Pity the secret funders of Americans Elect.
Americans Elect refuses to tell the public who the millionaires and billionaires are that laid out the seed money for this first ever corporate privatized online presidential nomination. Why? According to Americans Elect Political Director Darry Sragow, if the public knew the funders’ names, then the public might criticize the funders for their actions. No, really: that’s what Americans Elect really says. You and I might call that signs of “democracy.” Darry Sragow calls it a “molotov cocktail.”
But fine, let’s accept for the moment that the prospect of people talking about your political activities is a “molotov cocktail,” that public accountability for campaign activities is a horrorshow that would crumple the fragile personalities of the richest and most powerful people in our society. Even if we accept that, there are still disclosures that Americans Elect can make today.
Without naming names, Americans Elect can disclose today:
1. The number of donations it has received, and the dollar amount of each donation.
2. The state or country of residence of each donor.
3. The principal occupation, if any of each donor.
4. The date of each donation.
5. The type of donation: loan, dollar donation, in-kind donation.
6. The amount of each loan that has been paid back by Americans Elect, as it said it would.
Unless Americans Elect is incompetently run, it already has this information organized on a spreadsheet or other database. Any competent IT professional could redact the names of funders and post the other relevant information in about an hour’s time. For an organization with tens of millions of dollars in its budget, this should pose no problem.
Also without revealing the names of any funders, it should be possible to assess the veracity of Americans Elect executive Kahlil Byrd’s claim that:
“The donors who have given to the project now — whether they give as little as $1 or much more than that — are supporting an organization where they have absolutely no undue influence over the process and rules for selecting the nominee.”
This can be established by providing this last figure, again without naming names:
7. The number of the funders of Americans Elect who are also among the Americans Elect leadership.
If what Kahlil Byrd says is true, this numbers should be the easiest to disclose: it should be a big fat 0.
I’ve asked Americans Elect to disclose these pieces of information today. Do you think Americans Elect will supply this information? Let’s hope the answer is yes. Let’s pay attention to see whether the answer is yes or no.