Americans Elect: The Truth Behind the Corporate Scheme to Swipe the 2012 Election

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A new group called Americans Elect has come to Oregon as part of a nationwide effort to put a third party candidate on the presidential ballot.

But unlike legitimate third party efforts, Americans Elect is highly secretive, funded entirely by massive donations from hedge fund managers, and is run by a self-selected board of directors that has extraordinary control over who the party nominates.

And now they’re in Oregon gathering signatures in an attempt to qualify as a political party. (See this fawning report from KATU, in which the reporter failed to ask a single critical question.)

What is Americans Elect?

Americans Elect bills itself as a new way of nominating a candidate for president—through the internet.

Publicly, here’s how it works: You sign up to be a “delegate” at their website, after filling out a questionnaire about your political beliefs. According to Americans Elect, members will be able to propose presidential candidates and ultimately will cast the votes to officially nominate that candidate as Americans Elect’s nominee. Their goal is to be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Here’s how the group describes itself:

Americans Elect is the first nonpartisan nomination. We're using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. Your voice matters. You decide the issues. You choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, you will make history by putting the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot in every state.

With Americans Elect, you have the power to choose leadership that puts country before party, and America's interests before special interests. You have the power to change politics as usual.

Who’s Funding this Group?

Americans Elect claims that it receives no funding from “special interests or lobbyists.” Even though the group has refused to disclose its list of funders, there is enough evidence to show that this statement is patently false. (Most of this evidence has been indispensably collected by Jim Cook at Irregular Times.)

The group was started by Peter Ackerman, the chief of Rockport Capital, a wealth management firm. He put in at least $1.55 million of his own money to start the organization. (It was originally a 527 organization, which is required to disclose donors. It is now a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which isn’t required to disclose.)

According to various reports, Americans Elect has raised between $20 million and $30 million so far for its efforts. Other known funders are hedge fund manager Kirk Rostron and Melvin Andrews, president of Lakeside Capital Partners.

Another known funder is Jim Holbrook, president of Promotion Marketing Association, which is a trade association that does lobbying for the PR and marketing industry.

John Avlon, the founder of the corporate-backed “No Labels” group, wrote in the Daily Beast that Americans Elect has raised $20 million from just 50 people. That’s an average of $400,000 per donor.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was invited to tour the Americans Elect offices in DC, which he described as “swank offices, financed with some serious hedge-fund money, a stone’s throw from the White House.”

According to its website, Americans Elect’s “leadership team” is composed largely of hedge fund operators and wealth managers, including Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who is married into the notorious Rothschild family.

In August, Americans Elect added five new names to its “Leadership” list (something like a board of advisors)—all five are wealth managers.

Again, this group has—repeatedly—refused to disclose who is funding it, but plenty of evidence shows that it is funded almost exclusively through large donations from leaders in the financial industry.

That makes this statement on its website completely laughable: “[Americans Elect] is funded exclusively by individual contributions—and not from corporate, labor, special interest, foreign, or lobbyist sources.”

By the way, the group claims that it will be paying back its initial funders, so that no one donor will have given more than $10,000. That means that if you give money to Americans Elect, your donation will likely be going right back into the pockets of the multimillionaires who are funding the project.

Why Does it Matter Who’s Funding Them?

501(c)(4) organizations are not required to disclose their donors, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons why real nonprofits would decline to publicize their funding. 

But Americans Elect isn’t acting as a nonprofit; it’s a political committee. Its sole function is to nominate candidates for president and vice president of the United States, and then get them as many votes as possible. Nonprofits abiding by IRS regulations may not engage in political candidate activities as their primary activity. (Rev. Rul. 81-95, 1981-1 C.B. 332; Sec. 1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2)(i-ii)).  

Americans Elect has enough money to potentially sway the presidential election, likely by siphoning off votes from one of the two major parties. Doesn’t the public have a right to know who’s backing this political party?

Perhaps even more disturbing, Americans Elect’s own bylaws undermine their claim that the process and decisions are up to the public. Join us back here for follow-up posts on the “extraordinary” authority of the board of directors and more information about who’s behind this group—including troubling information about who’s gathering their signatures in Oregon.

