The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has hired two new public relations firms to hock its message in the wake of the disastrous job done by Bonner & Associates.
ACCCE has retained HDMK, a PR firm with very strong ties to former President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, to manage its national media efforts, while Dan Ronayne, a managing director of the Howard Consulting Group, was retained to work with regional reporters.
HDMK is run by Terry Holt, the national campaign spokesperson for George W. Bush in the 2004 election and the former spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner. Other HDMK partners include Trent Duffy, a former deputy press secretary to President George W. Bush, Jim Morrell, former deputy chief of staff to the House Republican Conference and a speechwriter for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Chad Kolton, another long-time Republican communications operative who served in the Bush administration as press secretary at the OMB and FEMA.
Holt told the National Journal that HDMK will be "part of the strategy team on message development" for ACCCE. ACCCE is no doubt hopeful that HDMK will play a more traditional, behind-the-scenes role in promoting the coal industry’s message.
ACCCE had no such luck with one of the key players in its 2009 PR campaign, Bonner & Associates, the Astroturf shop embroiled in a highly embarrassing scandal when it was caught sending at least a dozen forged letters to Congressmembers urging them to vote against clean energy and climate legislation.
Luckily for ACCCE, HDMK specializes in crisis communications and crisis prevention, which could come in handy for the coal industry if 2010 turns out to be anything like last year.