Update, 2:22 pm 2/21/2012: Until this afternoon, this article had featured the word “apparent” regarding the Americans Elect press release promoting Draft Presidential Candidate David Walker. I had suspicions that the press release might be fake, considering how brazenly it violates Americans Elect’s own policy against speaking or acting to promote a presidential candidacy. But the subsequent publication of the press release on Americans Elect’s website shows that it’s real.
What Americans Elect and No Labels Say: No, We’re Not Promoting Any Presidential Candidate…
The organizing documents published by the 501c4 corporation No Labels declare prominently that No Labels is not in the business of supporting a third-party or independent candidate for president in 2012.
The organizing documents published by the 501c4 corporation Americans Elect declare prominently that while Americans Elect is setting up a structure for a third-party presidential candidate, it is not in the business of promoting or opposing any particular presidential candidate:
See also Americans Elect bylaws 4.1.2 and 6.1.
What No Labels and Americans Elect say and what they do seem to be at variance.
What No Labels has been doing: Promoting Presidential Candidate David Walker
Friday February 17 2012, one Dave Walker gives his Twitter followers a news tip:
Saturday February 18 2012, No Labels promotes the policy writings of one David Walker by e-mail:
Sunday February 19 2012, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (who has published inside-access promotions of Americans Elect before) promotes the idea of a presidential run by one David Walker:
I know what I’d pay good money to see: an intelligent independent candidate just taking part in the presidential debates, because it would make both Obama and his Republican opponent better. One independent I’d like to see play that role is David Walker.
Walker was the country’s chief auditor, serving from 1998 to 2008 as the U.S. comptroller general. He is currently the chief executive of the Comeback America Initiative (www.tcaii.org), a nonpartisan group dedicated to getting America’s fiscal house in order. Walker — who came in second to Hillary Clinton in a reader poll that Politico conducted last October for favorite Third Party candidate…
… reader poll? Reader poll? Where have I heard about that Politico reader poll before?
October 6 2011:
October 8 2011:
October 10 2011:
October 11 2011:
October 14 2011:
Enough flashback. Spring back to Sunday February 19 2012, the same day Thomas Friedman published his New York Times trial balloon promoting David Walker for president, when No Labels sends out this similarly gushing e-mail endorsement of Dave Walker for president:
Monday February 20 2012, the same Dave Walker who shared an advance tip of Friedman’s article announces his humbled reaction:
Americans Elect, Promoting David Walker’s Presidential Candidacy
Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog has this scoop on the promotion of David Walker by Americans Elect, February 20 2011:
Americans Elect has an official policy of neutrality (rule 6.1) when it comes to which candidate should get the Americans Elect nomination. Yet one day after Tom Friedman wrote a fawning New York Times column promoting David Walker as a potential presidential candidate (without mentioning Walker’s membership on the AE board), I received this press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOARD MEMBER DAVID WALKER EMBOLDENS VOTERS TO FACE THE CRITICAL CHALLENGES OF OUR NATION
WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 20, 2012 – Dave Walker knows the facts, the truth and the tough choice we face in connection with our nation’s poor finances and other key challenges. As the nation’s former chief auditor and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office for almost 10 years, Walker has front-line experience in connection with the many challenges and partisan gridlock in Washington that literally threaten our nation’s and our families’ futures. Walker’s three presidential appointments from Reagan, Bush and Clinton, combined with his many years of private and non-profit leadership experience, and his engagement with Americans in all 50 states, led him to Americans Elect, where he now serves as a member of the Advisory Board.
Walker currently serves as Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, which engages the public and policymakers on fiscal issues and nonpartisan solutions that can achieve bipartisan support. Walker understands that Americans Elect’s online nominating process for president combined with its independence from the two major political parties has the ability to shock the current political system in a positive manner.
Walker is an author of three books, a national co-founder of No Labels, a member the Accounting Profession’s Hall of Fame, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Trilateral Commission. His experience in these areas make him an important resource for Americans Elect moving forward.
