Criminal Activity Disguised as Public Relations
What an outrage! If there is a PR equivalent of disbarment, Bonner & Associates would be a candidate.
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.”
I make a good part of my living as a Pr copywritier and marketing strategist, and I’m totally appalled. I also note that all the press coverage I’ve seen points out that this particular firm has a long history of “astroturfing,” which casts suspicion on the claim that this was an accident. I don’t know how you forge a letter from an imaginary person on someone else’s official letterhead—twice!—and call it an accident. I also don’t know how you can run a PR agency for decades for 25 years and not think that the Public Relations Society of America Code of Ethics has any relevance to you.