Research Research

So perhaps you have been wondering, as we have, about this mysterious AK&H Group, which turns up repeatedly in Gifford Miller‘s recent filing with the Campaign Finance Board, receiving a total of $21,000 in payments for “research,” and a sweet one-time $29,000 payment for “research books.”

First, a translation for the uninitiated: Research, in political-speak, mostly means opposition research, or dirt-digging. (“Not exclusively opposition research” was how Brian Hardwick, Miller’s campaign manager, described the expenditure to us.) Also, everybody does it, including the campaigns who periodically pretend to be appalled by it.

Anyway, our own research on these researchers led us first to the “K” in the group’s name, a Carleton College press release about one Howard Kushlan, former aide to Senators Wellstone, Bradley, and Graham.

The “H” is Jay Howser, Kushlan’s boss on the Bob Graham campaign and a man whose passing political fame came in 1998, when the Governor of Alabama warned him not to be a “pimp.”

But we have a feeling that it’s the “A” in AK&P who’s been digging the dirt on Freddy and the others. That would be Katie Allison, former McCall campaign researcher and resident of the same Brooklyn zip code to which AK&P’s checks are being sent.

Now, we have no problem with negative campaigning, and the cause of Democratic Party unity doesn’t get us very excited. But so far, those books seem to have stayed on the shelves, and Gifford has mostly been the target of barbs from Anthony. But our wiser friends tell us that, if Freddy‘s lead holds, his rivals will have to try to muddy him. So perhaps we’ll get a glimpse of what Allison’s been up to after all.