Jordan Cooper response to Adam Pagnucco on “Bananacakes or Not?”:
In a recent Seventh State post on February 26th the following is written: “And so we have something extremely rare in MoCo politics: a candidate who drafts a questionnaire for other candidates with an endorsement on the line.” I’d like to correct the record with examples to the contrary:
- The Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County issued a questionnaire and its founder and Political Director Hamza Khan is a candidate for District 15 Delegate according to the Seventh State website.
- The Latino Democratic Club of Montgomery County issued a questionnaire and both Gabe Albornoz and Nancy Navarro are candidates for the Montgomery County Council while sitting on the LDC Board.
- Casa De Maryland issued a questionnaire and Alonzo Washington is listed as Casa’s Housing and Community Development Manager while also serving as a delegate.
Serving as a member of the Maryland General Assembly is considered to be a part-time job. State delegates and senators frequently have other means of employment concurrent with their service in elected office. Indeed even members of the Montgomery County Council, which is considered by many to be a full-time legislative body, have additional part-time positions. Just as many members of the legislature and many candidates for elected office have other jobs, so too do I as the host Public Interest Podcast. It is entirely within the realm of accepted practice for candidates and elected officials to be involved with political organizations and for those organizations to issue endorsement questionnaires.
I’d like to add that Public Interest Podcast is a non-partisan entity and, much like The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and other periodicals, issuing endorsements in no way diminishes the non-partisan nature of the endorsing organization. Endorsements will be issued by Public Interest Podcast based solely upon candidate responses to the questionnaire regardless of party affiliation and regardless of whether those candidates’ views are aligned with my own political views.
Seventh State Disagrees.
Adam: I am not defending those other organizations. But there is a difference here: they involve more than one person and can establish recusal procedures. You ARE Public Interest Podcast. There is nothing else there other than you recording interviews with people.
David: I called out Progressive Neighbors four years ago for having a ridiculous number of candidates on their board. Dana Beyer even sent a questionnaire to her opponent. I believe that they’ve fixed the problem and have no candidates on their current Steering Committee. Adam is also correct that PIP is you of course.
I hadn’t thought of a recusal process before. I could very well have someone else go through the endorsement responses and give them metrics for endorsement, say 7 of 9 questions have a Yes. That would be very fair wouldn’t it? In any case I can assure you that Republicans with whom I disagree personally on many issues will receive a Public Interest Podcast endorsement. I just don’t see a conflict of interest here. Perhaps we’ll have to agree to disagree on this. I did ask quite a few people before I sent out the questionnaire if they thought it was ethical or would present any problems and they told me that as long as I keep the campaign separate from the podcast there’s no reason why I shouldn’t use this opportunity to get candidates speaking about some of the issues I raised that no one else is talking about.
David: People frequently misunderstand that someone who recuses themselves from a process does not participate in it. Someone who designs a process for rating other candidates has not recused himself. I don’t see how one can keep the campaign separate from the podcast.