Is Americans Elect really neutral in the presidential race? In order to preserve its appearance of neutrality, Americans Elect corporate bylaws require its Directors to refrain from promoting any candidate for President:
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.
Republican Former Christine Todd Whitman was appointed to the Board of Directors of Americans Elect, apparently during the month of October. When exactly that is, we don’t know — in no small part because despite Florida law that applies to Americans Elect, Americans Elect does not inform the public of the meetings where these sorts of decisions take place.
Here’s what we do know: on October 15 and again on October 17 Christine Todd Whitman spoke out in favor of Jon Huntsman in televised interviews. Was she speaking for Americans Elect already? Not in those interviews. But as early as October 6, Christine Todd Whitman appeared on national television to simultaneously promote both Americans Elect and Jon Huntsman:
The Daily Rundown’s Chuck Todd on MSNBC: Are you satisfied with the group of candidates that are running?
Republican Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman: Well, I like some of the group. But the trouble is that the one I like particularly, Jon Huntsman, doesn’t stand a chance of getting through the process as it now exists, unfortunately, on the Republican side.
Todd: So as a Republican moderate, and if you feel as if the conversation you want to see happen inside the party can’t happen, where do you turn?
Whitman: Well, one of the things I’m looking at and following very closely is Americans Elect. I think you know about it. It’s the new process that will allow for an internet convention where the people — Republicans, Democrats, Independents — can select a presidential ticket. And that ticket has to be bipartisan at the end of the day. It means that the candidates that will be presented will be an alternative. It’s not a third party. It’s a different way of doing the selection process so it isn’t just the party apparatus on both sides who control the whole thing.
Todd: So you say right now you’re not committed to supporting the Republican nominee, even if it’s Mitt Romney?
Whitman: Well, I’ll support a Republican nominee because, it depends, but it if goes to Americans Elect, and they’re going to be on the ballot in every state. If it’s a Republican I can support there, obviously I’ll be supporting them. I’m staying a Republican. I’m not changing party.
This is at the least an interesting coincidence. Is it more than that? In order to know for sure, Americans outside the inner corporate circle of Americans Elect need two pieces of information:
1. The date on which Christine Todd Whitman and Americans Elect agreed she would be joining the Americans Elect leadership,
2. The date on which Christine Todd Whitman actually joined the Americans Elect Board of Directors.
Americans Elect, will you supply this information?
I’ve asked Americans Elect this question. They’ve not answered any of my other questions, but who knows? Maybe this one will be the first.