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Elliot Ackerman says the names of Americans Elect donors are on its website. They aren’t.

In an August 1 2011 interview broadcast over the airwaves of the Wisconsin Radio Network, Americans Elect COO Elliot Ackerman claimed that names of donors to Americans Elect “are available publicly on the website.” That would surely be reassuring to listeners who might be worrying whether the group might be hiding something about the sources of money behind the first-ever 501c4 corporate presidential election bid. A transcript from audio:

Interviewer Bob Hague: Are the names of those donors available anywhere on the website, anywhere publicly?

Americans Elect Chief Operating Officer Elliot Ackerman: Those donors, if they choose to disclose, their names are available publicly on the website, and certain donors have the choice not to disclose.

I encourage you to visit the Americans Elect website as I’ve done tonight. I encourage you to visit every section of the Americans Elect website:

Home
My Colors
About
News
Give
Media
Updates
Terms
Privacy

Look long and hard. Do you know what you won’t find, at least today? You won’t find the name of a single identified donor. As of August 1, 2011 — after Ackerman made his remarks — the names aren’t there. The names of donors weren’t there yesterday either, or the week before that, or the month before that.

There is only one way in which Americans Elect corporate COO Elliot Ackerman’s transparent-sounding claim over the Wisconsin airwaves could possibly be true: if every single donor to Americans Elect had expressly told Americans Elect not to disclose their names to the public. That would make Ackerman’s claim trivially true.

Now that I think about it, there is another possibility. Perhaps by “the website” Elliot Ackerman means a website that isn’t the Americans Elect website, one with a name nobody knows or ever visits, like vogonconstructorfleetnoticeonfileatalphacentauri.biz. But surely Elliot Ackerman doesn’t mean that. That sort of statement would be disconnected from reality.

Moving back to reality, where are those names, Elliot Ackerman? Will you actually post them to the Americans Elect website so the world can see? Can you make your good-sounding untruth true?

13 comments to Elliot Ackerman says the names of Americans Elect donors are on its website. They aren’t.

  • Ralph

    And curiously, their question-and-answer system isn’t on their website. It’s on getsatisfaction.com. Getsatisfaction is a curious website. From the way it describes itself, it looks like it’s trying to be a system for businesses to use to form online social networks with their customers. That might not be so bad, as far as it goes. But how does that kind of model tie in to Americans Elect’s political agenda? What data do you have to provide to Getsatisfaction in order to have a voice in Americans Elect?

  • Walter

    Conspiracy aside, I read a comment from an American’s Elect employee on that Get Satisfaction site, that said, “we had to make some choices and focus our efforts on the website and its contents. we want to have a quality feedback mechanism for everyone, and get satisfaction is the best we can find. shortly, you won’t have to log in to provide feedback if you’re already logged in to americans elect.” and also, “get satisfaction is strictly a vendor of software we are using for handling delegate questions, requests, bug reporting, etc.”

    • Ralph

      You know, I’ve got to admit I was concerned that the names, emails, and political information on thousands of Americans would be of value to a for-profit vendor. But now that you’ve shown the good sense to put conspiracy aside, I can see how foolish an idea that was.

      • Funny you should mention that.

        Get Satisfaction Terms of Service:

        “By using the Get Satisfaction Service, you are granting Get Satisfaction a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable right and license to use, reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display your Content on and through the Get Satisfaction Service and on and through services affiliated with Get Satisfaction, regardless of the form of media used or of whether such services now exist or are developed in the future….”

        “Neither Get Satisfaction nor any of its Clients has any obligation, either express or implied, to make any use of your Content. However, if Get Satisfaction and/or any of its Clients do make use of your Content, whether such use is intentional or inadvertent, no compensation will be due to you or anyone else for the use of your Content….”

        Then there’s the Americans Elect Privacy Policy itself:

        “Sharing with Third Parties
        We may share your personal information with third parties for a variety of reasons. In addition to sharing your personal information with third parties who provide services to us, we may share your information:

        with third parties responsible for checking your information against voter registration databases
        as required by law and when we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights or those of third parties, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, or comply with a court order or other legal process
        in connection with a corporate change including a merger, acquisition or sale of assets.
        In addition, we may share aggregate americanselect.org usage information that does not identify individual users with third parties for any reason, including, for example, marketing or analytical purposes.”

        • Walter

          I’m sorry, these are the same type of privacy policies we see all over. Nothing in there says they have the right to sell my name, e-mail, beliefs or anything else. I went to that Get Satisfaction too and it looks like so many companies use them for feedback, like Amazon.com, Microsoft and Panasonic.

          • Ralph

            Um, Americans Elect says they can “share your personal information with third parties” in connection with a “sale of assets.” You really think that doesn’t give them the right to sell your name, your email, and the political content you give them?

  • Matt

    Petitioners in California are halting signature collection efforts. Rumor is that AE has enough to submit now.

  • Miz

    This is a spoiler effort to draw off Democratic voters. They focused on swing states to get certified first. They don’t need to get at 50 states. No intent to have these nominees actually elected.

  • John

    Here I was thinking of what a fresh addition to American politics this would be. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool to elect someone you actually agree with one hundred percent? Then I read that privacy policy… just a company trying to make some money. Why can’t shit just be what it says it is?

  • Tasha Jones

    How are you going to implement the security of this kind of system? Do you know who made the vote for a certain name? No, you don’t. If people are helping others in their homes or some public location you don’t know who made the decisio on the vote.
    You’re talking about virtual voting which won’t work.

  • Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you actually recognize what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also talk over with my web site =). We may have a link exchange agreement between us

  • Sandy Eggo

    I really liked the idea of Americans Elect at first, but what really struck me about their website first off was how un-transparent the organization is. There is no record of it or its donors in the FEC website. There’s virtually nothing about it in Wikipedia, nor about Elliot Ackerman either (you’d think at least there’d be something in there about his military service!) Democracy For America, the DCCC (ugh) and all of your average Congressional candidates’s websites are way more transparent and open than this.
    The process itself of “nominating” candidates is even less transparent– you have to go on Facebook to do it! Nothing on the AE website itself.
    The more email I get from these folks, the more I’m thinking they will “present” us with a nominee, or a slate of nominees sometime next year and say, “look, here’s your candidates, vote for one!” Well, it won’t be anybody I nominated, because I haven’t had the chance to yet… and I suspect very few of the hopeful rank-and-file supporters of AE will have either.

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