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Question #12 on Unity08 Financial Transparency

Since writing the original eleven questions regarding the financial transparency to which Unity08 has committed itself, I’ve noticed another position — Anya Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Unity08. Yet there is no notice in the 2nd and 3rd quarter reports made to the IRS for Unity08 of Anya Harris (or any Chief Operating Officer) receiving compensation.

And so Question 12. Has the Chief Operating Officer of Unity08 been compensated in any manner for her work, which apparently includes responsibility for hiring new staff as well as website communications? If so, for what amount and out of what source of funds? If not, how has the Chief Operating Officer sustained herself during her period of volunteering for Unity08, and what is the source of that sustenance?

These are questions any major legitimate political organization should be able to answer “in the spirit of greater financial transparency, which is sorely lacking in politics today.”

P.S. In the same fifteen minute period in which Anya Harris visited the “Help us Build It” Forum on which I had posted my eleven (now twelve questions) and posed her own set of questions regarding Unity08:

What is the most effective way we can grow our forces to restore political power to the American people? Commit to getting 5 members to sign up for Unity08? Making a donation? Helping to reach out to local media to say we’ve had enough, we want to big money out of politics?

… somebody took the action of giving a thumbs down to my eleven questions. I do not know whether that person was Anya Harris. But as you can see for yourself, visitors have been very, very rarely adding posts to this procedural Unity08 forum. I also know that only one other thread had a rating change during that time period, and that was the addition of a “thumbs up” to the thread Anya Harris posted on (a thread suggesting that off-topic comments be removed). And most importantly, now I do know that Ms. Harris, the self-described Chief Operating Officer of Unity08, has visited the forum and seen evidence of these questions. And that’s important to know as we move toward day three of no answers to these questions, and as we move toward month 2 day 12 of no financial disclosure.

P.S.S. Lest you think I’m “picking on” some poor intern, Anya T. Harris (unless by some huge coincidence there are two Anya T. Harrises involved in the nexus of politics and public relations) has the following partial work history:

  • Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Prime Retail Inc. — a mall development corporation in which she at least at one time seems to have directly owned 1,924 shares of common stock and had some 34,000 shares in the form of stock options.
  • Chief Operating Officer, Smartpaper Networks
  • Chief of Staff for Senator Barbara Mikulski

This is no poor kid; Anya T. Harris is a powerful, wealthy insider who I’m sure can handle a few questions.

2 comments to Question #12 on Unity08 Financial Transparency

  • Alan

    Oooh, Jim, you’re really good to pick up on that one. Where are Unity08’s real employees? I counted seven interns, a contract person who fills out the IRS forms, and a communications director making less than 300 a week that doesn’t even live in the same state. You have found a partridge in a pear tree.

    For what it’s worth, and in all seriousness, I visited the site earlier today and voted your questions a ‘thumbs up’. I have gone over there several times just to reread the questions, but this time I thought, hey, why not click a vote. If their politics was about “business as usual” I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but they keep enphasizing transparency and getting rid of undue influence of K Street. But what are they doing themselves? Why is there no sunlight in their own organization? It’s a little like the preacher who rails against excesses of the flesh on Sunday and on Monday is caught with a prostitute.

    Maybe Unity08 is not beholden to special interests and maybe they have some valid reasons for not making their finances transparent–like maybe they are bankrupt (is that another difference between 527 and PAC?)–but until they are more forthcoming, it’s easy to think the worst about their reasons for silence.

  • Sam

    I agree with Alan – its run by interns and amateurs.
    Most huge sites arent all they seem…

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