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Complete List of Questions Submitted to #3wayrace before 2/12 Americans Elect Forum. Will AE Reply?

Update, 6:53 pm: The succinct answer to the title of this post is “unfortunately not.” Not one of the questions listed in this post (or in the comments section covering the time period of the forum itself) was answered, save for a question posed and swiftly answered by Americans Elect DC co-organizer Ben Marcus.


The following is the complete set of questions submitted to Americans Elect via the #3wayrace Twitter hashtag as Americans Elect requested prior to its a 6:00 pm ET forum. At that forum, Americans Elect says its Policy Director will “answer any questions voters may have here.”

1. wjkno1 “#3WayRace – Americans Elect: Have you read and thought about this problem?
http://t.co/jJNzk8VG #PoliSci #cim #ows #ola #oo #occupy #OpESR”

2. jamesmcookusa @wjkno1 You ask an Important Question: Why is the @AmericansElect ballot not secret and could this facilitate vote buying? #3WayRace

3. jamesmcookusa @wjkno1 You ask an Important Question: Why is the @AmericansElect ballot not secret and could this facilitate vote buying? #3WayRace

4. jamesmcookusa Americans Elect says 2morrow it will answer “Any Questions” posed using the #3wayrace hashtag. Strong claim. http://t.co/boIpDBaB

5. jamesmcookusa Q: What are the specific characteristics of the “center” around which Americans Elect tickets must be “ideologically balanced?” #3wayrace

6. jamesmcookusa Q: #AmericansElect said it’d pay back big loans once voting underway. That’s now. What % of loans has been paid back? #3wayrace

7. jamesmcookusa #AmericansElect sez no sharing names of big funders: their feelings will be hurt! Q instead: how MANY people have donated > $10K? #3wayrace

8. jamesmcookusa #AmericansElect sez no sharing names to save tender feelings of big funders! Q instead: what are occupations of donors >$10K? #3wayrace

9. jamesmcookusa Q: In conf call #AmericansElect says leaders don’t know who funders are, then mentions discussions with funders. Explain? #3wayrace

10. jamesmcookusa Q: Y or N for #AmericansElect: Should Republicans and Democrats be allowed to take funds of unlimited size without disclosure? #3wayrace

11. jamesmcookusa Q: If #AmericansElect won’t disclose names of funders, will it release histogram with num of donors at each $ amount given? #3wayrace

12. jamesmcookusa Q: What is num of funders of Americans Elect who are also listed on #AmericansElect “Who We Are” leadership page? #3wayrace

13. jamesmcookusa Q: U Said Ud “answer any questions.” How does Americans Elect decide which questions get asked tonight at #3wayrace town hall?

14. jamesmcookusa Q: Platform of Questions does not represent Americans Elect delegate choices. Why? http://t.co/HV1e11IX #3wayrace #AmericansElect #ethics

15. jamesmcookusa I am an #AmericansElect delegate: “true boss.” Can I see transcripts of AE board and committee meetings? What a “true boss” gets! #3wayrace

16. jamesmcookusa Q: #Americans Elect sez “none of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.” Holbrook? Sansonetti? Whitman? Explain. #3wayrace

17. jamesmcookusa How will Americans Elect corporate board use “extraordinary authority and power to take any action necessary” in #3wayrace? (see bylaws)

18. jamesmcookusa No #AmericansElect draft candidate is currently on pace to make the ballot. IF no candidate meets ballot standard, what then #3wayrace

19. JackORourke54 How many draft committees will open up tonight #3wayrace. In Westerly, RI @AmericansElect

In addition, William Busa has cc-ed me on the following questions he’s submitted for Americans Elect to answer via the requested alternative means, e-mail address threewayrace@AmericansElect.org:

William Busa: Given that vigorous and thoughtful discussion is the essential backbone of democracy, shouldn’t Americans Elect provide a better means for delegate debate than the current third-party GetSatisfaction “customer” forum (joined by only 1.8% of all Americans Elect members to date, and difficult to navigate)? The current ‘Debates’ (sic) section of the AE web site does not permit “debate” (which necessarily requires back-and-forth discussion). The efficient promotion of wide discussion is one of the greatest strengths of the internet, so why isn’t the self-described champion of internet-enabled democracy, Americans Elect, implementing this? Right now, about all that delegates can do is click and tweet, more like whales than thoughtful humans.

William Busa: Allegations have repeatedly been raised (most notably by The Center For Investigative Reporting’s California Watch) that AE founder and chairman Peter Ackerman’s lawyer hired a Sacramento lobbyist to get a bill introduced in 2005 to change California tax law — a bill which a Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee analysis noted appeared to solely benefit Mr. Ackerman, at a cost of $5 million to the state. Such allegations of the behind-the-scenes use of private wealth to ‘fix’ public law for the sole benefit of one wealthy individual are of obvious concern and relevance to those who wish Americans Elect well. Would Mr. Ackerman please discuss these allegations and either confirm or deny his personal knowledge of and involvement in the alleged affair? If these allegations are substantially true, shouldn’t Mr. Ackerman withdraw from involvement in Americans Elect to avoid compromising its avowed mission?

