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You Choose? Americans Elect Changes its Tune, Buying Angus King for Senate Ads without a Vote

When the 501(c)(4) corporation Americans Elect was trying to convince people in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to give it money and participate in its process, it promised that Americans Elect had no hidden agenda, no favored candidates. Americans Elect promised that the people, not its corporate leaders, would choose candidates:

“Your voice matters. You decide the issues. You choose the candidates.”

Last night and this morning, the following advertisement started appearing on TV screens around Maine, the state in which I live:

Minutes ago, the Online Sentinel confirmed what own my eyes saw today.

Americans Elect promised you that its process wouldn’t be rigged.

Americans Elect swore that its corporate leadership had no favored candidates, and even enacted official rules and bylaws to prohibit that.

When it fundraised, Americans Elect told you that the delegates of Americans Elect would be the ones to choose candidates.

Americans Elect official corporate rules and bylaws declared that in order to change those official rules, it would have to post public notice and allow delegates to overrule such changes: “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.” No such notice has been made.

Americans Elect has threatened to sue the pants off people interested in building local Americans Elect chapters independent of corporate headquarters.

But all on its own, without any change of rules as provided for in its bylaws, without any notice to its delegates, the corporate board of Americans Elect has funnelled half a million dollars in two days into advertisements blanketing the state of Maine with promoting Angus King for Senate.

Without any democratic process, the Americans Elect corporation has appropriated its funds for the direct and undemocratic support of a major political candidate’s re-election campaign. This is a direct contradiction of the principles, rules and bylaws Americans Elect committed itself to for the 2012 elections.

No promise Americans Elect can ever make can restore this broken trust. There is simply no reason to ever believe Americans Elect again.

27 thoughts on “You Choose? Americans Elect Changes its Tune, Buying Angus King for Senate Ads without a Vote”

  1. Bill says:

    Americans Elect Corporation couldn’t surprise me if it started selling ice cream laced with broken glass from trucks parked in front of elementary schools. Owner/operator Pete Ackerman is a freaking zombie. His message to the chumps who were suckered into making small online donations to AECorp: “It’s my money now, you jerkwads. You gave it to me.”

    But your last paragraph had me chuckling. “…restore this broken trust.” Har. “…ever believe Americans Elect again. Har har. I can’t recall a time when the trust was unbroken, nor when we believed them for the first time.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      For you, Bill, no, you’re right. But a surprising number of other people did believe Americans Elect’s rhetoric. For those who believed Americans Elect’s rhetoric, today marks an important moment because without a doubt now, Americans Elect’s core story about itself has been baldly and undeniably contradicted by its actions.

  2. AE Transparency says:

    AECorp’s Wikipedia page updated to include this interesting new incarnation. Thanks for the pointer, Jim.

    1. AE Transparency says:

      And BTW: we’re certainly not tax attorneys, but we wonder whether the IRS is aware that this tax-exempt “community welfare” 501(c)(4) organization is now spending heavily on partisan political advertising?

  3. Bill says:

    Meanwhile, outgoing Americans Elect pretend-CEO, Kahlil Byrd, told Politico that the donors behind AECorp’s pro-King media buy are Mike Bloomberg ($500K), AECorp’s own Wizard of Oz, Pete (“Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain!”) Ackerman ($500K) and Passport Capital’s John Burbank ($750K). The Republican Party has filed a complaint with the FEC regarding AECorp’s gambit.

    Amazing that Pete Ackerman can still find people with more money than brains who are willing to be associated with him.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      So Michael Bloomberg was a wizard behind the curtain of the Americans Elect machinery after all.

      1. Bill says:

        That seems inevitable. After all, indications are that Pete Ackerman created AECorp to get his long-time chum, Bloomers, on the ballot under the “You Choose” smokescreen. When, for whatever reason, he couldn’t seal the deal, the least Bloomberg could do for his old buddy was to toss in some pocket change as a consolation prize.

  4. AE Transparency says:

    Curiouser and curiouser: just when you thought AECorp couldn’t possibly screw up any worse than it already had, Peter Ackerman finds yet a new way to break the law and mess up an election. It seems that Americans Elect forgot to register with the Federal Election Commission as a political action committee before running this partisan ad (see the FEC’s PAC database). This fact serves as part of the Republican Party of Maine’s complaint filed yesterday with the FEC, claiming the ad constitutes illegal coordinated spending.

    Oops. Once again Pete Ackerman’s actions communicate clearly that laws and other norms are only for The Little People.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      However, Americans Elect DID register its behavior as a 501(c)(4) in making Independent Expenditures with the FEC yesterday. I’ll be writing on this in a moment.

  5. Joshua says:

    I wonder if it is possible for donors to AE to sue AE (possibly in a class-action lawsuit) for violating the organization’s own purposes and rules by campaigning for a candidate who had not been endorsed by the AE membership.

