PubliCola editor and majority owner Josh Feit has now definitively responded, it seems, to questions of "potential conflicts of interest" among the staffers of his political blog who also work for political candidates. In particular, Sandeep Kaushik - the campaign spokesperson for Mayor Nickels and county exec candidate Dow Constantine - "co-founded PubliCola with me in January," writes Feit. Kaushik "has zero editorial control..." The same for ad seller Cynara Lilly, who works as spokesperson for county exec candidate Ross Hunter. And former daily newspaper guy Mark Matassa, who writes for PC while also working as spokesperson for mayoral candidate Jan Drago, "will not be involved in our mayoral endorsement process," says Feit.
That's a lot of potential conflicts to live with and manage on a small staff, but Feit thinks he can do it. Still, in the midst of feverish campaigning, the issue's not likely to disappear, and in his disclaimer Feit did fudge a bit, choosing not to name another PC writer who "has a major role at Joe Mallahan's mayoral campaign." Feit left that mystery for readers to solve. According to an earlier comment on the website, the masked man is Jason Bennett, owner of political consulting firm Argo Strategies, who also works for the campaigns of council candidates Jordon Royer and David Ginsberg. Bennett's firm has in the past been employed by, among many others, Mayor Nickels. Bennett raised funds for Nickels in 2005 and headed up the mayor's pro-tunnel anti-viaduct campaign in 2007. The failed campaign was later found in an ethics violation after two checks worth $27,500 in contributions were reported as somehow received by the campaign several days before they were even written.