Meet Jared Bernstein. He’s the Obama campaign adviser who was also a member of the JournoList:
Jared Bernstein, chief economist for Vice President Joseph Biden, served in 2008 as an economic adviser to the Obama campaign. At the same time, he was a member of JournoList, the controversial progressive email list.
Bernstein’s bio at Politico, which appears not to have been updated since 2008, states: “He is an economic adviser to the Obama campaign.”
He was known to many for his regular appearances on the financial channel CNBC. His primary employer in 2008 was the Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor progressive think tank, but according to his bio when appointed to the Obama-Biden Administration, he also was a member of the Panel of Economic Advisers of the Congressional Budget Office.
Reached today at the Office of the Vice President, Bernstein revealed that his position with the Obama campaign was as something called a “surrogate.” “I was not paid by the campaign,” he explained. “They would call me from time to time to represent their positions, that side of the debate.”
Asked when he left JournoList, Bernstein replied, ‘‘I think I left the list around the time I came here.” Bernstein was announced as Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to the Vice President-elect on December 8, 2008.
One question that has arisen in the last week is how closely JournoList members, not only discussed how to shape the news to advance the fortunes of Barack Obama, but coordinated with the Obama campaign. Jared Bernstein’s position as an unpaid adviser and surrogate shows that there was at least one direct link between JournoList and the Obama campaign.
Bernstein’s serving on the Economic Advisory Panel of the CBO is less worrisome, though it appears to violate Ezra Klein’s first rule for JournoList:
At the beginning, I set two rules for the membership. The first was the easy one: No one who worked for the government in any capacity could join.
It would appear that Bernstein’s presence on the list violated Klein’s first rule, since he met the test of working “for the government in any capacity.”
Official campaign, non-official campaign — close enough for (literally in this case) government work.
Update: A commenter notes another Obama official who was on the JournoList. Reader “Hydrangea” wonders why “people keep forgetting that Peter Orszag was also a Journolister.” Orszag is President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget Director.
In March of 2009, Ezra Klein wrote:
“Journolist is meant to serve a very specific purpose that’s actually related to my experience building this blog. The work of this site has always been to illuminate standard political reporting with expert policy commentary. In that, I’ve been helped by the many experts who have adopted the medium as their own: Mark Thoma, Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, Matthew Holt, Peter Orszag, Andrew Gelman, Larry Bartels, Dani Rodrik, John Sides, among others. As a journalist, it’s hard to always know who to call or which questions to ask. The joy of those blogs is that I don’t have to guess what experts think is important: They simply explain what they think is important and I can use, or follow-up on, the information.?”
(Bumped to top; Klein’s post screencapped here.)
Update: Ezra is now denying that Orszag was on the JournoList. So release the full list of members, and let us know who was. Shouldn’t President Obama’s “Non-Official Campaign” staff be even more open and transparent than the administration that it continues to serve?