Here and in a Unity08 “shoutbox” forum, I have asked 12 questions about the financial transparency of Unity08. These regard discrepancies within and between the following:
1. 2nd and 3rd quarter reports to the IRS, which as mandated by law are to detail contributions and expenses.
2. Statements by Unity08 that it is dedicated to “the spirit of greater financial transparency, which is sorely lacking in politics today,” and also that “Transparency is essential to the publicâ€™s trust.”
3. A public commitment, not kept, by Unity08 to update its list on this website of all donors giving more than $200 to the organization, once a month. It is nearly three months since that list has been updated.
These are typical questions for any national political movement. They should be expected for any movement that aims to elect a president and a vice president to lead the country, especially when that organization derides secrecy in other parties and dedicates itself to financial transparency.
I have not received any substantive answers to the twelve questions as of this morning.
Early this morning, Anya T. Harris, a veteran marketing and business executive who is now working as Chief Operating Officer for Unity08, wrote the following comment:
All I can tell you is that we are working on reviewing everything to ensure accuracy in all that is reported to the IRS and on the web site. As you can imagine we are a small, streamlined organization with a big agenda to accomplish. I will repeat once again that we will report on the list of $200+ donors as soon as the reports are ready and complete. There’s no more I can say on this subject. The tone and repetition of your questions assumes there some mal-intent, which is frankly curious to us all.
Why dont you help us grow the movement with the same level of intensity? We would welcome your substantive help in growing the movement which is intended to transform a badly broken political system.
I’ve responded on the original thread regarding financial transparency itself. But my motives and character have been questioned. I think that’s a distraction to the problem of a lack of financial transparency, so I’ve set aside a new thread to keep the question of my intent from clouding the need for Unity08 to accurately report its finances as required by law.
Here is my response about the accusation of “mal-intent” and my intent:
1. It’s interesting that questions dedicated to correcting errors in Unity08′s operation, and to establishing the financial transparency Unity08 has already committed itself to, are received by the Unity08 leadership as “mal-intent.” Questions about financial transparency shouldn’t be perceived as “mal-intent” unless the answers to the questions about transparency shed a bad light on the organization. If the answers DON’T shed a bad light on the organization, then there should be no problem. If the answers DO shed a bad light on the organization, then it is even more important for the public to know those answers.
2. In case this accusation of “mal-intent” blossoms into full-fledged character assassination, let me over-anticipate. I am not now, nor have I ever been, either a member, an employee, or a beneficiary of any political party, including the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. I am not now, nor have I ever been, either a member, an employee, or a beneficiary of any 527 or PAC that might be a competitor to Unity08. I have no financial gain to make from Unity08′s demise. I am nobody’s shill. My name is James Matthew Cook. My address is 1287 Hunter Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201. I am married and I have two kids, two cats, and a dog. I have a mole just below my right nostril. My blood type is O negative.
3. I’d love for a viable political movement outside the political party structures to arise.
4. I will give all my support to such a viable political movement if it:
a) is not an elitist insider operation, but rather a “grassroots organization,” which Unity08
claimed to be in its press release announcing its formation
b) is transparent in its finances (as is required by law), allowing citizens to verify the sources
of funding and influence upon the organization’s leadership.
c) pursues the welfare of the people of the United States, rather than the
welfare of a subset of financial patrons, in its policy program.
d) supports the Constitution of the United States and the freedoms contained therein in its policy
5. I will refrain from supporting a political movement if it:
a) is not a grassroots movement, but rather an elitist insider operation
b) is not transparent in its finances, preventing citizens from verifying the sources of funding and
influence upon the organization’s leadership.
c) pursues the welfare of a subset of financial patrons, rather than the welfare of the people of
the United States, in its policy program.
d) does not support the Constitution of the United States and the freedoms contained therein in its
I have a number of questions regarding the insider versus grassroots and transparency versus opaqueness nature of the Unity08 organization. I have a set of questions about whether the organization is viable and therefore worth my time to support. These questions are regularly asked by donors to charities, and they are regularly asked by journalists of major political movements, one of which Unity08 openly aspires to become.
THAT is why I am asking those questions. And the more that Unity08 declines to answer these questions, the more loudly and repeatedly I will ask them.
So no, I don’t have “mal-intent.” I have a good intent. But I’m not loyal to Unity08. I’m loyal to people-centered politics, financial transparency, and the well-being of the country and its constitution. If Unity08 embraces those qualities [which it is not doing to date], I will fight tooth and nail for Unity08′s success. If Unity08 rejects those qualities [which it seems to be doing], I will do all I can to make the nature of that rejection clear to the public at large. And until the nature of Unity08 is clear, I will continue to ask questions to bring transparency to the matters at hand — a transparency that Unity08 has already committed itself to.