There’s a lot going on this week with Americans Elect, the 501c4 corporation that aims to have its own candidate elected President of the United States in 2012. Let’s nail down one small part of the big picture today.
Thanks go out to Matea Gold and the Los Angeles Times for pointing me to a list of the Americans Elect Board of Advisors the paper obtained yesterday; I’m happy to share a mirror copy of that document with you here.
There are lot of very interesting names on that list. Let’s start with just one: Kirk Rostron.
Earlier this month, Americans Elect’s donations collector, Piryx, quietly posted an incomplete list of those people who agreed to be publicly identified as donors to Americans Elect. Kirk Rostron has worked within the hedge fund industry for decades and is cofounder and managing partner of a Washington DC private capital investment firm, one situated just a few blocks from the White House. Kirk Rostron donated an undisclosed amount of money to help start Americans Elect. Kirk Rostron has been awarded a position on the Americans Elect Board of Advisors.
When Americans Elect insists that “None of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists,” they do so for a very good reason. Consider the Merriam Webster definition of a “special interest”:
Special Interest. Noun. an individual, group, or corporation having a special interest in usually a particular part of the economy and receiving or seeking through political pressure special advantages from the government often to the detriment of the general welfare — usually used in plural — Merriam Webster Third New International Dictionary
If a person with special interests were to give money to Americans Elect, it would create the impression that such a person might expect a favor in return — and in politics, there are always favors to be done. Hedge funds and private capital investment firms have been trying very hard over the past year to change the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act to ameliorate regulation of their industry. Kirk Rostron has made his fortune in that industry, and therefore has special interests. He gave money to Americans Elect, and in return Americans Elect has done Kirk Rostron a favor; he’s now one of Americans Elect’s special advisors.
Here’s today’s question for Americans Elect, submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by online form, and in a telephone message left at their contact number 541-933-5328:
How does Americans Elect explain its receipt of an undisclosed amount of money from Kirk Rostron and its awarding him a position on the Americans Elect Board of Advisors in light of the public declaration by Americans Elect that "None of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists"?