There are only 10 people who like Americans Elect, and that’s by design.
Americans Elect is a political party working as we speak to put its own presidential ticket on the ballot in 2012. In a striking break in strategy from its previous effort under the name of Unity08, the Americans Elect party is gaining ballot access privately, without press releases or news conferences or celebrity spokespeople or glowing magazine articles written by personal friends. The private ballot access campaign has the advantage of simplicity and a top-down corporate command structure, and is made possible for Americans Elect thanks to Rockport Capital investment executive Peter Ackerman, who has wholly funded Americans Elect with a series of contributions totaling $1.55 million (2q/3q). Any public relations campaign can come after the reality of an Americans Elect presidential campaign is a fait accompli.
With its ballot organizing taking place out of the public eye, Americans Elect does not have many Facebook friends who have “liked” the group simply because most Americans have no idea Americans Elect exists. Most of the 10 people who have “liked” Americans Elect on Facebook are involved some aspect of the political industry touching Americans Elect. There’s Lee Hall, IT manager at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress where Americans Elect Director Kahlil Byrd has a position. There’s Sarah Jancich, technical director of Home Front Communications, a Washington DC internet development team for political-civic groups. There’s Jim Jonas, webmaster and strategic planning consultant for Americans Elect. And then there’s Kellen Arno, the Secretary and ballot access contractor for Americans Elect.
Jonas and Arno also both “like” No Labels. Like Americans Elect, No Labels has not yet made a public launch; this will come in December 2010, just before Americans Elect makes its own launch. Like Americans Elect, No Labels is an organization that is trying to build support for “common sense” “centrist” politics, which No Labels defines in its various posts as the creation of pro-business economic policy. Like Americans Elect’s predecessor Unity08, No Labels has recruited students improbably distributed apart from one another and from corporate headquarters, placing them on a highly visible list of “citizen leaders.” And interestingly, one of the 11 questions in No Labels’ FAQ is “Is No Labels trying to start a third party or support an independent for president?” No Labels insists that within the bounds of its 501(c)(4) organization, the answer is no.
Unlike the Americans Elect as we know it today, No Labels is a 501(c)(4) political corporation that is not required to list its donors (and has not done so voluntarily). Unlike Americans Elect, No Labels has not yet disclosed the names of its highest-level corporate leadership and has not yet disclosed its pattern of expenditures. I’ve made three different communications to No Labels in the past month asking for this and other information. No Labels has not responded to any of these communications.
If you have any information about the workings and aspirations of No Labels behind the scenes, I’d appreciate it if you’d share what you know. Public corporations that aspire to change the shape of American politics should be transparent about the sources of their wealth and the nature of their aims.