“This nation has faced great challenges in the past, and it’s always risen to successfully address those challenges. It’s time to do so again.” said Walker. “Americans Elect is providing the American people with more choice and competition in connection with the nation’s two highest offices. It offers an opportunity to break the partisan gridlock and to bring to life the first three words of the U.S. Constitution – ‘We the people.’”
“Now more than ever, this country needs truth, leadership and sensible, nonpartisan solutions to the key challenges that we face. The Americans Elect process will give every registered voter – no matter their party or point on the political spectrum – a say in how best to change course and right our ship of state so that our future will be better than our past.”
Let’s Make History!
This press release, available now on the Americans Elect website in confirmation, stands in contradiction of Americans Elect’s declaration that it would remain neutral in the nomination process. It demonstrates a direct violation of Americans Elect’s own presidential nomination rules.
It would be hard to overstate the importance of this act by Americans Elect. It’s just demonstrated that its promises and pledges are not worthy of trust.
Dave Walker, Pete Peterson, Americans Elect and No Labels
As for that “Comeback America Initiative” Thomas Friedman mentions, come back with me to its founding in December of 2010, coincidentally right when No Labels was founded. It turns out that through the end of 2013, “The Comeback Initiative” is funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and run by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s President and Chief Executive Officer. That’s David Walker:
New York, N.Y. — The Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF) announced today that President and Chief Executive Officer, David M. Walker, will be leaving the Foundation to launch a new initiative focused on promoting and achieving specific fiscal solutions. The new organization will be entitled the Comeback America Initiative (CAI). Walker will serve as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CAI, which has received a three-year grant from PGPF and will engage the public and promote fiscal solutions, including those outlined in Walker’s book, Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility.
“Dave Walker has been a Paul Revere on the unsustainable fiscal outlook for our country. He has done a first rate job of getting our Foundation off to a fast start and raising awareness of the critical need for fiscal responsibility. We look forward to continuing to partner with Dave as he begins this important new initiative,” said Peter G. Peterson, Chairman of the Foundation.
Peter G. Peterson is known better as Pete Peterson. Who’s Pete Peterson? A billionaire who has been pushing for years for social security cuts and privatization. Also, a funder of Unity08, which underwent a name change to Americans Elect (Americans Elect won’t tell anyone who’s funding it now).
As for the connection between No Labels and David Walker, search for “David Walker” at No Labels and you’ll find a dozen articles singing his praises. Search for “Dave Walker” there and you’ll find 18 more. David Walker is listed as a “Founding Leader” of No Labels.
Is Pete Peterson a funder of No Labels? No Labels won’t tell anyone — it has refused to disclose the names of its funders. But notably, No Labels has been noting the priorities of Pete Peterson with gushing admiration since its inception last year at the same time as the inception of “The Comeback Initiative.”
Click here to review a list of known connections between No Labels and Americans Elect. They stretch back in time to at least the Fall of 2010.
David Walker and the actual American People
Inside the Americans Elect – No Labels – Pete Peterson nexus, David Walker is very popular. But is he popular with the actual American people living outside that nexus?
In order gain access to the Americans Elect ballot, Walker will have to gain somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 votes of support by May. For about three weeks now, David Walker has been a draft candidate for the Americans Elect presidential nomination. With the actual American people, prior to the launch of a funded draft Walker effort, he’s not on pace to make the ballot. His current number of supporters after three weeks: 88.
Waiting for grassroots support for a Draft David Walker movement won’t get David Walker on the ballot. What would work? A well-funded effort by paid gatherers sent to stand outside supermarkets has worked for Americans Elect before. It could work again.
Given This, Questions Americans Elect Really Ought to Answer
1. Did Americans Elect issue a press release promoting the candidacy of David Walker?
Answer: Yes. The press release is available at Americans Elect’s website. This promotion of David Walker, issued after the press introduction of his presidential draft candidacy, is a violation of Americans Elect bylaws and pledges.
2. Has Americans Elect received funding from Pete Peterson or any person or entity associated with Pete Peterson?
3. Have Americans Elect and No Labels or their leaders or staffers been in communication with one another regarding David Walker?
I’ve directly asked Americans Elect these questions. See if Americans Elect’s leaders provide answers. They haven’t been forthcoming before. I hope they change course now.