Americans Elect is supposed to be neutral. But is the infrastructure of Americans Elect being used to promote David Walker for President?
Look for yourself. Watch this new “Draft Walker” video featuring a series of college students:
I can’t positively identify all of these students. But without a doubt in my heart, I see the following in the video:
Publicly-available images of the above students confirm their identity and match the images in the videos.
Add to these the following Americans Elect Campus Leaders who within two days of the launching of the Draft David Walker website were among the grand total of 8 people who had signed the pledge to support David Walker for President (nobody else has joined in since):
I can anticipate the AE/DW public relations response, so let me clarify: I am not questioning the sincerity of these college students. I am not accusing these students of anything. I am questioning how they came to be part of the Draft Walker campaign if not through the Americans Elect Campus Leaders system. I am questioning the actual leaders of the Draft Walker campaign and of Americans Elect.
I say “actual leaders” because the actual leaders of Draft David Walker are not, despite what you might think from watching this video, college students. The co-chairs of the committee, Yoni Gruskin and Ryan Schoenike, are college graduates who are heading up two groups funded by the Concord Coalition — which is funded by Pete Peterson, who in turn funds David Walker’s Comeback America Initiative (see documentation of all this here).
As Draft Walker social media head Solomon Kleinsmith has verified in correspondence, leading the organization above these co-chairs is Georgetown graduate Nick Troiano, who stepped down as Americans Elect National Campus Director a couple of days before resurfacing as the head of Draft Walker. As National Campus Director, Nick Troiano’s job was to build up a stable of Campus Leaders on behalf of Americans Elect.
According to Nick Troiano himself, his Draft Walker effort didn’t exist before the week of April 8. How did so many Americans Elect Campus Leaders, along with Americans Elect’s National Campus Director, all manage to so swiftly be converted into Draft David Walker campus leaders? How did this Americans Elect resource come to be exploited on behalf of Draft David Walker?
Did each one of these numerous Americans Elect Campus Leaders decide independently, on their own, to join this funny group they’d heard about called the Committee to Get Walker Running — a committee nobody in the country heard about until this past week? The statistical odds of that are staggeringly low.
Did Nick Troiano talk to the Americans Elect Campus Leaders and ask them to make the move? If so, was that before or after Nick Troiano left his job as Americans Elect National Campus Director?
Was there some third party involved who communicated with Americans Elect National Campus Director Nick Troiano and each one of these Americans Elect Campus Leaders?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, and perhaps my limited imagination has been unable to imagine the perfectly reasonable explanation for all this.
Perhaps. Regardless, Americans Elect and the Committee to Get Walker Running should understand that this striking coincidence raises questions, especially considering that Americans Elect has an explicit neutrality policy. It would be unfair to the hundreds of draft committees currently registered with Americans Elect if just one of them were able to exploit Americans Elect resources. It is an especially concerning development considering that David Walker himself appears in the above video and is still (after an update last week) listed as a member of the Americans Elect Board of Advisors.
It would be in the best interest of Americans Elect and the Committee to Get Walker Running to explain themselves fully, transparently, verifiably and quickly.
Update, April 27: Here are a few screen captures I took of that public video before the Draft Walker Committee took it down, just to verify that the video did show what I said it did.
Update #2, 4/27/2012: Nick Troiano, without being specific about his role in this regard, is defending whatever action he took with the phrase Remember the Right to Free Association?
Nobody’s questioning anybody’s constitutional rights. What are being questioned are the ethical parameters of the choice to exercise those rights, apparently making use of Americans Elect resources while Americans Elect is pledged to be neutral toward presidential candidates. I’ve asked Nick Troiano to explain. I’ll let you know if I get an answer.