“Governing in a Polarized America: A Bipartisan Blueprint to Strengthen our Democracy”

…of reform, because the polarization in the United States runs deeply through its institutions, affects the ways Americans elect political leaders and how the institutions of government operate, and even puts in danger Americans’ deep-seated desire to serve their nation. Electoral System Reform View report section l View recommendations The commission is deeply concerned about the distrust that permeates the entire electoral process and that rever…

Continue reading
Share

My Op-Eds and Commentaries, 2010-11

…ew Republic (online), Dec. 6, 2011 Disenfranchise No More, New York Times, Nov. 17, 2011 A Democracy Deficit at Americans Elect?, Politico, Nov. 9, 2011 Super-Soft Money: How Justice Kennedy paved the way for ‘SuperPACS’ and the return of soft money, Slate, Oct. 25, 2012 The Arizona Campaign Finance Law: The Surprisingly Good News in the Supreme Court’s New Decision, The New Republic (online), June 27, 2011 New York City as a Model?, New York Tim…

Continue reading
Share

Democracy 21 Statement Calls IRS “Dead Wrong” to Target Conservative Groups, But….

…Obama group created by former Obama White House officials, American Action Network, a pro-Republican group, and Americans Elect, an independent group seeking to run an independent for President in 2012. In each of these cases, we provided information that documented the groups were not ‘social welfare” organizations and not entitled to 501(c)(4) tax status. It is these groups and others like them that should have been the focus of the IRS’s atten…

Continue reading
Share

“IRS Responds to Rulemaking Petition Submitted by Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center, Says Agency Will Consider Changing Rules for 501(c)(4) Eligibility”

…IRS to investigate the groups. The groups included Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect. The letter sets forth recent published reports that show why the reform groups believe the overriding purpose of Crossroads GPS is to influence elections. The letter stated: Political operatives are using “social welfare” organizations as conduits for injecting secret money into federal elections by attempting to exploi…

Continue reading
Share

“‘Americans Elect’ Ends Online Primary After No Candidates Qualify To Run”

ABC News reports.  WaPo has the group’s statement, which at least some opponents of AE thinks leaves wiggle room for something.  After all, as Ken Vogel noted on Twitter, the group has a nice package of ballot access in a number of states. Richard Winger too notes the potential for the group’s ballot access use in the future. Meanwhile Lessig responds to Lumea on neutrality and AE, something which seems pretty moot. I expect Buddy Ro…

Continue reading
Share

Americans Elect Admits Its Selection Process Has Failed; New Procedures Coming

The following press release arrived via email: A Statement by Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd 12:01 A.M., MAY 15, 2012 –  Over the past two years, Americans Elect has focused on achieving three clear goals: ·      Gaining nationwide ballot access for a third presidential ticket to compete in the 2012 race; ·      Holding the first ever nonpartisan secure national online primary at AmericansElect.org; and ·      Fielding a credible, balance…

Continue reading
Share

Lessig Says Roemer Would Pledge Not to Be Spoiler in Presidential Election If He Has No Realistic Chance of Winning

See here. “Though he says he’s in this race to win, if he became the Americans Elect candidate, he has now committed to a crucial promise: if at the end of the race, Roemer writes, ‘I discover I have no realistic chance of winning, I will ask my supporters to vote their conscience or for their second choice so the issue of spoiler can be dropped once and for all.’” I wonder how that will go down with the AE funders who de…

Continue reading
Share

Lessig Goes All in With Americans Elect as the “Last Best Chance” for Campaign Finance Reform

He makes his case atThe Atlantic Wire. Earlier, Lessig and I had an exchange about the serious problems I have with Americans Elect’s transparency and its democracy deficit. I have also discussed Lessig’s campaign finance reform ideas in detail in a forthcoming Harvard Law Review book review (which also reviews a book by Jack Abramoff).  …

Continue reading
Share

“Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center Again Call on IRS to Investigate Eligibility of Crossroads GPS for Tax-Exempt Status as ‘Social Welfare’ Organization”

…milarly investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect, other organizations which we believe are improperly claiming status under section 501(c)(4).” Priorities USA is a group that backs President Obama’s re-election, American Action Network is a group founded by former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman that supports Republican candidates, and Americans Elect is a group…

Continue reading
Share

Lessig Americans Elect Press Release

The following just arrived via email: BOARD OF ADVISORS MEMBER LAWRENCE LESSIG: AMERICANS ELECT BRINGS NEEDED REFORM TO THE ELECTION SYSTEM WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 2, 2012–Americans Elect is honored to have Lawrence Lessig, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, as a member of its Board of Advisors. As a distinguished profess…

Continue reading
Share

What Does Americans Elect Want? A Candidate or Policy Movement by the Two Main Parties?

