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