WDJD? WHAT DID JEROME DO? It's worth being clear, too, on what exactly the charges against Jerome Armstrong are. The SEC believes that he took stock at below-market prices and then sought to hype the stock in order to increase its prices without disclosure. That last bit is the problem. He can push whatever stocks he wants (well, not after the investigation, but before); the wrongdoing came in his lack of transparency. Raging Bull readers who scanned his posts had no way of knowing he was possibly a paid flack rather than an honest broker.

Fast forward to the present, where Armstrong is a consultant to Mark Warner. Indeed, he's a decidedly public employee of Warner, certainly one of the best known and most widely publicized consultants of the 2008 campaign thus far. Where the stock malfeasance turned on Armstrong's hidden relationship, allegations of wrongdoing here are all based on his public relationship. Given that the job of a consultant is to hype and help his candidate, Jerome's efforts are both obvious and even laudable. He is, it seems, a very good consultant. Like a childhood hacker becoming a brilliant computer programmer, what Jerome once did wrong, he's now doing right. He's hyping his candidate to the nation's political influencers, and he appears to be succeeding. Call foul on that, and you better be willing to call foul on the entire political system, where Carville and Shrum and Rove do precisely the same thing, but with far less transparency in who they're talking to and targeting.

--Ezra Klein

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