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Unity12 Task Force Wholly Funded by 1 Man: Investment Executive and Takeover Artist Peter Ackerman

The Unity12 Task Force is a Section 527 IRS-registered corporation, formed shortly after lawyers for the old Unity08 won a lawsuit against the FEC. That victory in court granted this new Unity12 corporation the power to take loans and donations of an unlimited size.

Unity12?s self-declared goal is the same as Unity08’s, to shepherd the election of its very own President and Vice President of the United States:

The goal of the Unity12 Task Force is to set the stage for an effort to nominate a Unity Ticket for President and Vice-President of the United States in 2012. This ticket will be headed by a woman and or man from each major party or by an independent who presents a Unity Team from both parties. We also aim to effect major change and reform in the 2012 national elections by influencing the major parties to adopt the core features of our national agenda.

Unity12 wants to stick its fingers into the selection process for the most powerful position on Earth. This makes the Unity 12 Task Force’s business our business.

Speaking of business, the Unity12 Task Force submitted its first quarterly report of donations and expenditures just yesterday, covering the 2nd quarter of 2010, from the day the Unity12 Task Force incorporated (April 6, 2010) up to June 30, 2010.

According to that report, in its first three months, the Unity12 Task Force has raised $400,000 — an impressive dollar amount. The entirety of that $400,000 in seed money has been donated to Unity12 by just one man, Peter Ackerman. Ackerman worked as an investment banker arranging leveraged buy outs of struggling corporations at Drexel Burnham Lambert before becoming the managing director of Rockport Capital. Currently, Robert Ackerman is managing director of the Crown Capital Group, a self-described “boutique investment firm” specializing in leveraged buyouts and takeover efforts at corporations such as the marketing giant Emak, over which Ackerman’s Crown Emak LLP ownership group fixed its control just last month. In this effort, Ackerman displayed his interest in maintaining control:

EMAK’s own lawyer testified: “What Mr. Ackerman said to us, directly, which I conveyed to the board members afterwards was, I am not prepared to stand still. I will, in fact, exercise my will on this corporation.” Even Holbrook testified that Ackerman once told him that “he doesn’t take haircuts, he gives them.”

Peter Ackerman’s investment interests extend themselves into politics. Ackerman has worked with the Cato Institute in its effort to privatize Social Security and turn management of Social Security funds over to Wall Street investment firm managers, indicating an interest in pursuing policy advantage for investment executives such as himself.

Peter Ackerman made his donations of $200,000 on April 16 and another $200,000 on May 17 shortly after being named Chairman of the new Unity12 Task Force corporation. The mailing address of Unity12 — 1775 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 1212, Washington DC — is conveniently just down the hall from the mailing address of Ackerman’s Crown Emak LLC — 1775 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 1200, Washington DC. Ackerman has a history of using these 1200-level suites as home addresses for other ventures, including the old and dying Unity08.

Peter Ackerman is a major player in the Unity12 corporation’s leadership and its sole source of funding. Ackerman is an investor and takeover artist. What does Peter Ackerman want? I don’t know the answer, but it has something to do with the Oval Office.

8 comments to Unity12 Task Force Wholly Funded by 1 Man: Investment Executive and Takeover Artist Peter Ackerman

  • ElGordo

    Maybe a wee bit of homework is in order here? It isn’t hard to find Ackerman’s book on non-violent revolution online. Nor to read his fans and critics holding forth on his activities in support of bloodless overthrow of the most repressive regimes on earth. You could get your hands on a copy of the video game devised by this man and others to demonstrate non-violent regime change to visually-oriented young people in miserable countries.

    I liked Unity ’08’s premise, and the new-and-improved ’12 model seems equally brilliant, outside-the-box. I know that with a shared Oval Office I will be unhappy with half the result, but I and many voters recognize the virtue and utility of countervailing power. Don’t you? Or does the Right (or Left) have a monopoly on ideas to put the US on a better path?

    “Money never starts an idea: it is the idea that starts the money.” –W.J. Cameron

    “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.” — John Maynard Keynes

    • Jim

      Yes, I’m also familiar with this area of Peter Ackerman’s work. But I notice you have not questioned the truth value of the factual claims I’ve made (with cited sources) in the post.

      I’m not sure what your point is: that Ackerman is a nice man and should be trusted? I prefer to say that when any person is the sole funder of an effort to capture the White House, we ought to pay very close attention, even if he seems to be very, very, very nice (and not everyone agrees the adjective fits).

      More broadly, yes, I agree, a lot of homework is in order. The more information that can be brought to light regarding the Unity12 Task Force, the better.

      How can you say that the “new-and-improved ’12 model seems equally brilliant, outside-the-box,” when Unity12 has written a total of one paragraph to describe its activities?

      “The goal of the Unity12 Task Force is to set the stage for an effort to nominate a Unity Ticket for President and Vice-President of the United States in 2012. This ticket will be headed by a woman and or man from each major party or by an independent who presents a Unity Team from both parties. We also aim to effect major change and reform in the 2012 national elections by influencing the major parties to adopt the core features of our national agenda.”

      That’s no different than the goal of Unity08, so I don’t know how can you call Unity12 “new and improved” unless you know something the rest of us don’t. What information do you have at your disposal to make this characterization? Do you know the people who are running Unity12? Have you spoken with them? I’d love to hear about it if you’re willing to share.

