In Positive Step, Americans Elect Keeps Two Out of Four Disclosure Pledges
In August 2011, confronting a large number of people asking it to be more forthcoming about itself, Americans Elect made a pledge through Chief Technology Officer Joshua Levine to provide disclosure on four counts by the end of the month on its website, americanselect.org.
It’s September 1 now. Let’s check in and see what Americans Elect has delivered.
1. Pledge One: A list of corporate officers and other corporate leaders of Americans Elect
Status: pledge met. See this Who We Are page.
This list is not as informative as I might like; it does not describe the positions of the dozens of people listed as Americans Elect “leaders,” and background information on these “leaders” is not complete. Still, a diligent citizen will be able to find out a great deal if she or he does a bit of independent searching on these names.
2. Pledge Two: A current set of Americans Elect bylaws
Status: pledge met. See this Official Documents page.
3. Pledge Three: Federally-Required 501c4 registration and Form 990 forms.
Status: pledge not met.
The federal government requires corporations organized under section 501(c) of the IRS code to make the following forms available the same day upon an in-person request, and within 30 days upon a written request (see also here):
* Form 990, the organization’s annual report to the IRS
* Form 1023/1024, the organization’s application for tax-exempt status
* Any letter or other documentation accompanying the organization’s application for tax-exempt status
Americans Elect may not yet have a Form 990 to share with those who make a request, but it has been acting as a 501(c)4 corporation for more than ten months now and therefore should have made an application for tax-exempt status.
I have been making formal requests for this information for many months via multiple methods, each of which conforms to IRS expectations. There has been no disclosure of either Form 990 or Form 1023/1024, either to me in private or on the website of Americans Elect.
In an e-mail written on August 22, Americans Elect Joshua Levine pledged to me that these documents “will be posted.” That has not been done.
4. Pledge Four: Disclosure of Funders of Americans Elect.
Status: pledge not met.
A number of Americans have been expressing their expectation that Americans Elect will disclose the names of the people who have been funding the Americans Elect 501c4 corporation and the amounts of funding that have been provided.
Americans Elect Chief Technology Office Joshua Levine pledged to me personally on August 12 that “funding will also be addressed at month end. i’m sure you’ll let me know whether it does when the updates are in place in a few weeks.” (These are complete sentences: Joshua Levine doesn’t write with capital letters.)
There has been no disclosure of either the amount or source of any of the funders of Americans Elect on its webpage. This pledge is completely unfulfilled in even the most tepid of forms.