Comments

The website "Represent US" is a KOCH SPONSORED ENTITY MASQUERADING as another grass roots organzation, a la Tea Party. The idea is to CONTROL both ends of the discussion, influencing outcome to the Koch Brothers favor. Look at the Koch chart and who do you see off to the right side? Now start tracing website owner and registrant names backwards. You'll find fake phone numbers, false names and blind alleys.
The wolf in sheep's clothing website: http://www.represent.us/press
The Koch chart: https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/268084_10151307055399763_120...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-d-rosenstein/americans-elect-who-are...

Go to the PRESS page of Represent US and among others you will see the name Lawrence Lessig who sits on the advisory boards of the Sunlight Foundation and Americans Elect. As reported in the Huffington Post, "Americans Elect appears to be funded by a few very wealthy individuals who make up what the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrators would call the 1%." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-d-rosenstein/americans-elect-who-are...

A homeless guy just showed up on my doorstep collecting signatures for Americans Elect. A quick bit of googling can tell you these guys are Democrat funded shills for Obama. Their candidates list is meaningless. None of these folks have any affiliation with Americans Elect and you can bet the proffered candidate will be a conservative to split the vote against Obama. Do your part and chase the signature collectors off your property with prejudicial haste. I'm sure they'll just falsify the petitions anyway, but at least that will leave an actionable paper trail for election fraud prosecutions.

AE is a HUGE opportunity to change the US political system, and make it way more democratic. Check this out -
http://tinyurl.com/7nruy9p
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Email: Internetvoting@gmail.com
Blog: http://tinyurl.com/IV4All
Twitter: wjkno1

Author of Internet Voting Now!

I too find it curious that Buddy Roemer is involved with this group. But Buddy Roemer is a private banker so it's likely he knows all these people and it's also likely that he's in on the scam. I really believe that Americans Elect is an organization that seeks to undermine the democratic process by putting forth a third party candidate. And the person I think they are trying to defeat is Barack Obama. There is a reason why this organization developed when it did.

It's obvious to me as well that this is a sham organization. They say they aren't a political party but in fact they are going to put forth and fund candidates to run for office. Sounds like a political party to me. It's weird. They want us to believe black is white and ducks don't quack. Strange.

Again, why is Buddy Roemer having anything to do with these people? It can't be naivete. It must mean he is in cahoots with them. That's the only thing that makes sense. And that means he is a sham too.

Obama needs to be defeated. his record stands for itself. that said, what incentive could there be to establish an "independent" effort to defeat Obama? he is the incumbent and front-runner, so why bother?

This is so close to the White House and George Soros. Remember, a vote for anyone but the one running against Obama is actually a vote for Obama. This is exactly their plan. If you steal 1 million votes, they are votes for Obama. American Elect, this smells. Open your records.

Lots of Anonymous posters here. Hmm...strange set up.

seriously? on a site that allows it, you think that's odd? you need to get out more.

For those of you so bent on supporting Americans Elect here is a motion placed by an actual Americans Elect delegate to overturn a bylaw that takes the nomination process OUT OF THE DELEGATES HANDS AND PUTS IT INTO THE HANDS OF THE CORPORATE APPOINTED BOARD. I think the whole thing is a great idea. Unfortunately, this version may not be what it appears to be. The motion presented in this link is not speculation about the efficacy of the process or the intentions of the organizers, it is a response to the clear and direct attempt to usurp the power of the delegates that the entire face of the organization claims it is creating. http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2012/03/17/formal-petition-...

Well, shit. There goes my delegate spot. So stupid. I deleted my account from the site, but I'm afraid the damage is done. Sigh...

If AE is not a legit party in your state, then you have no issue..

I am not too sure about this article and it's claims, although no one but someone close to the org can say for sure if they are doing good or bad. Overall, i think it's a great idea that we need in this country and i would hate to find out that it was slimy. However, the reason i cannot submit fully to this notion of missaction is because one of the smartest and most honest men in this country is seeking the americans elect nom: BUDDY ROEMER. His #1 issue is getting the money OUT pf politics and if you look at what he has done and what he is doing, you will see he is serious about it. He is too smart to be fooled by a group of hedge funders--he could smell it a mile away.

Whit that said, i love Buddy--but Ron Paul has my vote no matter what happens. Even if i have to write him in. He is our only hope.

