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

Release: The Bipartisan Policy Center launched the Commission on Political Reform in 2013 to investigate the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to advocate for specific reforms that will improve the political process and that will work in a polarized atmosphere. The commission met at public and private institutions across the country to hear from interested citizens, political leaders, and issue experts about the…

Continue reading
Share

My Op-Eds and Commentaries, 2010-11

I am moving them off the sidebar of the blog as I spruce things up around here. Holder’s Voting Rights Gamble: The Supreme Court’s Voter ID Showdown, Slate, Dec. 30, 2011 Will Foreigners Decide the 2012 Election? The Extreme Unintended Consequences of Citizens United, The New 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-So…

Continue reading
Share

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

notice the almost exclusive focus on the other wrongs Democracy 21 has called out in the past, and no endorsement of hearings on the targeting of conservative groups:  [NOTE: See update at end of post.] Statement of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer on IRS Improperly Targeting Conservative Groups and Groups Improperly Claiming 501(c)(4) Tax Status The IRS was dead wrong to target conservative groups claiming tax-exempt status as section 50…

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”

Via email: IRS Responds to Rulemaking Petition Submitted by Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center, Says Agency Will Consider Changing Rules for 501(c)(4) Eligibility In a letter sent today to the IRS, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center acknowledged and welcomed a July 17, 2012 letter from Lois Lerner, IRS Director of the Exempt Organizations Division, stating that that the IRS “will consider proposed changes” in the regulations governin…

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, balanced, una…

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…

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”

…imilarly 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 grou…

Continue reading
Share

Lessig Americans Elect Press Release

…a five-year research project addressing institutional corruption in a number of contexts at the EJ Safra Lab. Americans Elect has benefited from his insight and knowledge about corruption in our political institutions, as we challenge the traditional primary system by creating an online nominating process and achieving ballot access in all 50 states. “The Americans Elect’s effort to reform our political election system is a hard-fought and…

Continue reading
Share

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

I had missed this oped by David Boren, Christine Todd Wittman and William Cohen a few weeks back.  What does AE want,at least according to these authors?  to push the two main presidential candidates (more) to the center: The American people should challenge the two parties and their presidential candidates to make three ironclad commitments: First, candidates of both parties should endorse the main principles contained in the Simpson-Bowles bip…

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”

Alex Pareene: “This, though, was penned back when they were expecting a Michael Bloomberg to sign up for their effort. Now they can’t even manage an Olympia Snowe. Primary voting begins in less than two months, and the only declared candidate who actually meets those qualifications is … Buddy Roemer. At the moment, no candidate, declared or drafted, is on pace to actually meet the number of clicked supporters (10,000 for establishment cand…

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?”

…ing New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. I and others have criticized the Americans Elect board for reserving to itself the power to overrule the results of the Internet plebiscite, and in response the board has indeed made it harder to overturn the popular results. Getting a third party or independent candidate on the ballot nationally is a steep climb — since states have different qualifying rules. So Americans Elect presents a rare opportuni…

Continue reading
Share

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

John Lumea: “What this Board decision basically 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…

Continue reading
Share

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

From an AE emailed press release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE A STATEMENT BY FORMER GOVERNORS DAVID BOREN AND CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: WASHINGTON, 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…

Continue reading
Share