In late July of 2011, a list of Americans Elect’s Board of Advisors was obtained by the Los Angeles Times (a searchable text copy of that list, annotated to include more biographical information, can be found here). On the last day of August 2011, Americans Elect posted a list of its leaders, most without specific titles, under the heading of “Leadership.”
Most of the newer Americans Elect Leadership list is the same as the older list of the Board of Advisors, but there are a few exceptions. Philip K. Howard, partner in a law firm specializing in corporate mergers and acquisitions, author of a book in favor of corporate deregulation, and New York City elite party circuit denizen, has disappeared from the Leader list. Five new people have taken Howard’s place on the list, and they are not a representative cross-section of American Society.
With one exception, I can’t tell you whether these people have given money to Americans Elect for the privilege of Americans Elect “Leadership” status; Americans Elect has refused to disclose the names of the people who are funding its political activities. But there is other rather relevant information about them that should be shared:
Former President, Walt Disney Animation
Executive of Lionel SDG Investments
Unity08 Advisory Council Member
Unity08 Donor through husband Edward J. Mathias (of the Carlyle Group, T. Rowe Price, Council on Foreign Relations and GOP Marketplace)
Founder and/or officer of four private equity funds
Member of Council on Foreign Relations
Appears in 6 articles of the DC Beltway social circle magazine Washington Life.
Former Vice President of Enron for Public Relations
Member, Council on Foreign Relations
President, Capital Development Company LLC
Founder and Co-Owner, Central European Media Enterprises
Council Member, pro-military Center for a New American Security
Vice Chair of Freedom House organization under Chairman Peter Ackerman, the founder and Chairman of Americans Elect.
Peter Alan Rinfret
Chairman and CEO, Iris Wireless
President of Rinfret & Company and Rinfret Associates IPO, capital campaign and asset management corporation
Co-Chair, National Finance Committee for John McCain Campaign
Advisor to Republican members of Congress Orrin Hatch and Bill Archer
The backgrounds and interests of these people would not matter if Americans Elect took control over its presidential nomination from its own self-selected corporate leadership and handed it over to the American people in a democratic process. But according to Americans Elect bylaws, there are a number of ways in which Americans Elect leadership can intervene to filter out presidential candidates and steer the nominating process. Because Americans Elect leaders are in such strong control of the nomination, and because the outcome of that nomination affects us all, the identities and interests of those leaders are of central relevance.