My Blogger Ethics 'N Stuff
by Matt Stoller, Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 11:26:39 AM EST
Over the past month, I started consulting with three clients. I'm helping Working Assets with their blogging strategy, I'm consulting with the Sunlight Foundation on a project to be announced soon, and I'm working with Free Press on the Save the Internet coalition. I'm also the President of Blogpac, though I don't draw a salary from that organization (for you intrepid types, you can check the FEC reports, as one reporter did, and find out that I got a $2000 reimbursement from Blogpac which looks like a payment but is not).
I've thought a lot about the ethics involved, and I guess what I have to say is that I'll try to be upfront about everything I'm doing. My writing is obviously going to be affected by the work I do, though part of the value of my blogging is that I write from the perspective of someone who's involved in politics. I also only pick clients who I believe are working on structural problems facing the political system, and whose beliefs are in accord with my own. I don't make a lot of money from these clients, and when you do donate money to MyDD I consider you a client and work extra hard to deliver valuable insight. You paid me for Connecticut coverage, and helped to create a space to write what I think was really good stuff.
Also, as a self-employed freelancer, John Edwards' health care plan may raise my taxes and will probably make me pay more in premiums since I don't have an official employer. So I don't like it.
Feel free to discuss how unethical I am in the comments.
(I'm just kidding about John Edwards, although my bias for a health care plan tends towards 'I don't want choices, just tax me and take care of health care.')
UPDATE: Jeff Feldman asked a good question. SEIU paid for my recent travel to Iowa and New Hampshire, and the North Carolina Democratic Party paid for me to travel to North Carolina. When you give money to cover expenses for a trip, you are paying for travel expenses. So now there's even more of a reason to find me full of conflicts of interest.