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Unity08 CoFounders Cash in for Billionaire Bucks of Bloomberg

Even in its final act, Unity08 has decided to play peek-a-boo with the truth.

Early version of its shut-down letter:

And, of course, waiting in the wings should the divide persist, is the potential of a serious non-partisan candidacy in the person of the Mayor of New York (and indeed we have lost two of our leaders, Doug Bailey and Jerry Rafshoon, to a committee forming to draft Mayor Bloomberg should the circumstances seem right).

Revised version of its shut-down letter appearing later in the day:

And, of course, waiting in the wings should the divide persist, is the potential of a serious non-partisan candidacy in the person of the Mayor of New York (two of our founders Doug Bailey and Gerald Rafshoon have stepped down from the board and may have more to say about their plans in the near future).

Apparently someone didn’t get the memo that Bailey and Rafshoon’s plans were to be kept mum.

These aren’t just “two of our founders” or “two of our leaders” — they are long-time large-money insider political consultants and they are the two individuals who cofounded Unity08 in the first place. Now they appear to be cashing in, scrapping the Unity08 structure for the billionaire bucks of Bloomberg:

A source familiar with the Bloomberg for president movement says the bipartisan Unity08 effort is poised to shut down its Web site, reconstitute as a Draft Bloomberg site and launch its own 50-state signature-gathering operation on behalf of the supposedly reluctant would-be independent presidential candidate.

This move has been apparently been approved by the Bloomberg people.

I’m told Unity08 has $1.4 million in the bank and about 124,000 people signed up on its site.

In January of 2007, Unity08 cofounder Douglas L. Bailey unveiled Unity08’s Clean Money Pledge, in which he demanded that presidential candidates garner the majority of their money from contributions of $250 or less. Unity08 never met that standard itself.

On February 19, 2007, I began contacting various members of the Unity08 leadership, asking if they would commit to a Safe Money Pledge to match the Clean Money Pledge they demanded of other presidential efforts. The Safe Money Pledge read:

We pledge that no Unity08 corporate leader, member of the Unity08 Founders’ Council, or member of the Unity08 Rules Committee will pursue or accept payment or other compensation for any work in the campaign of a Unity08 nominee, or for work in the administration of a Unity08 White House.

Up to that very day, Unity08 administrators had been in touch with me by e-mail, and the Unity08 Chief Operating Officer even called me at my home on February 18, 2007 to try to convince me to quell my criticism of the group. But the day I asked whether Unity08 corporate leaders and founders would sign the Safe Money Pledge, Unity08 administrators ceased communications. The actions of the Unity08 founders speak loudly, and their silence on moneyed connections is deafening.

3 comments to Unity08 CoFounders Cash in for Billionaire Bucks of Bloomberg

  • mw

    Jim,
    Well played. You opened my eyes to the game these guys were playing. Just an fyi that I’ve linked to you from my most recent post Announcing: Disunity08:

    “…no retrospective of Unity08 would be complete without noting the work of Ahab Jim at the Irregular Times obsessively stalking the endangered white whale. This is an un-retouched photo of Jim throwing a few pointed questions at the Unity08 management early last year.”

  • I could care less about Unity08’s founders intentions. This does nothing to change my support for Bloomberg.

    All the same, good journalism.

  • Oh, yeah, sure. You could care less that the people behind the Michael Bloomberg campaign are corrupt. Elect Bloomberg anyway.

    And why Bloomberg?

    Uh, ’cause he’s a billionaire, and can buy people off all on his own! That’s what the American system is all about, right? Special perks for the wealthy!

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