Conservative Blogger Fired in Poizner Payola Scandal

GOP governor candidates' proxies in spat over allegations of pay-for-play press

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    Poizner's campaign denies funneling money to a blogger, but hasn't thrown campaign consultant Steve Frank under the bus quite yet.

    When you're getting paid by a campaign consultant and writing nice things about that consultant's candidate, you might want to disclose that fact to your readers -- otherwise, you stand a chance of losing your place at the campaign fund trough.

    At least, that seems to be the lesson learned in a brouhaha between conservative bloggers on the site Red County, in a dispute that's roiling California's gubernatorial campaigns.

    Red County head honcho Chip Hanlon has sacked Aaron Park, better known to the site's readers as "Sgt. York," after Park refused to disclose that he was receiving money from Steve Frank, a consultant for Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner's gubernatorial campaign.

    The money may well have made Park much more effusive on Poizner's chances in the state Republican primary scheduled for next June.

    All of which lead Poizner campaign spokesperson Jarrod Agen lobby accusations that Red County is in the pocket of Poizner's rival, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, thanks to advertising deals with the Whitman campaign -- implying that any payola on Frank's part was in the interests of balancing the site's coverage.

    Hanlon disputes that contention, but there's little evidence on either side to rule out either's position. However, it all has the pro bono bloggers at Calbuzz wondering how we'll ever know if campaign commercial quips might be sourced from pseudonymous bloggers on campaign payrolls.

    Jackson West is not receiving any money from any campaigns or issue organizations, but based on his current payscale, could certainly see the attraction.