Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ko$ola scandal goes viral

Next time y'all decide to have a blogburst, how about some advance notice, so I'm not late for the show?

EVERYBODY is now on the story of the DailyKos/MyDD axis and the Kosola/Kosiburton scandal:

Outside the Beltway
Hot Air
Iowa Voice
Politburo Diktat
National Review Online provides a helpful timeline.

How to Break It
At HotAir, AllahPundit makes a point:
The problem now is proving that some of the money paid to Armstrong for his “consulting” was transferred to Kos. That would be actual impropriety, as opposed to the mere apperance of it; but all we’ve got so far is one guy doing his co-author a solid by giving his clients a little free publicity.
OK, maybe some of you pajamahadeen have got the time and resources to fully research this thing. Start with this fact: As of 2005, Armstrong and Moulitsas (and some guy named Rusty Foster) were still listed as agents of the consulting firm Armstrong Zuniga.

Now, both Dan Riehl and I have noticed that Political Money Line has a feature whereby you can "Find Disbursement Payees." However, "you must be a FECInfoPro user" to use that search function, and neither Dan nor I have that service.

So, if somebody wants to pay for that service, and then can find FEC records showing that:
  • Armstrong and Markos have been getting paid by the same clients; or
  • Funds have been transferred from Armstrong to Markos; or
  • Markos, in any way, has a financial relationship with the candidates he's promoted on DailyKos; then ...
You win the cigar. Remember that Dan Riehl has pointed out Armstrong now operates as Political Technologies LLC. I'm not sure what Markos' consulting firm is called.

* UPDATE 7 P.M. 6/20 *
Chris Nolan sez:
[W]hen you get down to it, DailyKos is nothing more than a piece of political direct mail.
Maybe because they do so poorly at the ballot box ... the Kossaks are still trying to have it both ways when it comes to their role in American politics. Used to getting "news" about candidates from opposition research, the Kossaks think that by taking that job away from campaigns, they're becoming "media." In that light, it doesn't matter if their candidates don't win. It's the bloggers impact that counts. The Kos bloggers want to storm the barricades ... and be welcomed with open arms for their vigor, innovation and "good reporting." But when it comes to actually understanding the editorial business, they fall short.
The mention of "political direct mail" is interesting because what first made me suspect "blog-ola" by DailyKos was (a) discovering Markos had been a paid consultant to Dean '04, and (b) the fact that I spent the weekend of June 10-11 re-reading Richard Viguerie's account of the birth of conservative direct mail (in America's Right Turn).

It very much appears that Armstrong & Moulitsas have attempted to use the Internet for the Left in the same way that Viguerie did with direct mail for the Right. And the development of secure-pay technology has certainly exposed a large pool of small "hard money" liberal donors to help replace the "soft money" the Dems lost because of McCain-Feingold. (The 527s are another substitute for soft money.)

But the problem is this: If it can be shown that Markos promoted candidates with whom he had a consultant-client relationship -- however structured, however indirect -- then Kossacks must wonder whether Markos' advocacy was honest and independent. Did Markos sincerely believe that pouring money into Candidate X's primary campaign was the best thing for "people power"? Or was he just providing fee-for-service to his candidate clients?