Washington (CNN) - While Van Jones may have left the White House under a cloud, the NAACP says that's not his whole story.
The group considers him a pioneering hero for the environment and civil rights - so much so that it is awarding him one of its highest honors Friday: an NAACP Image Award. It's a move that is just becoming public now, which is sure to stoke the fire from Jones critics.
Jones resigned in September 2009 from his position on the Council on Environmental Quality, under a firestorm of criticism over a petition he had signed and his comments about Republicans.
The Obama administration's "green czar" helped coordinate government agencies focused on delivering millions of green jobs to the ailing U.S. economy.
Jones said he was the victim of a "vicious smear campaign" based on "lies and distortions."