William Busa: Please name all of the individuals whom officers, employees, or agents of Americans Elect have approached to consider declaring as candidates for the AE nomination (or, if time does not permit, please list these names on your web site). Please include these individuals’ current political party affiliations. If you decline to answer this question, please describe in detail the decision-making process within Americans Elect whereby such individuals, and not others, are selected as targets for these approaches without benefit of input from AE delegates.

William Busa: The latest news item posted on the Americans Elect web site is titled “Low Turnout and the Big Tune-Out”, and cites the unusually low participation in 2012 GOP primaries as evidence of voters’ disaffection with today’s democratic process. How many Americans Elect delegates have voted so far in the candidate drafting vote now underway? What percentage of AE delegates does this represent? Projecting the AE voting rate to date out to the draft vote’s scheduled end date, what percentage of AE delegates would be projected to participate in this vote? How does this compare to the percentage of eligible Republicans who have voted in 2012 primaries to date?

William Busa: To date, how much has Americans Elect spent per valid signature submitted in ballot access petitions? What is the total spent to date on ballot access signature gathering? Please identify the top recipient of these funds.

William Busa: Americans Elect has repeatedly promised that its voting procedures will be independently audited and that voting Delegates will receive paper receipts documenting their votes. Nonetheless, voting is underway right now (in the candidates draft) but no receipts are being issued and AE has not documented or even discussed any audit process. Why the failure to fulfill your promise? Given the total absence of voting process validation and transparency, how can anyone trust the published results of the voting process?

William Busa: What are the names and professional affiliations of Americans Elect donors who have donated or ‘loaned’ AE $10,000 or more?

William Busa: Americans Elect has repeatedly declined to identify its major donors, citing concern that its donors might be harassed. Given that this is, at best, a hypothetical concern, contrasted with the over two hundred years of ample historical evidence of the threat to democracy posed by anonymous moneyed interests working in secret to advance their personal agendas, doesn’t Americans Elect’s insistent secrecy compromise its mission by promoting suspicions regarding its interests?

William Busa: Many observers have criticized Americans Elect for the surprisingly anti-democratic rules enshrined in its own Bylaws, i.e.:
1. The Board of Directors is self-appointed without the advice or consent of the Delegates.
2. That self-appointed Board reserves “extraordinary authority and power to take or compel any action.” As written, this could include overriding the delegates’ choice of nominee.
3. The members of the all-important Candidate Certification and Rules committees, among others, are appointed by the self-appointed Board, not elected by the Delegates, and “serve at the pleasure of the Board.” Thus, the Board reserves absolute and exclusive control over the conduct and outcome of the convention.
4. The Delegates in convention can only ratify measures brought to them by the Board or its committees; the delegates cannot initiate measures themselves (such as proposed changes to these Bylaws).

Isn’t it a non sequiter to employ such an autocratic governance structure to promote and improve the democratic process? Why should we, the Delegates, place our confidence in a political organization which declines to submit to even a vestige of democratic process itself?

Let’s see if these questions actually get answered by Policy Director Brian Findlay and Regional Field Director Drew Hazouri, who are appearing on the Ustream webcast right now.

21 comments to Complete List of Questions Submitted to #3wayrace before 2/12 Americans Elect Forum. Will AE Reply?

  • 6 minutes in, there are 97 people watching the webcast, and no new questions have been asked.

    AETransparency has introduced one new question:

    #AmericansElect Please name all individuals AE officers/employees/agents have privately approached to declare as candidates? #3WayRace

    • Bill

      Perhaps the only interesting outcome of AECorp’s webcast tonight: suddenly, a remarkable number of…um…(cough)…sex workers?…seem to be new AETransparency followers. You kids these days with your twitter this and your facebook that. Why, when I was your age….

  • Brian Findlay has just declared that this is just the “first iteration” of the Americans Elect drafting process, and that there will be new versions of the process rolled out.

    In other words, there will changes to the process as the process is already underway.

  • Two new questions asked:

    We Are AE @AETransparency #AmericansElect Why are delegates prevented by the Bylaws to propose convention rule changes? How is this ‘democracy’? #3WayRace

    2m William Waugh @william_waugh #3WayRace please address your refusal to delete a draft committee that the leader says has the candidate’s name misspelled.

  • Brian Findlay explains why some candidates have pictures next to their names and others not: Americans Elect isn’t completely ready with its drafting software, because Americans Elect was in a rush. Candidates also can’t update their profiles in other ways, Findlay explains.

    This lack of preparation by Americans Elect ahead of time advantages “insider” candidates who had their profiles set up in advance by Americans Elect, another inequality in the Americans Elect process.

