Firedoglake PAC money spending probed

Rogers Cadenhead of Drudge Retort, a liberal answer to Matt Drudge, says PACs run by Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake have raised $474,000 and appear to be a major source of income for FDL. He’s been digging into the filings to determine how the money was spent.

The FEC reports show that Hamsher’s PACs are a significant source of income for Firedoglake, but my experience trying to question her about them suggests that she’s not big on transparency.

Hamsher and other receive money from the PACs as consultants, and the sums seem modest enough. FDL also got $4,000 in rent, something Cadenhead questions as their offices are mail drops. But this could be for space in a home office too. Other expenses include a PAC buying FDL’s mailing list for $14,111, which seems a bit cosy but is certainly permissible. Curiously, payment for two apparent staffers do not appear on the PAC filings, say Cadenhead.

I don’t see any huge smoking guns here. But what troubles Cadenhead is what he sees as Hamsher’s lack of transparency.

Trying to understand how the PACs operate, I interviewed several former Firedoglake employees and tried unsuccessfully for the last five days to get Hamsher or Flowers to answer questions about specific expenditures. Flowers did not respond to emails. In an email exchange Sunday, Hamsher refused to answer any questions about how her PACs spend their money.

Having watched Cadenhead in action before in similar battles (like knock-down drag-outs against blogging pioneer Dave Winer) he knows how to throw a punch and doesn’t back down. Ditto for Hamsher. Keep an eye on this, it could get heated.


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