03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

American University Takes Out Ad Thanking Embattled Lobbyist

American University's public affairs program is under fire after publicly thanking a controversial grassroots lobbyist, according to the National Journal.

The university's public affairs school took out a full-page ad in today's edition of Roll Call reading "Thank you Jack Bonner for over 15 years of teaching excellence."

The problem? Bonner heads the DC lobbying firm Bonner and Associates, the same firm that sent forged letters to lawmakers before the House's June vote on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. Just one week ago Bonner was probed by members of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming regarding his firm's ethics.

Bonner and Associates was contracted as a lobbying firm by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The letters were purported to be from senior citizens and civil rights activists who opposed the green legislation. The gaffe was blamed on a temporary employee who has since been fired.

The program's director, James Thurber, said the ad was not an endorsement of Bonner's business practices, but rather placed to "honor" him as a "great teacher." Bonner taught a class on grassroots lobbying at the university for 15 years, the National Journal reports.

Thurber added:

"I never am going to do [ads] like this again, thanking people. I'll do it through personal correspondence."