  • Two more questions coming in at 13 minutes into the webcast, with 109 viewers:

    NE Americans Elect @NortheastAE
    How can draft committees network? #3wayrace

    3m We Are AE @AETransparency
    “The first ticket that wins a simple majority…” Majority of what? Delegates or VOTING delegates (huge difference!) #3WayRace

  • So far, 16 minutes in, with 111 viewers, Findlay and Hazouri have not answered any of the public questions.

    • 1 new question coming in at 17 minutes into the webcast, with 108 viewers:

      We Are AE @AETransparency
      #AmericansElect color commentary: so far this webcast is almost totally information-free. You guys going to answer any real Q’s? #3WayRace

  • 1 more question coming in:

    Ben Marcus @benmarcus
    From Mark from Maine: If you start a draft committee do you have to support that person in the primary and at the convention? #3wayrace

    I bet THIS will be the one they answer, because it’s not a difficult question. Aaaannnd… YES! This is the one they answer. Only taking the softballs so far.

    Will the entire webcast be this controlled?

    [The answer is to Ben's question is no, by the way]

  • At 25 minutes in, none of the publicly-asked questions ahead of time have been answered, and Americans Elect is slowly losing viewers (down to 104).

    Americans Elect is NOT, as promised, answering any questions we delegates ask — yes, I am a delegate! — it is only answering procedural, how-can-I-help-Americans-Elect questions.

    This is not what democracy looks like. It’s also not what Americans Elect said it would do.

    Let’s see if matters improve during the webcast.

  • 1 new question (a good one) comes in from Mike Dexter, at 6:29 pm with 104 viewers:

    Mike Dexter @DexterousMike
    What happens if no candidate gets enough support clicks by April (or May, as the deadline may change)? #3wayrace

  • Another question comes in:

    We Are AE @AETransparency
    #AmericansElect: Only 1.8% of dels use GetSatisfaction discussion forum. Why not better promote open vigorous discussion onsite? #3WayRace

    Poor democracy!

  • To add further damage, really to themselves, they declared that if people didn’t have their questions answered, they could always e-mail Americans Elect. I’ve been e-mailing, tweeting, calling, sending letters to and even knocking on the door of Americans Elect for nearly two years, trying to establish some form of contact. I’ve been dutifully submitting my questions using their submission form at “Get Satisfaction.” That’s been the mode of other critical people, too. A big wall is what we’ve gotten in return.

    And… THAT’S IT. This forum, advertised as a way for people to get “any questions” answered, is done without one single critical question addressed.

    No real democracy at Americans Elect.

    That was not a “town hall.” It was a PR sham.

    I don’t think Americans Elect understands how much they shoot themselves in the foot with this kind of event.

    I think you can stick a fork in Americans Elect — it’s pretty much done. With this small number of viewers, they’re not going to change their trajectory, and with their refusal to engage in non-controlled outreach, they’re not going to win a lot of new people over. They’ll have to change their rules again in mid-process in order to get anyone on the ballot.

  • Joshua

    At about 03:54 of the video, one of the AE guys says that tracking a candidate means that you “subscribe to what happens with that candidate, you can follow that candidate’s actions.”

    I suppose that one can follow the actions of the candidates one is tracking, but not via AE. I signed up to track two candidates who are mentioned in the news every day, but I haven’t heard anything from AE about them.

  • Bill

    This webcast fiasco nicely illustrates the greatest threat posed by “internet-enabled democracy” when it is tightly controlled by a tiny cabal of autocrats: the guy who controls the mike completely controls the discussion. Not so in old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar democracy, where people physically present in a room can at least shout out their questions, even if they don’t get answered. On the internet, no one can hear you scream….

    Americans Elect Corporation is making a science out of ignoring, blowing off, or suppressing embarrassing questions. But those questions keep multiplying anyway. This will be the organization’s undoing, because no serious candidate for president would ever affiliate him/herself with an organization with so much baggage. Even Buddy Roehmer’s not declaring for AE, and he wants it so bad he can taste it!

  • John Lumea

    Well, based on past performance, what is there to say, really, but “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

  • When Mike Dexter asked what happens if no candidate gets enough clicks to be nominated, what the Americans Elect say in response?

  • Joshua

    In case anyone still wants to watch the video, it is available at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/20412896 — although it doesn’t provide a great deal of information.

  • Rick

    Their responses only to insiders is no surprise. Anyone who calls the front office with the most basic questions gets a sample of what we did to Manual Noriega.

    This looks like scantilly clad window dressing for a preordained conclusion.
    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 according to 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.

    No wonder ‘No Labels’ and ‘Unity ’08′ were such dismal failures.

    The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
    However, if money is the mothers milk of politics, then Ackerman is ‘Elsie the Cow’, and there seem to be plenty of charletons and grifters willing to do the milking.
    Just my $0.02
    R.F.

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