RON PAUL 2012

Until just days ago, George Soros had the largest hedge fund in the world. Hard to believe he's not involved. ANY third party, except maybe The Greens, will help Obama. Maybe this is just grasping at straws, but unless something unusual happens, this failed President will be defeated.

You are mistaken..No one but Ron Paul will be able to beat Obama..get used to this idea. Also ..get used to Obama..because they are blackballing Paul

We elect politicians and then we don't trust them. We'll spend $2 billion and countless man-hours finding/electing our next President, and from the first day in the White House HALF of America will believe he/she is out to destroy America.

Voters seem to clamor for more "choice". I understand ALL the negatives of AE. But does the end justify the means? (I'm not sure of my own answer). Our voting system is outdated and just downright stupid for the fact that we have a winner-take-all counting system rather than a preferential counting system.

For an independent candidate to get on the ballots of all 50 States is a $15 million to $25 million venture - JUST TO GET ON THE BALLOTS.

So here comes AE...with a baby step in the right direction towards a 21st century voting/election system,...an internet primary where ANY candidate can participate, and for the winner of the primary FREE placement onto the ballots of all 50 States?

About the only ulterior motive that makes sense is AE wants to create a split vote where we'll have a President elected by less than 50% of the voters. Depending on one's suspicians, they're either going to split the Republican vote assuring President Obama gets 4 more years or they're going to split the Democrat vote assuring a Republican victory.

I'm on the AE platform. I've read everything about them, pros and cons. I don't stand much of a chance, but I appreciate the opportunity nevertheless.

Pesonally I WANT TO SEE A SPLIT VOTE. Maybe it would be enough of a slap in the face to the voting public to create enough pressure to at least change the way we count votes, to a preferential system, so in a 3-way race the truly preferred candidate wins and there is no "wasted vote" by voting for a long-shot 3rd party candidate.

Is AE "corrupt"? If you say yes, I'd have to ask you "compared to who/what?" Our Democrats and Republicans play the system as corrupt as possible, now with millionaire PACs funding them too. So I say, PLAY ON and let's see what happens...

We Have Permission to Change the System
JeffBlock2012.com

Very well said. "Corrupt compared to what?" Yeah, like the Dems and Repubs aren't corrupt! At least someone with grass roots backing might have a chance with this, as oppsed to what the media and billionaires are feeding everybody for dinner every night!

Having viewed the candidate list it should be clear what this site is attempting to accomplish. It has more to do with channeling the unloved MOONBAT candidate contingent than it does anything else.

Free Grape Kool-Aid (err Flavor-Aid) with every participating vote...

Reading all of the comments above: I must suggest that those in doubt PLEASE do not rule out (no rhyming intended) JL MEALER as the AE nominee.

Please go and register with AE. They've been promising to allow Citizen candidates (and NO I do not wear a boot or tin foil on my head), so I will be listed very soon and need your backing.

Feel free to check out my plans for America and creating jobs and growing businesses, retirement, etc, etc, etc..

Once this next meeting with AE is hashed out and I make certain no BS is going on (esp with Huntsman being coddled by the AE CEOs), my site will be upgraded.

http://mealer2012.com
JL MEALER

Good job on coming up with this broadside dear old Obama camper. Just because you have a cozy job doesn't mean the rest of us isn't bothered by the 9% unemployment rate.

1. Too bad you neglect to mention that Americans Elect does not support the candidate past the nomination convention, so yeah - what was that about using the funds to promote a candidate? YOU'RE WRONG, and misleading all of the good, decent people reading this. AE is about ballot access, an extremely hard barrier for any independent candidate to overcome as most people know due to the two parties' hold over the electoral system.

2. Heck, you're questioning their finances? The people putting up money, as you've said are individuals who would like to empower the people. Unless you have the $30 million dollars it takes to surmount the ballot access barrier and give my voice a genuine influence over our choices for president, SHUT UP - YOU'RE WRONG, and once again attacking an organization which obviously is NOT profitting from any of this. Put up or shut up. People like you are the reason change is so difficult. It's easy to critisize but if you're not doing jack to help out the situation, shut up cause the rest of us are tired of the two party extremist situation. 70% of Americans are moderate.

Now go running home and pretend you didn't see this cause I'm sure as hell you don't have a better plan for CHANGE. Something Obama promised, but the only change most people got is what was left in their pocket. Americans Elect - your voice, your choice.

