Chairs of Americans Elect Rules Committee: A Coal/Casino GOP Lobbyist and a Lieberman Democrat
Who is running Americans Elect, the 501c4 corporation that aims to nominate its own presidential candidate in 2012? Today, another little piece of information has leaked out.
In this letter to the editor in Sept. 16th’s Washington Post, Americans Elect has for the first time revealed the names of the co-chairs of AE’s all-important Rules Committee. Meet your new overlords!…
I believe this is the first we, the rank-and-file members of AE, have heard of the appointment (by the self-appointed Board of Directors) of co-chairs for the Rules Committee. Like them or not, we’re stuck with these political insiders, since these chairs are not answerable to nor chosen by the membership of AE. According to AE’s Bylaws, they “serve at the pleasure of the Board,” and the Board serves at the pleasure of itself (and, of course, its top-secret anonymous mega-donors).
Who are the Chairs of the Americans Elect Rules Committee? Meet Thomas L. Sansonetti and F. Christopher Arterton.
Tom Sansonetti is currently Partner at Holland and Hart LLC, a major corporate law firm, representing “business entities of all sizes, including more than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies.” Tom Sansonetti is head of Holland and Hart’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice. He is a major contributor to the Holland and Hart Political Action Committee.
A search of the House Lobbying Disclosure database reveals that over the last election cycle of 2009-2010, Tom Sansonetti has been active as a lobbyist for Peabody Energy Corporation, which is the largest private coal corporation in the world and a chief participant in ALEC, a consortium of corporations that writes pro-business legislation that are introduced and passed by corporate-sponsored state legislators and members of Congress.
Thomas Sansonetti has also been active as a lobbyist for the Oneida Indian Nation recently, nominally as it pertains to the Oneida Nation’s efforts to have 17,000 acres in New York put into national trust. That may sound like an obscure issue, but it turns out that according to the Oneidas the issue had to do with whether the Oneida Nation and those operating on Oneida land would pay taxes in their enterprises. The enterprises on that land include the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. The Oneida Nation, represented in their efforts by Sansonetti, specifically sought to exempt Turning Stone Resort and Casino proceeds from taxation. The Peabody Energy and Oneida Indian Nation lobbying activities have been the top two lobbying activities carried out by Holland and Hart in recent years.
Sansonetti has also been active as a lobbyist for the gambling megacorporation Harrah’s Casinos, on “matters pertaining generally to Indian gaming.”
When he’s not lobbying on behalf of casino interests and the world’s largest coal corporation, Thomas Sansonetti has been active in the leadership of the Republican Party, serving in the past as Wyoming’s Republican National Committeeman, as General Counsel for the Republican National Committee and as Chair of the Wyoming Republican Party. Sansonetti was a contributor to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney in the 2008 elections.
F. Christopher Arterton
Chris Arterton is an academic, a Director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University. He is also a contributor to the Reuniting Our Country PAC, a Joseph Lieberman “leadership” fundraising committee, and to Friends of Joe Lieberman.
These are the two Chairs of the Americans Elect Rules Committee.
Are they financial contributors to Americans Elect? If so, in what amount? We do not know and cannot know. This kind information is not disclosed by Americans Elect to the public.