Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Clinton's paid endorsements

Hillary Clinton tried to defend her campaign's choice of giving a $10,000 a month contract to the media consulting firm of South Carolina state Senator Darrell Jackson who then turned around and endorsed her. They trumpeted Jackson's endorsement and only acknowledged that he was also receiving the big bucks from the Clinton campaign when the deal was exposed. His endorsement was important because he's an influential black leader in South Carolina and she fears that Obama might cut into the support she feels she is entitled to as the wife of the first black president.

Now she's just trying to explain hiring his firm as normal politics because he'd supported Bill Clinton.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Clinton responded to questions about the consulting contract her campaign negotiated with state Sen. Darrell Jackson, who last week endorsed her candidacy rather than of top rivals John Edwards or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

"Senator Jackson was someone who was involved in my husband's campaigns. He was someone we turned to for political advice and counsel and I'm proud to have him on my team," Clinton told the AP.

Soon after the endorsement, Jackson acknowledged that his media consulting firm had negotiated a $10,000 per month contract with Clinton's campaign. Jackson has said he turned down more lucrative contracts from other candidates.
Here are some questions I'd like reporters to research and answer. This seems like a natural to study rather than just reporting what excuse each person involved gives the press. How common is it for state officials to have media consulting firms and also endorse candidates who come to the state? Is a $10,000 monthly contract a normal price for a state of South Carolina's size a year out from the primary? When did state Senator Jackson establish his media consulting firm? Did he have a similar deal with Bill Clinton? In any other state where candidates have started to receive important endorsements from influential figures do those figures have their own campaign consulting company? Whom else has Darrell Jackson consulted for? Did he endorse them also?

This whole story cries out for more reporting. Are there some reporters in South Carolina who need story ideas?