In a post made without fanfare or a press release on quiet-news Friday, Americans Elect introduced Kahlil Byrd as its new Chief Executive Officer. This is a big deal, considering the status of Americans Elect as the first-ever 501c4 corporation to try and elect its own candidate for President of the United States in a process that gives primacy to a self-appointed corporate Board of Directors. According to the Americans Elect corporate bylaws, the Americans Elect CEO is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the single person most in charge of the first corporate presidential nomination. Kahlil Byrd now appears to be that person.
Before its announcement two days ago, Americans Elect had not mentioned the existence of Kahlil Byrd on its website at all, but behind the scenes Byrd has been an active leader of Americans Elect for over a year. In that time, Byrd has been given several titles: Chief Operating Officer, Secretary, Treasurer, Custodian of Records, Party Coordinator, Director and Paid Consultant. But never until now has Byrd been named Chief Executive Officer.
It’s unclear whether Kahlil Byrd’s status as Chief Executive officer is an official status. Americans Elect is required under Florida Revised Statute Section 103.095 to notify the Florida state Elections Division of changes in its filing certificate within five days. Those changes include the names of officers and the bylaws, as Americans Elect’s July 5 letter to the state of Florida acknowledges. That July 5 letter updates the bylaws and informs the state of Florida of the most recent officer change, with Peter Ackerman as Chairman, Kahlil Byrd as Vice Chairman and Treasurer, and Wendy Drake as Secretary. Since Americans Elect’s incorporation, Peter Ackerman has been at the top. This would be a big change.
If Americans Elect appointed Kahlil Byrd as CEO and Chairman before last Friday, then it should have already informed the state of Florida of that change. But checking the Americans Elect disclosure page with the Florida Elections Division shows no such notification. If the change was made last Friday, then within the next week official notification should be received by Florida officials. Keep checking for official notice. If none appears, then either Americans Elect will be out of compliance with the law or Americans Elect will have fibbed to the American people about who’s in charge.
Watch for the news that comes out this week — or the news that doesn’t come out.
Why do details about legal compliance and honesty by Americans Elect matter? Because the corporation is trying to elect our president in a process it will be running all by itself. Technical competence and trustworthiness are essential in such a corporation. If Americans Elect comes through with legal disclosure in this matter, that’s a good sign. If Americans Elect can’t or won’t stay in compliance now, it will be hard to justify trust in the integrity of a corporate online election that’s just months away.