…ly individual citizens eligible to vote in each election to contribute. The buying and selling of elections and public office must be stopped! John Lumea: “TOM FRIEDMAN might still be dreaming of a centrist “Third Party” — Bat Signal to Americans Elect — but it seems clear that Americans Elect itself is in the expectations-managing mode of scaling back and moving on from that ambition, at least for 2012.”  …

Continue reading
Share

The Democracy Deficit Widens at Americans Elect

NOLA: Meanwhile, there are four Feb. 29 postings on the Americans Elect site, under the heading “board decisions,” indicating changes to the bylaws and pre-convention rules that, it says, have been posted for delegates review. But it is not apparent what the changes are or where any more detailed explanation of the changes can be found for purposes of review. Next to each of the four items, it says, “this decision has been appr…

Continue reading
Share

Abramoff to Appear with Americans Elect Candidate Buddy Roemer on Campaign Finance Reform

Part of the tour to restore Abramoff’s credibility (and continue to make money off lobbying, by talking about it, I suppose). It really strikes me a strange bedfellows, the three Musketeers of reform: Abramoff, Lessig, and Roemer.  And the troubling internal democracy problems of Americans Elect….

Continue reading
Share

Americans Elect Amends Rules to Give Unanimous Committee Power to Block Candidates, Taking Away Delegate Power to Overrule

Now we know how Americans Elect will keep Stephen Colbert (and presumably anyone non-centrist) off the ballot, even against the unanimous wishes of voters/delegates. From a petition to reverse this rule change: The previous version of Bylaw 5.6 had this to say about the power of the corporate-appointed Candidate Certification Committee and the power of delegates to overturn its decisions: Section 5.6. Committee Override by Delegate Vote. Any dec…

Continue reading
Share

“Confessions of an Americans Elect delegate”

…icked supporters (10,000 for establishment candidates, 50,000 for outsiders) necessary to qualify for the ballot, which will almost certainly necessitate major rules changes. Americans Elect, then, is a high-profile third-party ballot access campaign without a candidate.” It is worth pointing out that if we had more reasonable ballot access rules for presidential candidates, the questionable Americans Elect effort would be unnecessary….

Continue reading
Share

Responding to Lessig on Transparency and Americans Elect

I had asked Larry Lessig about how he could support Americans Elect given their well known transparency problems (for example, they won’t reveal their donors based upon unsubstantiated claims of potential harassment). Larry’s explanation is here and I appreciate the care he has taken in responding.  Here’s my reply. Larry’s says he would like transparency of donors at Americans Elect, but he is not too troubled by the lac…

Continue reading
Share

“Stephen Colbert: Presidential kingmaker?”

…come. It could end up putting him in a position to influence the presidential election. It’s no joke. Consider Americans Elect. Backed by hedge fund managers and we don’t know who else (they won’t reveal their donors), the group has spent millions to secure ballot access in all 50 states for a presidential candidate to be chosen in a national Internet competition. (Also no joke.) The group’s aim appears to be to secure a centrist ticket to run a…

Continue reading
Share

“In New Board Ruling, An Early Sign of Financial Trouble at Americans Elect”

…ically says is that as few as five people can fund the whole damned thing….It also strongly suggests that Americans Elect is not getting — and does not expect to get — significant financial support at the grassroots level of delegates.” He adds as a “sidebar:” “How is it that Lawrence Lessig, one of the most informed and eloquent critics of the undue influence of money over politics — and one of the most ardent and p…

Continue reading
Share

Boren and Todd Whitman Make Kissy Face with Olympia Snowe for Americans Elect

…GTON, D.C., MARCH 4, 2012–Below is a statement by the former Governor of New Jersey and current board member of Americans Elect, Christine Todd Whitman, and former Governor and U.S. Sen. of Oklahoma, David Boren, on this week’s decision by Senator Olympia Snowe. “Sen. Olympia Snowe is the essence of a true public servant, and we celebrate her as she makes the tough decision to forgo reelection to the United States Senate. We strongly agree with S…

Continue reading
Share