FlashReport is a California version of the Drudge Report. As key votes are cast on the floor of the Legislature, Republicans are often spotted scanning the site to see how they’re being praised or pilloried. When those same lawmakers want the definitive voice on what constitutes a tax, they seek out not the Legislature’s lawyers but Coupal. Kobylt and Chiampou put a megaphone on the debate.
Adam Mendelsohn, a communications director for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said many a budget deal was unraveled by the attention of FlashReport. Republican leaders would take the outlines of a deal to their caucus members, who would leak the details to Fleischman. His followers would put pressure on the lawmakers to oppose the deal.
“We were literally racing against the FlashReport because once they engaged, you could watch Republicans start to fall off and get scared and get nervous,” Mendelsohn said. “You could literally watch the deal fall apart in a matter of an hour, two hours after he would post.”
Fleischman, who is also a paid political strategist and regional vice chairman of the California Republican Party, revels in his inside access. He notes that 37 of the 42 sitting GOP legislators have written for his site. And just about all of them feed him a steady diet of gossip on the sly.
“There’s really nothing that takes place inside a Republican Senate or Assembly caucus meeting that I don’t know about,” Fleischman said.