Full Disclosure: S.V. Date Is Back

Well, that didn't take long. Former Palm Beach Post political scribe S.V. Date, who resigned from the newspaper last month over a perceived conflict of interest, has made his return to journalism as a contributor to The New Republic.

And he's writing rather glowingly about the man who caused all the consternation at the Post: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

You'll recall that Date's wife obtained a job in the governor's administration last year, prompting Post management to ban Date from writing about the guv. Date felt that it was unfair and when his editors learned he was still writing about Crist on his personal blog, the ensuing conflict led to Date's resignation.

In Date's recent piece for New Republic on Crist, he gives the governor credit for McCain's victory in Florida (I agree with that, actually) and basically touts Crist as a vice presidential nominee.

It's premature to talk about potential vice presidents now, but not unreasonable, given the circumstances. Crist has now proven he can deliver Florida for McCain. Surely he could do it again come November. And McCain didn't bring Crist along to campaign with him earlier this week in Arizona, California, and New Jersey just because they're buddies.

Crist has been asked about his potential vice presidency dozens of times in recent months. I asked again this weekend, and Crist was smoothly evasive. He is flattered, he says, but is concentrating on being governor of Florida.

In fact, the word has gone out across Crist's domain that VP talk is verboten. Not only is it unseemly, it's not helpful in the bigger picture. But there are slip-ups. When I asked a top Florida Republican what Crist could offer McCain's campaign in, say, Trenton, New Jersey, he replied, "What Charlie brings to the ticket ... ". He then caught himself. "What I meant was ... ".

A commenter on the TNR chimed in:

How come New Republic or the author did not disclose that S.V. Date's wife currently works for Governor Charlie Crist? Certainly your readers deserve to know that there is the potential for a conflict of interest with this author.

Date then defended himself on the website:

My wife works in the Office of Policy and Budget within the governor's office, which is analogous to the federal Office of Management and Budget. She works in the health and human services policy group and is the analyst assigned to the Department of Veterans Affairs budget. There are approximately six layers of bureaucracy between her and Gov. Crist. She doesn't tell me what to write in my articles. I don't tell her how to put together her portion of the HHS budget. Thank you. svd

Then a commenter named Rick Caird chimed in:

SV Date is being disingenuous, as usual, when he claims no need to disclose his wife's position. The Palm Beach Post has relieved him of the opportunity to write on the governor. They thought it was a conflict. Maybe it is fitting that he is now writing for the home of Scott Beauchamp. Still, having said that, I find Date's whole argument to be weak.

I'm falling on the side of disclosure here, especially since Date's points are so obviously pro-Crist. I'm surprised that TNR didn't demand it.


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