I hope there is not too many voters who blindly believe that wall street is doing this for we the people. Watch closely for the slight of hand. First indication will be you can't get on, so just re register, answer all the questions the way the computer program wishes and the security questions... thats when you see they are looking for certain answers only, so now you have to wait and wait and than when you try to go back on well you didnt make the cut try signing up again but you will never be a delagate your not one of them. They dont have to count the votes cause they will never let you be a delagate, much easier and more sure to get the person they want and are paying good money for. Same game same story, different ways of elimnating voters that wont vote for there guy.. Good luck to the american voters your being taken over again.

This is just plan B for the GOP if the voter supression the GOP is doing does not work. The two main people involved in this "grassroots" organization are anything BUT. This is run by hedge fund managers and the Koch Bros. have their hands in it as well. You are naive to think these people are doing this for the good of America. They are just making sure America remains an Oligarchy. I too was excited about this, but upon additional research, found it to be a Republican backed organization. IMO, the time is "right" for Americans Elect because somehow a black man got into the White House and theywant him OUT. Follow the money, follow the money, follow the money. Sandee D.

All American elect is, is a republican strategical effort to get the independent vote to ultimately sway the election in there favor. It is deceiving the public. Fox news is strongly promoting this group., so that should say alot. Also the Co-chair is a far right conservative.

I started filling out Americans Elect's questionnaire but when it came down to Nuclear power they didn't even put it on the table. Others will confirm this. They are anti Nuclear power. In addition, when I tried to unsubscribe from their emails, their unsubscribe link didn't work. They are now on my spam list. Americans Elect is a fraud. It is a hoax pretending to be an unbiased entity and is preying on honest Americans seeking change. It is my opinion that they are planning to use the information submitted to further their own agenda, not that of the collective mind of Americans.

Nuclear power was listed under ENERGY.

Amen. Spread the word!

My Dear Anonymous Friend.. My experience exactly and I agree completely with your conclusion. I have spent a good deal of time trying to size up for myself who Americans Elect is and what they are up to. I thank Our Oregon for being on this and trying to get word out.

Those who are still in doubt and want to believe Americans Elect is what it says it is please do the leg work for yourself..it can only lead tothe conclusion that what is really goin on here is that Americans Elect is trying to harness the reactive anger of the 99% movement to further an agenda that is really about crowning the 1% with the American Presidency. They are so totally counting on Ron Paul to be that and what is happening in Iowa shows Americans Elect at Work.

Americans Elect most certianly does have an agenda..it is to eliminate all legislations from the new deal to the present that is not specifically authorized in the consiution..social security, medcare, labor law, enviornmental aw, anti poverty programs, consumer protections and bank regulations of all kinds. Check out the Reason Foundation with whom they are very clearly aligned. Check out Ron Paul ..what he really believes in and seeks to accomplish.Scary stuff. Completely in the opposite direction of the 99% movement.

You really have to work hard at twisting some ideas around to believe in a conspiracy that Ron Paul is part of a movement to crown the 1% with the presidency. Especially when it's the 1% who is neglecting him from the media. The GOP would have nothing to do with him if they had a choice.

He returns a portion of his salary to the Treasury. He never voted to raise congressional pay and wants to slash the presidents paycheck to be the median of the American worker, from $400,000 to only $39,336. He raises funds from more individuals and the military than any other candidate. None of his funding comes from the banks or corporations. He has proven not to be a Wall Street candidate like all the others.

Talk about follow the money. It sounds like you need to re-research history, economics, and Ron Paul. Try reading something that is contrary with what was spoon-fed to you as deemed political truth.

Matt Miller, Washington Post pundit and host of KCRW's "Left, Right and Center" has been encouraging interest in AmericansElect.org. Perhaps, he has more detailed information...... If not, perhaps he can get it.
http://www.mattmilleronline.com/

Hi, I just read that the author of this article is well connected with the Democratic Party in Oregon, HUH! no wonder he's attacking Americans Elect. Americans Elect is a definite threat to both the Democratic and Republican political hegemony that's destroying our country.

Right. So I'm supposed to go to bunch of Wall Street gamblers and grifters for a solution? I don't think so.

