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Americans Elect Staffers’ Connections to No Labels

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.

10 thoughts on “Americans Elect Staffers’ Connections to No Labels”

  1. Fruktata says:

    Thanks for breaking the code: “Centrist” = “Corporate Interests”

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Yep. Read all about it right here. Foreign policy to promote economic interest, education as job training, “economic vitality” through consistent energy supplies, etc. etc. etc.

  2. Solomon Kleinsmith says:

    If you had done any research at all into No Labels, you’d find that the organization they are tied to is Third Way. I’ve talked with several of them, did some reseach myself to see if it was something I was interested in putting some work into, I know where its going and I blog for them. Can’t speak to where the money is coming from, but thats the case with almost any 501c4.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      It’s possible for an organization to be tied to more than one other organization, Mr. Kleinsmith. Thanks for mentioning the possibility of a connection to Third Way. But that’s one of many connections through just one of the people publicly associated with No Labels, John Cowan. It’s not the only one. You might just as legitimately say that thanks to the prominent involvement of Kiki McClean, “the organization they are tied to is” Porter Novelli, one of the biggest PR and lobbying firms in America, with clients including the Japan Automobile Manufacturing Association, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, Pampers, Logitech, Hewlett Packard, BMW, Gilette, Reebok, Aflac, LG and Bell South.

  3. Ralph says:

    “If you build it, they will come.” More clever approach to drafting a third-party candidate than Unity 08 had–get ballot access first, then trot out Sam Waterston and his hyperkinetic eyebrows. Tricksy, tricksy.

  4. Tom says:

    Reminds me of the bad guy in Blazing Saddles, Hedley LaMarr (played by Harvey Korman):

    Taggart: What do you want me to do, sir?
    Hedley Lamarr: I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the west. Take this down.
    [Taggart looks for a pen and paper while Hedley talks]
    Hedley Lamarr: I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.
    Taggart: [finding pen and paper] Could you repeat that, sir?


    Taggart: I got it! I got it!
    Hedley Lamarr: You do?
    Taggart: We’ll work up a Number 6 on ’em.
    Hedley Lamarr: [frowns] “Number 6”? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that one.
    Taggart: Well, that’s where we go a-ridin’ into town, a-whompin’ and a-whumpin’ every livin’ thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
    Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
    Taggart: Naw, we rape the shit out of them at the Number Six Dance later on.
    Hedley Lamarr: Marvelous!

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Um, that’s twisted.

  5. Jim Cook says:

    Another someone who Facebook-likes both No Labels and Americans Elect: Zack Hubbard who, like Nick Troiano, hails from Georgetown University.

    Think this is a coincidence? Think again. Zack Hubbard also Facebook-likes a website called “Our Pike County” — that Nick Troiano founded.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Update: through his LinkedIn profile, we can see that Zack Hubbard has been working as an Intern for Americans Elect since September of 2010, placing his “liking” of No Labels firmly within the Americans Elect context. His duties:

      Americans Elect
      Civic & Social Organization industry
      September 2010 – Present (7 months)

      I produce a daily digest of the day’s news sent out to the firm every morning by 8am.”

  6. Jim Cook says:

    Add another No Labels and Americans Elect connection: Daren Bascome, who through his Proverb agency has been paid by Americans Elect, is another person among the small set of people who like Americans Elect on Facebook. He also has liked No Labels.

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