Progressive Situational Ethics

Adam Pagnucco is taking Len Lazarick to task over issues of disclosure about Len’s new media venture, a daily news website covering state government. Pagnucco is caterwauling over the fact that Lazarick, formerly of the Baltimore Examiner, received seed money for the project from the right leaning Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and that GASP! Dan Gainor, is listed on’s board of directors.


Perhaps Pagnucco is just pissed that a Franklin Center project just nailed the Obama administration for $6.4 billion stimulus money that went to “create or save” jobs in phantom congressional districts. Or maybe Annapolis Democrats already redistricted and didn’t tell us. Apparently Maryland now has 75 congressional districts. Who represents District 00, which got 3.9 million for two jobs?

But I digress.

Pagnucco’s concern for “disclosure” is oh so situational. Where was his scathing expose of the now defunct, Maryland Commons, the “lefty online Maryland news outlet,” when it appeared on the scene?

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Maryland Commons was published by one Neil Didriksen. Didriksen, according to state and federal databases is a generous campaign contributor to President Obama, Delegate Tom Hucker, former director of Progressive Maryland, and Speaker of the House, Michael Busch. Didriksen is also a supporter and member of Progressive Maryland. He is listed on the host committee (right next to Vinny DeMarco) for a Progressive Maryland fundraiser featuring Maryland Democratic politicians Ben Cardin, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards, and Maggie McIntosh. He was on the 2007-2010 preliminary ballot for Progressive Maryland’s board of directors. Didriksen was even a registered lobbyist.

A Google search tells us that the site stopped operations as of August 10, 2009. Didriksen told me in a phone conversation that he stopped publishing Maryland Commons due to the fact that his recuperation from a car accident prevents him from operating the site.

Maryland Commons was also a “featured project” of the Center for Community Technology Services. CCTS assists “Baltimore area nonprofits increase their ability to use technology, strengthen their organizations and improve their service delivery.” Initially, CCTS was project of the University of Baltimore, meaning it gets taxpayer money. Did any taxpayer funds go to Maryland Commons and it’s leftwing agenda?

Didriksen is quoted on the CCTS site as saying:

In the Web 2.0 environment, online media organizations require a robust publishing and content management solution. As site readers, members, journalists, and editors interact with each other, new requirements and new opportunities to engage have emerged. CCTS helps us evaluate the potential return on our investment in those new requirements and supports the continuing development of our website.”

CCTS also receives funding from outside organizations. One of those organizations is the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. According to it’s latest IRS 990 form the foundation lists Jane Brown as it’s executive director. Brown is Didriksen’s husband and a co-founder of Maryland Commons.
So we are left with not only the question of taxpayer dollars funding left wing policy advocacy, but was nepotism and self-dealing also involved?

Aside: What is it with progressives and their self dealing?

None of this stopped Pagnucco from linking to Maryland Commons as a source.

I would also ask Pagnucco where his keen detective skills were when the cached version of Maryland Commons disappeared? I ask that question because the cached version went down the memory hole after Barbara Hollingsworth’s October 6, 2009 Washington Examiner column mentioning Maryland Commons’ interview with Environment Maryland’s, Brad Heavner and United Steelworkers, Jim Strong. Heavner bragged about being the “lead policy/lobbying group”, that wrote the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (cap and trade for Maryland). Curious that the cached version was available before Hollingsworth’s column, then afterwards—POOF—it’s gone.

Given Pagnucco touted the agreement between Heavner and Strong’s groups I won’t hold my breath for an answer.

I might take Pagnucco’s yowling seriously if he weren’t so tone deaf to the same thing on his side.

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