  • ElGordo

    I’ll answer questions after you, thank you.

    For now, though, Unity ’12 is, obviously, new-and-improved because of the FEC win: no cloud.

    I don’t have special knowledge, but I do follow rotten-regime overthrow by peaceful means.

    • Jim

      Do you mean after I answer your questions:

      “I know that with a shared Oval Office I will be unhappy with half the result, but I and many voters recognize the virtue and utility of countervailing power. Don’t you? Or does the Right (or Left) have a monopoly on ideas to put the US on a better path?”

      To answer your first question: A Vice President does not have countervailing power against a President. This is a fatal flaw for a cross-party ticket. The only power a Vice President has independent of the President is to break ties in the Senate and wait for the President to die. Given this, how interesting it is to see that Unity12 is being born out of a media consultancy for Republican candidates and using a ballot gatherer for the Republican Party and conservative causes. The power balance in a cross-party presidential ticket is so unstable that any indication of favoritism will scuttle its perceived legitimacy.

      To answer your second question: Neither the “Right” nor the “Left” (nor the other sorts of political philosophies) have a monopoly on ideas. But I don’t believe that all ideas are equally good ideas, and I think one of the worst ideas out there is to take some kind of average of opposing ideas. It’s especially disingenuous for Unity12 or Unity08 to imply such an average would be equally weighted given the unequal power of a President versus a Vice President.

      Of course, right now Unity12 has just about no ideas when it comes to policy, at least none that have publicly expressed: all it has is a cockamamie process idea that came nowhere near working in the last election cycle.

      Finally, I don’t believe that a presidential campaign premised on the ability to collect unlimited sums of money from a handful of super-rich individuals (or just one super-rich individual) is an “improvement.”

  • ElGordo

    Thank you for those thoughtful views.

    Ackerman=Nice Man? Trustable? I suggest a look at his accomplishments and his detractors, his academic credentials, etc. And mainly his motives. He certainly has no need of $. He’s not seeking office. His political funding propensities, from the public record, are contrary to those of the plutocrats so many blame for the recent financial meltdown.

    I doubt he’ll be the sole funder of Unity for long. He’s into seed-money kinds of things. One cld compare him to Soros, but P.A. is a bit more outside the box. Your concern reminds me of a guy quoted in the NYTimes a few years ago:

    “They always want you to think outside the box, then when you do, they say, ‘What the hell’s the matter with you?’ ” said Mr. Legan, 45, a Virginian. NYT 9-1-05

    I’m sorry that because of work/family demands I can’t take my usual time for footnotes and links, but I have watched P.A. for 30 years. I hope Jim you will keep digging up what you can on him. An old prof of mine said: “The Facts are Friendly!”

    May I suggest you start by posting Unity 08’s board of directors. Hamilton Jordan was on it, I recall, and plenty of others who would pass your site’s political sniff test. Now they wouldn’t pass your income/assets test, but neither would Ariana Huffington or Al Gore or 1000 other liberals one could name. I’ve looked at some other I.T. posts and sense that you have pretty strict criteria for legitimacy.

    Since you seem to measure a man by the size of his apartment, check whether Ackerman is a particularly ostentatious mover/shaker. Kids raised with no family financial limits behave? Give ‘im the Full Palin.

    I’ll be reading.

    • Jim

      I’m not really interested in digging up Peter Ackerman’s private life; that’s his business. I don’t have an income test for an individual; when a person uses their income as a means to buy political access and power, I keep a close watch on what else they do. And I can’t look at his motives. Motives are invisible. I’m interested in his public actions.

      Read the Unity08 thread of posts going back to 2006 for a number of looks at Unity08’s actions and personalities of various sorts, with cited sources. Unity08 did the opposite of what it originally said it would do, which was to overthrow the power of insiders, lobbyists and big money by launching a grassroots efforts funded by small donations. Hamilton Jordan, just to name the fellow you mentioned, installed his daughter, his daughter’s high school teacher and a member of the board of his daughter’s summer camp onto the Unity08 Founders Council. So much for the defeat of insiderism. The effort ended up being funded largely by hedge fund managers, investment bankers and lobbyists. Unity08 administrators hid that they had not only been holding talks with Michael Bloomberg, trying to convince him to run on the Unity08 ticket, but had even gone ahead and reserved Bloomberg campaign website names while they were insisting in depositions and in chatrooms back in 2007 that Unity08 had no preferred candidate.

      There’s infinite space “outside the box,” as you put it. I don’t recall asking anybody to set up a hypocritical fake-populist stalking horse campaign for Michael Bloomberg, only to complain when they actually did it.

      It’s not for nothing that I’m leery of Peter Ackerman’s plans, and it’s not just because Unity08 and Unity12 begin with the same word. In both groups, Jim Jonas and Peter Ackerman have been there right from the beginning. Unity12 may indeed turn out to be the Jim-dandiest of operations, and Peter Ackerman may have the best of intentions and execute those intentions with adroit skill. But someone should be watching Unity12, closely.

  • Not to be difficult, but I can’t seem to find anything about Unity12 outside of this website. Am I overlooking something? Or have they simply not set up any sort of website, etc. yet?

    • Jim

      Good question, jennyd, and you’re not being difficult at all. Their websites are forthcoming; you have to go to the IRS to see their disclosure reports. The only website that Unity12 has up and going to any extent is americanselect.org, which only has a nice American flag graphic logo.

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