I joined and did the initial questions on Americans elect thinking that it sounded like a very good idea.I had a concern about the third party candidate and the potential backlash on the presidential Election. I needed a little more information. I also had concerns about who may be behind AE. I Chose Wikipedia and found little information . The information I found about the founder was also limited. I now ignore any more requests to continue . I will pass this information on It is so important to keep in mind all of the deceptive practices that the GOP keeps doing . Thank you for this very informative and important article .

This sounds like a post I read and responded to on the Irregular Times blog a couple days ago. Sure, there are a lot of questions about who is behind Americans Elect and why. For now AE is nothing more than a ballot access campaign. Only if they succeed in getting on 51 ballots would there then be an online convention to choose a cross-partisan ticket for president and vice president.

Every third party in history has been accused of being a spoiler. I deeply regret that George W. Bush "became president" and plunged us into and era of gruesome warfare and debilitating recession. But should that have been a reason to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in 2000? The problems of democracy can only be solved with more democracy. We need to fix a system that perpetuates two-party control of our politics.

The Democrats and Republicans will never voluntarily reform a system that guarantees duopoly control over elections. It will take an outside force with the resources of an Americans Elect to smash down the obstacles that Democrats and Republicans have erected. Let's see what AE comes up with and then decide whether we are any worse off. So far, I've heard nothing to persuade me that we would be.

First CITIZENS UNITED, then ALEC, now Americans Elect. Corporations are buying up America..in a classic corporate TAKE OVER. Wall Street weakened America economically..providing the opportunity for corporations to create unemployment [and dissatisfaction with our government] by cutting jobs and moving them to 3rd world countries as a means of increasing profits.
Now they are using the money for a political takeover to privatize all government functions, using the problems and dissatisfaction THEY created as a reason for privatizing.
ALL money in the American economy will be diverted to Wall Street, rather than a public central banK.
We will have no control in a representative democracy. Corporations are autocratic, led by board members who have no accountability except to stockholders..who will be...uh,corporations.
Goodby unions..goodby social programs....goodby OUR standard of living, as per capita income becomes less than the 3rd world developing countries.
[ whose labor costs have increased to a level that offers no advantage].
As the world flattens and corporations have no place to go for cheap labor, corporations can stay here and compete in the global economy.
Where it would be the better market than America, since there would be no funds in our consumer market.
We see the process at work with the growth of hunger, poverty level, drug addiction, the uninsured [of which one millionaire GOP candidate said, “let them die’], homelessness, the prison population and deteriorization of our infrastructure. The American dream of ownership of land and homes will become a nightmare.
One positive: It will solve our immigration problem as BOTH Mexicans and White Americans will be migrating to Mexico where the standard of living will be better than the USA.
Mexico will be patrolling the fence WE built to keep US Americans out. It would be a secure place to live, as their problem of the drug cartels will also be solved. They are funded by our dollars and armed by our gun dealers, Unless our corporations continue to privatize them, that is.
Is this why Eisenhower felt compelled to warn us to watch out for the military-industrial complex?

The corporate takeover is complete and the system is too broken to be addressed from within.
At this point energy would be better focused on forming a new system rather than acting within the existing "government".
Although the u.s. continues to slip behind the rest of the industrialized nations in most positive measures there are still several states that rank among the top economies in the world.
There is no reason why the u.s. needs to continue to exist as a nation.
Break the thing up into more manageable, and sensible, "states" and focus on a rewrite that addresses the new realities of a global economy and evens the playing field for its citizens.
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
Cascadia Now!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_(independence_movement)

American Elect is a response to an opportunity: The current Democrat-Republican split is dividing the country, but it appears the Democrats will still tend to get slightly more votes than the Republicans, particularly as the latter becomes even more divisively rightwing. A centrist party would siphon votes from the Democrats more than the Republicans. So I would speculate that the Americans Elect strategy is to do just that -- draw centrist votes away from the Democrats, reducing their majority enough to elect right wing Republicans. If so, it is a sham.

My understanding is that Canada has a three-party system, but two of the parties are liberal. This has allowed the conservatives there to gain power by getting more votes (but less than 50% total) than either of the two liberal candidates in many elections.

I agree that it is possible this is a group trying to split the Democrats and, from my example of Canada, it could definitely work. I know many liberals who are feeling down about their representatives as well as Obama and have expressed a desire to vote 3rd party. According to the MSNBC interview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSDVP__V4GE - the results from AE's survey have show the participants to average left of center.

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