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Americans Elect Shuts Down as 527, Begins Life as No-Disclosure 501c4

Americans Elect is dead. Long live Americans Elect.

Last month, I noted a oddity: while Americans Elect continued in its activity to organize its very own presidential campaign for the year 2012, it had apparently terminated its own existence. As a corporation organized under Section 527 of IRS code, Americans Elect filed a “final notice” on October 2, a notification to the IRS that it had ceased to exist.

For a dead corporation, Americans Elect sure has been active. It’s hired a Communications Manager and apparently appointed a new Secretary, released a new statement of purpose, gained status as a political party in the state of Nevada, and according to anecdotal reports started gathering signatures to put Americans Elect on the presidential ballot. Its corporate leadership has gone out of its way to “like” Americans Elect’s facebook page. A dead corporation shouldn’t be moving around like this.

The resolution of this disjuncture can be found in amended filings of Americans Elect with the states in which it means to do business. The corporate bylaws of Americans Elect as of September 13, 2010 indicated a commitment to act as an IRS Section 527 corporation:

Americans Elect bylaws, as of September 13 2010: Exempt Status.  Notwithstanding any provision in these Bylaws or in the Corporation's Articles of Incorporation, the Corporation shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by an organization exempt from federal income tax as an organization described in Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now in effect or may hereafter be amended, or the corresponding provision of any future tax code.

This commitment matches Americans Elect’s disclosures of its one donor, Peter Ackerman, in 2nd and 3rd quarter 2010 527-compliant disclosures to the IRS. But in a November 15, 2010 filing with the state of Utah, and in another filing with the state of Maine on November 12, 2010, Americans Elect indicated a change in the corporation to 501c4 status:

Americans Elect is now a 501(c)(4) organization according to Utah filing

The change in Americans Elect corporate status was made on September 30, 2010 at a meeting of the Americans Elect board of directors:

The Americans Elect Corporate Board of Directors met on September 30 2010 to reform as a Section 501c4 organization

What’s are the differences between a Section 527 organization and a Section 501c4 organization? Here’s one: a Section 527 organization must report the sources of its funding. A section 501c4 organization doesn’t have to tell the public who its donors are.

The choice of September 30, 2010 as the date for Americans Elect to make its change is consequential. September 30 was the last day of the 3rd quarter reporting period for Section 527 disclosures. If Americans Elect asserts its existence as a Section 510c4 from October 1, 2010 onward, then it won’t have to disclose the source of its money any longer.

Through this change, the Americans Elect 501c4 corporation has maintained its goal: to arrange the election of the next President of the United States of America, the single most powerful person on the planet. If Americans Elect has its way, you may never know the names of the people funding it.

1 comment to Americans Elect Shuts Down as 527, Begins Life as No-Disclosure 501c4

  • Tom

    They couldn’t take the heat of you “investigating” them. So now, like the federal government, it’s all behind closed doors with no transparency, so it’s all propaganda by them now (as we have no way of checking on the validity of their statements).

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