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Formal Call for Reversal of Americans Elect Board Of Directors Decision #2, Letting Just 5 People Fund All of Americans Elect

Text of the AE-Mandated 500 Word Statement to Formally Petition for Reversal of Americans Elect Board Decision #2

[Posted to Americans Elect official “Get Satisfaction” feedback website and sent to info@americanselect.org, josh.levine@americanselect.org, nick.troiano@americanselect.org, ileana.wachtel@americanselect.org, rules@americanselect.org and support@americanselect.org on March 2 2012 — since Americans Elect has not made the e-mail address for the Board of Directors public as would be necessary to fulfll Rule 12.2 completely.]



My name is James Cook. I am User #385, a fully vetted and verified Americans Elect Delegate.

In this statement, I formally invoke Rule 12.2 of the latest version of the Americans Elect Rules, which declares that:

“any Delegate who wishes to reverse any decision of any Committee or Board may do so by sending a statement of 500 words or less by email to the Board within 72 hours after notice of any decision is posted on the Website. The Board shall then post the statement on the Website with instructions that any Delegate who agrees with reversal shall ‘Support Click’ the statement…. This process of Reversal Votes shall be the sole and exclusive remedy for any Delegate aggrieved by any action, conduct, or failure to act of Americans Elect.”

I fully invoke my rights as a delegate and call for the reversal of the following decision of the Americans Elect Board of Directors, first formally posted by the Board of Directors on March 2 2012: http://www.americanselect.org/news/3-2012/board-meeting-minutes-22012:

“Board Meeting Minutes, 2/20/12
The Americans Elect Board unanimously voted to ensure that no supporter would cover more than 20% of AE’s budget. In the event that any one supporter exceeds that percentage, there are provisions created to expedite repayments to that supporter.”

I am aggrieved by this decision of the Board of Directors because it permits Americans Elect to receive up to 100% financial support from just 5 people, an unacceptable level of elite corruption. Hypothetically, it could also allow Americans Elect to receive up to 100% funding from just one person, who gives money to four other people to in turn give money to Americans Elect. Worst of all, the decision does not allow Americans Elect delegates or the American people to know who the mega-million-dollar contributors to Americans Elect are. Are they Americans Elect leaders? We don’t know. Are they hedge fund managers and bank presidents? We don’t know. Are they even American citizens? We don’t know, not so long as the names of funders are not revealed.

To repeat, this statement formally calls within the allotted 72-hour period for the reversal of Board Decision #2: ” no supporter would cover more than 20% of AE’s budget. In the event that any one supporter exceeds that percentage, there are provisions created to expedite repayments to that supporter.”

I request a full initiation of the procedure under delegate powers specified in Rule 12.2, which apply to “any decision of any Committee or Board,” regardless of whether the decision is unanimous. I further request that Americans Elect rewrite its decision to:

1. include full disclosure of the names of Americans Elect donors of more than $10,000,

2. to include full disclosure of the amounts and schedules of repayment of donations of more than $10,000, including information about the sources of funds for such repayments, and

3. to declare that no supporter may donate funds amounting to more than 0.1% of Americans Elect’s budget.


Update, March 6 2012: I have not received any reply to my motion in the four days since I submitted it (a full 24 hours past the 72-hour-deadline Americans Elect sets for its delegates to communicate). But thanks to a tip, I found a chat on Reddit where Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd was holding court. I asked him publicly about this motion, and he promised me that he knew about the motion and that it would be posted at the AmericansElect.org website.

It isn’t there yet. If you see the motion posted there, would you please let me know?


Update, March 7 2012: In a decision a Vogon would love, Americans Elect has posted only a Button for people to “Oppose” its new policy

… without posting the text of the new policy so people can learn exactly what it says (no, not posting it anywhere),
… and without posting the text of the above statement as Rule 12.2 clearly requires, and as AE CEO Kahlil Byrd explicitly promised.

Functionally speaking, it’s impossible for any delegate to make an informed decision… a further violation of the declaration of Bylaw 2.3:

All Delegates and persons registered to vote in Americans Elect have a fundamental right to fully and meaningfully participate in the business and affairs of Americans Elect without any monetary encumbrance.

Americans Elect is broadly ignoring the rules and bylaws, its own foundational documents.

4 comments to Formal Call for Reversal of Americans Elect Board Of Directors Decision #2, Letting Just 5 People Fund All of Americans Elect

  • Joshua

    Jim: Although I understand your concern about having the donors not being disclosed, I don’t think that (a) the AE Decision #2 makes sense, (b) reversing it would solve the problem, or (c) that the proposed 0.1% rule makes sense either.

    (a) There is no way for AE to know how many supporters they will have in any given year. I fully expect that AE will be largely abandoned in 2013, possibly being supplanted by a different organization from the same organizers. What if only 4 people give AE money in 2013? They wouldn’t be able to comply with the 20% rule. A more logical reform would be to limit the number of dollars that any person can give to AE in one year or election cycle — the kind of limit that established political parties already have to deal with. If a person sent in a check for more than the limit, the treasurer could know that and send them a refund of the excess immediately, rather than waiting for the end of the year to figure out if the person’s contribution was more than 20% of the total income.

    (b) If you ask AE to reverse Decision #2, that means that the limit they have set would go away. Thus, one person could fund 100% of the budget, because there wouldn’t be a 20% limit any more, and that’s the opposite of what you want.

    (c) Setting an 0.1% limit would make problem (a) even worse. While it may seem unrealistic to think that AE’s number of donors will drop below 5, it’s considerably more realistic to think that their number of donors will drop below 1,000. Do you expect that at least 1,000 people will give AE money in 2013? Why would they?

    • Joshua,

      I think in your comment you identify a central problem with Americans Elect:

      Should any organization that is funded by as few as 5 people be stage managing a presidential election?
      Should any organization that can’t attract 1,000 donors be trying to elect a president?

      • John Lumea

        Exactly, Jim.

        Indeed, I think that the new “20% rule” is an early sign of money troubles at Americans Elect — a sign that AE finally has realized that it is not going to attract the “Yes We Can”-style groundswell of small donations that it has been banking on — a sign that, precisely because AE is not catching fire with the grassroots or with potential candidates, investors are getting nervous.

        More of my thoughts on this here.

  • John Lumea

    Note that the Board’s “20% decision” is posted on the Web site as a News story, but still is not listed on the Board Decisions page — even though the News story includes a link to the Board decisions page.

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