Step 1: Bash Candidate, Step 2: ???. Step 3: Profit!
November 7, 2006 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Nice work if you can get it. Bloggers are an increasingly important part of modern elections -- something that becomes immediately obvious when you look at FEC filings. Bloggers are increasingly starting to rake in the campaign cash. Initially inspired by this feature from The Hotline, Bill Beutler combed through the FEC records and broke down what candidates were paying what bloggers how much in the current election.
posted by Heminator (26 comments total)
Full Disclosure: I know Bill - but DC's a small town like that for us reporters. Regardless I think it's FPP worthy. Further, I apologize for screwing up the tagging - I have no idea how abortion got there.
posted by Heminator at 7:58 AM on November 7, 2006

I have not heard of a single one of those bloggers or their blogs.

Herminator, you can remove tags easily if you look on the left.
posted by dobbs at 8:02 AM on November 7, 2006

Wait a minute. Those 'blogs' look like the official sites of the politicians. It's a story that politicians spend money on a web presence?
posted by dobbs at 8:06 AM on November 7, 2006

Thank you Dobbs. Oh is that what those X's are for? [Smacks Forehead]
posted by Heminator at 8:06 AM on November 7, 2006

I'm with Dobbs. I dont see any big democratic blogger names: Atrios etc. What blogs are linked to what bloggers?
posted by stratastar at 8:12 AM on November 7, 2006

Jerome Armstrong, Matt Stoller and Peter Daou are all on the list. All pretty prominent liberal bloggers (MyDD, The Daou Report). The story isn't just about prominent bloggers though, it's about the increasing reliance on Blogs in campaigns.
posted by Heminator at 8:16 AM on November 7, 2006

Jerome Armstrong and Matt Stoller write for -- which Armstrong founded. I knew he had worked with Warner, but I pretty stunned that he's raking in 200K.
posted by icosahedral at 8:17 AM on November 7, 2006

Still not sure I understand. If you scroll down in the article, it lists the blogs. MYdd isn't one of them. So, are Armstrong and Stoller being paid to consult for the politicians' web sites or what?

Seems to me the only story here is how stupid the candidates are to pay theses prices. $100k for "design, hosting, and services"? That's pretty outrageous.
posted by dobbs at 8:31 AM on November 7, 2006

icosahedral: Those numbers for Jerome are pretty misleading. I was working with Jerome for several of the candidates listed, and we were charging them for building out custom Scoop blogs, putting together a blogging team, and campaign new media advice (like where to advertise, strategy, etc). So listing Jerome as pulling in $200k all by himself, next to like Tim Tagaris and so forth, is apples to oranges. That $200k was split between me, Jerome, and a couple of graphic designers.

You can only infer so much from raw FEC filings.
posted by rusty at 8:33 AM on November 7, 2006

thanks for clearing that up, rusty -- $204,000 -- that's a ton of money, even when spread out over the 3 politicians. Why aren't Armstrong and you guys set up as a business? Why is it under his name?

I wonder if politicians now have a "jibjab" fund or whatever, to produce youtube things?
posted by amberglow at 8:37 AM on November 7, 2006

dobbs: the payments he's listing there are generally either for site development and strategy, or for just being the campaign blogger. The payments are not for bloggers to write on their own blogs about the candidate -- i.e. no one's paying Jerome to write on MyDD about them (like many have alleged). For most of the time he's been on anyone's payroll, Jerome has actually bowed out from writing on MyDD at all.

And believe me, no one's paying $100k for design, hosting and services. I wish they were. Again, the presentation of the numbers leaves a lot to be desired.
posted by rusty at 8:37 AM on November 7, 2006

amberglow: We were set up as a business, at the time. I think they collected payments to Jerome and payments under our business name. I assume they did anyway.
posted by rusty at 8:39 AM on November 7, 2006

It looks bad, if it really was a whole business/site setup/everything thing, and not just payments to an individual.
posted by amberglow at 8:44 AM on November 7, 2006

To clarify (now that I know where the $100k for "design, hosting and services" line comes from): I wouldn't say that's inaccurate, what the national journal piece says about the Brown campaign. But it's worth taking into account that that's a total for at least a year of services, which includes two custom campaign sites, both of which were redesigned and relaunched at least once (GrowOhio and, bulletproof hosting and maintenance for the year, and a lot of new media consulting services. And again, it was paying several people.

I also don't dispute that it is nice work if you can get it. :-)
posted by rusty at 8:45 AM on November 7, 2006

And to just totally take over this thread completely (I should have read the national journal article before posting), yes they did collect everything for Political Technologies under Jerome's name.
posted by rusty at 8:49 AM on November 7, 2006

it's like 1998 prices, pre-bust. : >
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on November 7, 2006

Well, at least we all see here how great a guy Rep. Mark Kennedy is, right?
*collects check*
posted by Smedleyman at 9:17 AM on November 7, 2006

The wording on the FPP made it sound like they were being paid to shill. I thought it was the newest old outrage. The ability of the internet to create jobs never ceases to thrill me.
posted by Goofyy at 9:31 AM on November 7, 2006

It sounds like rusty and co. are more like an interactive agency for these campaigns, rather than just a bunch of random nut-jobs writing polemical screeds. Which is too bad, as I would write nut-job political screeds all by myself if I stood to make a couple hundred large annually.

Anyway, even with the modest staff, 100k is not a lot of money for a professional site, hosting etc. There's data collection for Sherrod Brown, and the site is e-commerce enabled, and those things ain't cheap; presumably they are also managing the database that's being generated by the site. Given the nature of the site, security is probably a big priority. Sadly, it seems that Mr. rusty and friends have done a lot of actual work here.
posted by Mister_A at 9:43 AM on November 7, 2006

So, How much did dhoyt/jenleigh get paid?
posted by Freen at 10:09 AM on November 7, 2006

Mister_A: The site that's live right now is not our work anymore, although the design is derived from what we did. Our GrowOhio and and are sadly no more. But basically, yeah, what you said.
posted by rusty at 10:13 AM on November 7, 2006

This doesn't even touch the amount of money paid through Blog-Ads to the top bloggers by candidates.
posted by empath at 11:09 AM on November 7, 2006

Doesn't actually seem like much money for someone ostensibly at the top of their game on a national level. Writing is definitely not the way to wealth.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:02 PM on November 7, 2006

BrotherCaine: You're right about that. I'd single out Tim Tagaris in particular as someone who's worth a lot more than he's been paid. But all the bloggers I personally know on that list who worked strictly as the campaign's blogger were worth more than they were paid.
posted by rusty at 12:52 PM on November 7, 2006

Just when you think people can't sink any lower.
posted by nightchrome at 4:57 PM on November 7, 2006

…they turn out to be decent folk getting paid to do what they love.
posted by blasdelf at 5:23 PM on November 7, 2006

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