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Monday, August 28, 2006

EchoDitto Says Nicco Mele Taking "Leave of Absence"

Posted by DavidNYC

From EchoDitto's blog:

Nicco's recent post about his support for Senator John McCain has caused quite a lot of ruckus. We at EchoDitto disagree with his decision. While Nicco does not work for Senator McCain, his support for a possible McCain candidacy runs contrary to many of our core beliefs at EchoDitto.

As a firm, EchoDitto is committed to progressive campaigns and organizations. We started in the political space and have been privileged to work with a lot of progressive candidates and campaigns as well as clients in the non-profit and corporate spaces. We're proud of the work we've done over the past three years with our partners, and we look forward to all the great work ahead.

Everyone in this world has to follow their own heart. Nicco has agreed to, effective immediately, take a leave of absence from our company. We hope he takes some time to re-consider his position. I am assuming Nicco's responsibilities for the duration of his leave of absence.

I previously suggested that a solution to this embroglio would be for Mele to leave the firm. In the line of business I'm going into - lawyering - a leave of absence like this almost certainly wouldn't pass muster with the rules of professional responsibility. Indeed, even outright quitting wouldn't be good enough - you can't work for one side, then bail and go work for the other. That's because you've already learned confidential information from your first clients. It's considered the classic conflict of interest, so basic they don't even test you on it.

I recognize that political consulting isn't bound by the same rules of professional responsibility, though perhaps it ought to be. So does this leave of absence satisfy me? I can't say that it does, in part because we haven't been told what it means. Does Nicco still have access to firm resources? To client information? Is he still drawing a salary or otherwise receiving money from the firm?

If Nicco straight-out left the firm, these questions wouldn't exist. But even if EchoDitto answered them, I'd still be unsatisfied. How long will this leave last? Until Nicco changes his mind and admits his grave mistake? Until the end of the presidential election? Hell, what if - heaven forbid - McCain wins? Do we give Nicco a four-year or eight-year extension? And what if Nicco does come back - and then says he wants to support another Republican? What do we do then?

That's why, as I said in my original post, Nicco needs to leave the firm - a mere leave of absence just doesn't cut it. If Nicco won't leave free-and-clear, then his partners need to buy him out, or, failing that, depart en masse and re-create the firm without him. Any alternative which leaves open the possibility that Nicco may either now or some day have access to the firm's proprietary information is not acceptable.

The bottom line is that in this business, you get to choose one side: Republican or Democrat. You can't do both, and you can't go back and forth between them. There's no middle-ground and no possibility of wiggle room. The problem is that this leave of absence is an attempt to have it both ways, and that just won't work. Nicco - and EchoDitto - need to make very clear which side they are on. So far, they haven't.

Posted at 05:51 PM in Democrats | Technorati

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The firm needs to CLOSE. Period. The gracious thing to do, for both Allen and this firm, would be to quietly go away.

Posted by: LandUseWatch.com [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2006 04:34 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment