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In Violation of Bylaws, Americans Elect Corporation Communicates and Acts in Favor of Certain Presidential Candidates

Americans Elect, simultaneously a no-disclosure corporation and a multi-state political party, is planning to run its own private presidential nomination in the Spring of 2012. It’s a private corporate election in a very real sense — set up by, ruled over by, and administered by the same private corporation that benefits from it. This morning, in violation of its own corporate bylaws, Americans Elect began the promotion of certain people as candidates for President of the United States. From the bylaws:

Section 4.12. Neutrality of Directors. Board members shall not communicate or act in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for President or Vice President at any time before the adjournment of the online nominating convention of Americans Elect.

Section 6.1 Officers and Neutrality. Officers shall not communicate or act in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for President or Vice President at any time before the adjournment of the online nominating convention of Americans Elect.

A screen capture of Americans Elect’s new “Candidates” page, just after it was rolled out this morning:

Americans Elect Promotes its Top National Matches: Buddy Roemer, Dennis Ross and Trey Gowdy.  All Republicans.

It’s hard to see with the small type, but Americans Elect inserts a note above the portraits of Buddy Roemer, Dennis Ross and Trey Gowdy, three Republican Party politicians. That note reads:

“This comparative listing of historic and public figures is for educational purposes and is neither exhaustive nor an endorsement. Americans Elect does not support or oppose any candidate or candidate committee.”

This statement is an attempt by Americans Elect to get around its own corporate bylaws. But those corporate bylaws don’t just say that Americans Elect can’t endorse a candidate. The bylaws declare that Americans Elect leadership “shall not communicate or act in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for President or Vice President at any time.” It’s very hard to assert that labeling Republican Trey Gowdy, Republican Dennis Ross and Republican Buddy Roemer as “Top National Matches” for President is not a communication in favor of them. It’s very hard to assert that prominently placing large, favorably retouched photographs of these politicians with glowing backgrounds and American flags as the best “national matches” for President is not acting in favor of their candidacies.

Glowing photographs with American flags of three Republicans for President -- Americans Elect acts and communicates in favor of three GOP contenders

Is this not acting and communicating in favor of this trio? It would be hard to assert that, at least with a straight face.

But Aren’t These Objective Matches with American Opinion?
At this point you may be wondering whether it matters that the communication ends up promoting the presidential chances of Buddy Roemer, Dennis Ross or Trey Gowdy. After all, aren’t they just the best objective matches with American opinions? Aren’t they just objectively the best presidential matches for us?

Americans Elect would like you to think so. But what is this match based on? According to Americans Elect, the trio were selected because they are those “whose views most closely match a national survey by Ipsos Public Affairs on priorities and answers to the core questions.”

What are the Ipsos Public Affairs survey questions results? We don’t know. Americans Elect hasn’t shared those with the public. They’re secret. We’re just supposed to trust that the questions are reasonable and relevant questions. But really, nobody except those within the private corporate sphere of Americans Elect knows whether that’s the case. We do know that Ipsos Public Affairs is being paid by Americans Elect to generate and carry out that survey. Those who pay the piper call the tune. That’s not an objective process; it’s a pay-to-play process.

We do know, on the other hand, what “the core questions” are that Americans Elect refers to. We know for two reasons. We know because in September of 2011, without any consultation whatsoever with Americans Elect rank-and-file membership, Americans Elect decided on its own what the “core questions” ought to be. We know because this morning, Americans Elect identified in its own special profile of Buddy Roemer what those core questions are. With minor editing, they’re the same questions.

These are not the same questions that Americans Elect members have decided are the most important to them.

Among Americans Elect members’ own ten top-rated questions is a question about whether corporations ought to be qualified as persons. Americans Elect members think that’s a core question. The Americans Elect corporation, on the other hand, doesn’t think that’s a core question. Instead, it’s rating candidates on the basis of its own top-down corporate-generated question, “ENERGY: What is your stance on America’s energy needs? Do you favor investment in renewables or more drilling or some combination of both?”

Among Americans Elect members’s own top ten questions is a question about “the cost of militarism and empire,” asking how a candidate would “trim the bloated military industrial complex.” The Americans Elect corporation doesn’t think that’s a core question. Instead, it is rating candidates on the basis of its own top-down corporate-generated question, “REFORM: Should we make this country great by returning to the values of our forefathers or keep building and adapting for the future?”

The Americans Elect corporate leadership has carefully chosen its standards for evaluating presidential contenders as being the best “match” with America. The Americans Elect corporate leadership has then carried out an opaque process by which it’s determined what that “match” is. And finally, Americans Elect corporate leaders have rolled out prominent photos with glowing backgrounds and American flags that promote its top three favored matches: the Republican politicians Buddy Roemer, Dennis Ross and Trey Gowdy.

In short, without any input by the American people into its process, Americans Elect is communicating and acting in favor of a set of politicians. Revisiting the Americans Elect bylaws

Section 4.12. Neutrality of Directors. Board members shall not communicate or act in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for President or Vice President at any time before the adjournment of the online nominating convention of Americans Elect.

Section 6.1. Officers and Neutrality. Officers shall not communicate or act in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for President or Vice President at any time before the adjournment of the online nominating convention of Americans Elect.

… it seems to me that a process by which Americans Elect corporate leadership devise their own set of unrepresentative core questions, develop their own opaque “matching” process, and then promotes its “findings” about the best matches is in direct violation of the bylaws.

But what can I do about it? What can you do about it? Absolutely nothing. According to those same corporate bylaws, we have no standing to bring any complaint or corrective action. Americans Elect corporate leaders are free to violate their own bylaws without consequence. You and I are mere bystanders.

6 comments to In Violation of Bylaws, Americans Elect Corporation Communicates and Acts in Favor of Certain Presidential Candidates

  • Hooligan

    Each one a white Republican. The power of the people is really something!

    I hope at least one of the “Energy” candidates is planning to lend a hand to our shale fracking industry, currently laboring under those excessive environmental regulations. Just imagine what would happen if the federal government were to regulate 501c4 corporations so aggressively! We need to get the IRS of their backs.

    (end sarcasm)

    I’ll take a wild guess where these guys stand on corporate personhood.

  • Hooligan

    These candidates would suggest the possibility of AE splitting the Republican vote and easing Obama’s reelection, as the Perot campaign supposedly did for Clinton. If that’s the conscious objective of AE, then they’d have been wiser to have kept their hand hidden a bit longer, because it appears more than a little obvious. We’re still in 2011.

    But I forgot, “Americans Elect is not running a spoiler campaign.” Someone must have missed that the first time through the talking points paper… :-)

    On the other hand, if these leaders really think that running yet another fossilized Republican like these guys has any chance of succeeding, I’ll be really impressed. Folks who would casually waste their money on such an obviously doomed effort as this aren’t the folks you could trust to reduce “wasteful spending” in government. LOL.

  • You clearly don’t understand. American’s Elect uploaded every single candidate, then matched them to HOW CLOSELY THEIR VOTING RECORD % matches the national match on each topic. Buddy’s happens to match MOST CLOSELY on MOST TOPICS. That’s why he ranks #1. Has nothing to do with America’s Elect. See for yourself: http://www.americanselect.org/candidates

    • That’s not what Americans Elect says, Jill. It says the standard is:

      “Public figures whose views most closely match a national survey by Ipsos Public Affairs on priorities and answers to the core questions.”

      Are you saying that Americans Elect is not telling the truth?

    • Fruktata

      Yeah! See, it’s just that Americans Elect’s structure was predetermined to align with Buddy Roemer! See, it’s not a set-up so much as a prearranged marriage!

      And, we ALL know how much American voters have been electrified by Buddy Roemer’s presidential campaign. It’s just proof that Americans Elect has a bear hug on the national zeitgeist!

      Roemer fever! Haven’t you seen the crowds marching down the street in the Roemer movement yet?

      When will Irregular Times stop going around so shamelessly not understanding things! I’m outraged!

      • Hooligan

        Yes, a gushing groundswell of support.

        … or was that a gushing round well of support?

        Q. When you think about America’s energy needs, which of the following solutions comes closest to your opinion?
        A. Strong focus on offshore drilling and allowing drilling in federal lands including wildlife reserves

        Q. Which of the following comes closest to your personal opinion?
        A. Natural resources exist for the benefit of humanity

        It’s about what to expect given the sources of funding.

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