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Americans Elect Candidate Ejection Committee Chaired by FBI, CIA, Military Research Chiefs

You read that right. But before you find out who they are, consider what they will do.

What the Americans Elect Candidate Ejection Committee Does
Americans Elect is the first-ever effort by an American corporation to run its own privatized online presidential nomination. Votes on the first ballot will begin in 124 days, and you’re supposed to be able to make a choice — but only between alternatives that the Americans Elect corporation deems acceptable. The self-appointed Americans Elect corporate Board of Directors will appoint a Candidate Certification Committee, which serves at the corporate board’s pleasure, can be reshuffled at the corporate board’s will, and is empowered in two ways to reject candidates that it does not consider suitable. Certification doesn’t sound so bad, but it has a complement: decertification, exclusion, ejection. This is a Candidate Ejection Committee.

According to the corporate bylaws of Americans Elect, the first standard by which the Candidate Certification Committee can eject a presidential candidate who voters might otherwise support is by deeming them “incapable of performing the duties of president”:

Section 5.4. Candidate Certification Committee.

5.4.1. Purpose. The Candidate Certification Committee shall be responsible for certifying that candidates and draftees for the offices and president and vice president meet all constitutional eligibility, as well as to develop and apply criteria of demonstrated achievements based on qualifications of past presidents and vice presidents to ensure that only persons capable of performing the duties of president and vice president are eligible for voting by the registered Delegates…

In other words, this committee, appointed by the Americans Elect Board of Directors (which in turn is only appointed by itself), will decide whether presidential aspirants fit their “criteria” and are “capable” enough to be considered by the delegates.

According to Rule 8.0 of the Draft Rules of Americans Elect, the second standard by which the Candidate Certification Committee can eject a presidential ticket that voters might otherwise support is by deeming it to be ideologically incorrect:

Subject to reversal by vote of 2/3 of all Delegates, the Candidate Certification Committee shall determine whether any proposed ticket is balanced by reference to candidates’ responses to the Platform of Questions within fourteen days after the final Qualifying Ballot, or such further time as the Board may allow.

The Platform of Questions is an ideological litmus test asking questions regarding various issue positions. The final content of these questions will be determined by the corporate-board-appointed Platform of Questions Committee (see Rule 2.1.3.2). If the Candidate Certification Committee determines a ticket to be unbalanced, then out it goes, even if Americans Elect delegates would otherwise support it.

Delegates can hypothetically overturn these decisions — but it would take a 2/3 vote by all people who have ever signed up online to be delegates. This includes all the people who sign up to be delegates on a whim and then forget about it, and as anyone who’s spent time online knows, that portion online tends to be high. All the people who don’t show up for the vote will be counted as if they would like to keep the committee’s decision as it is. Check out turnout statistics for national elections over the last fifty years (courtesy U.S. Elections Project). As you can see below, not once in the last fifty years have 2/3 of registered voters ever turned out to vote.

Human behavior virtually guarantees that the decisions of its Candidate Ejection Committee will never be overturned.

Who the Candidate Ejection Committee is
So who will be sitting on this candidate ejection committee? Americans Elect has just named the first three committee members. They are:

Larry Diamond
— Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Stanford University
Member, Council on Foreign Relations

William Webster
— Former Chairman of the Board, RAND Corporation
— Former Director, FBI
— Former Director, CIA
Chairman, Homeland Security and Advisory Council to the United States Goverment
Member, Council on Foreign Relations

James Thomson
Former staffer, National Security Council and Department of Defense
President of RAND Corporation until last month
Member, Council on Foreign Relations

What is the RAND Corporation? It’s an ostensibly independent non-profit organization that was founded by the U.S. Air Force, is funded by seven different units of the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security, and houses three different federally funded research and development centers on military matters.

All on the Council on Foreign Relations. One a major intelligence chief. Another a major player in military policy and research contracts. What interesting choices to decide what presidential candidates the rest of us should be able to choose between.

11 comments to Americans Elect Candidate Ejection Committee Chaired by FBI, CIA, Military Research Chiefs

  • qs

    Amazing work Jim. This site is a diamond in the rough on the world wide web.

  • Scott

    I jumped into the AE site like a fish in water thinking that we’d finally found our Wikipedia meets Democracy moment. Your site has removed the veil for me. I just deleted my profile/account at AE. Rand Corporation is one of the most vile, war-mongering outfits in the world. No one with half a heart would align with this group, let alone put them on as the overlords. Disgusting.

    Thank you for this incredible journalism! Keep up the vital work.

  • Daniel

    I’m skeptical of American Elect’s motivations as well, but all of the criticism I’ve seen of it online is pretty short-sighted.

    I don’t think we need to stop the presses because a group of people got together to build a political organization and they want to make sure that they don’t put Micky Mouse on the presidential ticket.

    • Fruktata

      I don’t think we need to stop the presses because a tiny group of Wall Street financial elites got together to build a political organization and they want to make sure that they don’t put someone who doesn’t represent their personal interests, and so have given themselves veto power over the nomination process of an entire new nationwide political party.

      No, I don’t think we need to stop the presses. People don’t read paper news sources much any more. I think we need to flood the Internet with warnings about Americans Elect.

  • Bill

    Americans Elect Corporation’s jingle, “Pick a President, Not a Party,” won out over the slightly more accurate but arguably less catchy alternative, “Pick a President From The Following Short List Approved By Junk Bond Billionaire Peter Ackerman and His Political Operative Buddies.”

  • Great stuff. And UGLY. They really think they can get away with it. What they may not have anticipated is the real possibility that We the People Reform Coalition might actually attract 100 million voters who swamp Americans Elect and make it vastly more useful and righteous than its junk bond sponsor ever imagined possible.

  • Joyce

    Jim, are you on twitter? Or is there an Americans Elect watch on twitter?
    Thats the best way to reach the OCW folks and others who might be courted by AE.

    Also, I sent an email to IRT, but would ask you to consider a list of the articles on AE, with links, for those just now tuning in.

    Do you think POTUS will pick SCOTUS in 2012?

    Thank you for this important research.

  • Pam

    You wrote: “Delegates can hypothetically overturn these decisions — but it would take a 2/3 vote by all people who have ever signed up online to be delegates.” and then cite the turnout stats to represent how unlikely a 2/3 vote might be.

    There’s a more fundamental point: AE controls the voting mechanism utterly. It’s not auditable. It won’t be audited. There’s no way to confirm whether 2/3 of delegates (or any number of them) agree or disagree with such a decision. Their internet voting scheme cannot be checked by the public, by the delegates, by the media… no one. It’s “voting theater” — nothing more.

  • Rick

    Has anyone looked at their vetting process.
    Did Ackerman do any checking before he hired APC?
    Michael Arno’s misjudgements and misconduct as it relates to peoples private information, his associations with internet predators, and the ‘famous Arno porn collection’ (he stopped bragging about that around the same time this contract started) are all common knowledge and public record. Add to that a compulsive obsession with Eastern Europe (a region famous for lacking any modicum of “Age Of Consent Laws”) and I personally would have found another firm, with less internal baggage.
    Or, was this leverage buyout specialist looking for a firm he could compromise? Everything seemed to change when Arno had to refund nearly $30,000.00 (opensecrets.org). This wasn’t the only time clients demanded refunds from Mike Arno. It had become a regular occurance, along with unpaid vendors, since the death of Bill Arno and the arrest of Rich Nicholas.
    http://www.kcra.com/news/9733457/detail.html

    Either way, I certainlly would not trust the the security of an internet convention with a big, fat, Mike Arno shaped, dying albatross around it’s neck. Just my $0.02 R.F.

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