Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not Quite All Things Considered

Josh Marshall's TPM Campaign Wire had a link to this NPR story...
Clintons' InfoUSA Ties Scrutinized
All Things Considered, February 13, 2008 · Political campaigns spend thousands, even millions of dollars to acquire good mailing lists.

Last year, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the unusual step of renting out some of her lists. The transaction once again highlights the Clintons' connections to a businessman who now faces questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Reports from Clinton's campaign show that on Dec. 3, it collected payment for renting out three mailing lists, the sale of which netted them $8,225.

It was an unusual transaction, according to Roger Craver, a liberal guru of the political direct-mail industry.

[...] Several sources who work in political consulting and in direct mail, who would not speak for attribution, said they were surprised by the deal, as well as its low price. [...] According to one direct-mail professional, $800,000 would have seemed like a more plausible price for a quality list.

The story then goes on to detail the relationship the CEO of this company, Vinod Gupta, has with the Clintons, and the millions, yes, millions of dollars he's paid Bill, and the $$$ he's raised for Hillary. The angle I'm reading is that this guy is sketchy—one of his companies sold lists to spam scam operation, and that there is something unseemly about the payments to Bill, flights for the Clintons, Lincoln Bedroom, blah, blah, blah...

But there's a passing mention of one of Gupta's company that NPR breezes right past, and no one else is mentioning...
Gupta's empire also includes the Opinion Research Corporation, which conducts the political polling for the television network CNN.

Um, hello? The Clinton campaign supplied a list of its donors and supporters to the company that does the polling for CNN—for no discernable reason, and for next to nothing? What reason could the Clinton campaign and a polling company possibly have for a transaction like this? Think that they could possibly skew a poll here and there if they wanted to?

Google yields a ton of stories about Gupta and the Clintons from early last summer about financial disclosures (here's one from the NY Times), but not much on this new mailing list development, and nobody's looking at the polling aspect. Maybe I'm nuts, but it sounds like it's worth "considering"...


NOTE: I really wanted to stay away from the Hillary-bashing, but I just don't understand why (or if) I am the only person asking about this.

UPDATE: Adding "CNN" to the Google search nets some results: a brief reference by NY Times, and a dedicated MyDD post on the CNN tie here.

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