No one will be shedding any tears for the anonymous billionaires whose donations helped pay for some consultant’s vacation home. And it’s possible that the good folks at DCI really were best-equipped to advance the agenda of the center’s donors. But this is a nice catch by Gold and Tanfani, and a reminder that there are plenty of mercenary motives—which may not be consistent with political effectiveness—in these circles.

It adds up to some nice work by the LAT. And one final note: the article prominently mentions, and links to, items by the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics and the investigative blog Republic Report where important parts of the story were first reported. While newspaper blogs have long been pretty good about incorporating outbound links, many papers have been frustratingly slow to embed links in the online versions of print articles. It’s good to see that changing.

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.