraker's detailed request for comment -- himself referred to the operation as a "white-collar sweatshop," according to one former employee who was paid $75 a day during the mid 1990s. New employees are paid an hourly wage, without benefits, then, after cursory training -- two hours on a particular issue, says the former employee -- told to hit the phones to generate as many calls, letters or other communications as possible, from ordinary people or from local groups, in support of a client's campaign. Those phone lists aren't exactly carefully assembled. According to that same former employee, they came from "ancient phone books," or, in the case of advocacy groups, from pages copied from Michael Barone's Almanac of American Politics.


In this boiler-room culture, it's not surprising to learn that some callers frequently play fast and loose with the truth in the quest to maximize their numbers. "People were encouraged to say whatever it would take to get people to sign onto specific campaigns," said the former employee from the mid 1990s. "I would hear people say outright lies and distortions ... because they were desperate to make a patch" -- that is, get someone to agree to be patched through to their member of Congress's office -- "and keep their jobs."

The person who worked at Bonner from 2006 to 2007 said that the pressure to produce numbers makes it highly likely that some employees will resort to deception to do so. Some campaigns are difficult to generate support for, he said, but "management doesn't take that as an answer. They say you need to spend more time on the phone. The only recourse you have is either to produce something, lie about, or get fired."


Even the letters or phone calls generated more or less honestly are a long way from legitimate expressions of support delivered by informed citizens who have taken the time to dispassionately study an issue. Rather, they generally involve what the former employee from the 90s described as "ignorant, unsuspecting constituents who were so flattered and happy to be contacted on an issue" agreeing, after a one or two minute scripted pitch, to allow their name to be used in support of a position they barely understood. "It was just too easy to get gullible people to sign onto a twisted version of an issue," said the employee, calling the practice "sleazy."

These fucktards make Nigerian scammers look principled. At least those folks are only out to subvert your bank account rather than your democracy.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

I thought my respect for American corporate management couldn't get any lower, and then this happens. They set up the conditions where these temporary employees, who are the last folks to have any say in how a corporation is run, felt pressured to lie in order to make a sale. All Bonner had to do was pay these people by the call, not by whether they convinced anyone. They knew that, and they did it anyway. Management is as culpable here as anyone, yet they used the standard lament of not understanding what their contract labor was doing on their behalf.

They really are pissants.