    1. AE Transparency says:

      Sure they could sue…but they couldn’t win. From Day 1, AECorp bylaws contained a trump card authorizing its board to “take or compel any action” they damn well want to. That trumps all the other bylaws, plus its pages and pages of Rules, which were merely window-dressing for the rubes. That bylaw was there for prospective donors to read on the AECorp web site, and parties such as ourselves loudly and repeatedly called delegates’ attention to it (always meeting replies of “oh, they’d never actually DO that”). Long story short, disenfranchised ‘delegates’ and pocket-lightened donors don’t have a leg to stand on. Thanks for playing.

  6. typingmonkey1 says:

    Almost a year later…and the complaint at the FEC still hasn’t moved.

  7. John Lewis Mealer says:

    John Lewis Mealer here. I grabbed the abandoned Americans Elect “ballot access” in Arizona to make a legit Third non-party [Independent] gubernatorial run for 2014. I am the only candidate with solid plans and MAJOR industry moving to Arizona if I make it to office. No more party-politics game!

    “I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.” George Washington Farewell Address in 1796

    1. Bill says:


    2. Jim Cook says:

      ‘kay, John Lewis Mealer, what are your *solid plans*?

      No thirteen paragraph manifesto. Gimme a max of two normal-sized paragraphs containing your *solid plans*.

      Ready… go!

      1. Jim Cook says:

        Note: although he continued to post stock appeals in comments sections, JL Mealer didn’t reply to my invitation.

        1. John Lewis Mealer says:

          Jim, if I were a lying politician I could sum up detailed plans in a few vague sentences. Let’s make this very simple. No paragraphs, just four numbered lines… AND I JUST NOW RECEIVED YOUR QUESTIONS JIM!

          #1 Use the fact that I have never been elected and as such have never violated my constituent’s rights and can then charge ALL other elected officials with the crimes they have committed (because I have not committed them). That’s my boot on the neck of the corrupt elected officials who refuse to work for anyone but themselves.
          #2 The industry waiting to come into the state behind a Governor who will cut the red tape. There is roughly $30 Billion in funded industry for the first year of taxable profits in Arizona provided I can cut the red tape and allow these groups to break ground without waiting to see if a roach is threatened with extinction.
          #3 My ‘OEISP’ jobs/investment economic plan… That will take four pages to explain clearly or you can download my 16 page Pdf from my website and read it.
          #4 Immigration/drug running/human trafficking taken care of in one swipe and allowing private industry (Private Investigators, etc) to profit from doing the work that the government cannot do.

          No bullshit social issues to deal with until the economy is flowing.

          1. Jim Cook says:

            Those are vague generalities, not solid plans. And no weasel words about how great men like you can’t sum up solid plans — I wasn’t the one who bragged about “solid plans” — you did that.

          2. John Lewis Mealer says:

            These are solid plans, but you wanted three paragraphs.

          3. Jim Cook says:

            Sorry, I trudged through your 17 page pdf campaign document (see link below) and I still have no idea what an OEISP is. I know it has something to do with brokerage and Adam Smith and hypothetical claims about how people ought to act if one believes Mealer’s economic theory of behavior and exclamation points, but that’s about it.

          4. John Lewis Mealer says:

            That’s just fine Jim. When this is put into visual, rather than a reading context, it will make perfect sense. The 9th grade educated woman who understood it so well would have graduated in the 60’s or early 70’s and her father worked for NASA when it was first created, so she probably had a stronger education than both of us.

            As I read over the document, I found a host of new typos and badly worded phrases. It’s cleaned up a bit, but I do not think you should spend your time reading it. Wait for the video and my TV sound bites on the OEISP subject.

            I know you will not turn it down once you understand it.

          5. John Lewis Mealer says:

            Adam Smith?

          6. John Lewis Mealer says:

            Alright Jim… You KNOW you have intentionally posted a very brief section of the “PAGE (5) OVERVIEW” which gives a precursor to a very brief portion of the OEISP (Omnibus Equity Incentive Stock Program), and although you are trying to be facetious, I will take your odd comments as a response to what you have not yet read in it’s entirety. We can assume most people will do that.

            I actually appreciate the challenge/suggestion (to make sense to everyone) and the needed push to post the videos on my updated website.

            The videos make page 5 of the book obsolete and the minor quote you’ve taken from the same page become a quick sentence with the sketches proving exactly what I am discussing. Most people, and not just those running their own business and losing money due to the larger publicly owned companies, can easily comprehend the video clips.

            **If there is no ‘set-up’ (P.5) to the OEISP and I jumped right into the nitty-gritty, the entire plan would no real sense at all. Compare it to reading the packages of an Almond Joy and a Mounds candy bar.. One has almonds, the other doesn’t. You’ve pointed out that I over-explained the almonds when they would otherwise be obvious.

            I am doing this without a teaching degree and explaining from an engineering standpoint as if I am discussing it with another engineer.

            The Initiative is also best comprehended by someone in the business world and who has lost businesses due to the laws put into place against them by lobbyists bribing elected officials to create laws that harm small business.

            PAGE 6 begins with an easy observation of basic business (I have found that many people actually have no clue as to how business works!) and it may seem as if I am talking down to people in the know, although I am not.

            PAGES 7 through 11 are clear enough for a local high school 9th grade drop out (and friend) to comprehend, so that should not be a problem. HOWEVER, I always appreciate people pointing out what is not clear to them. Please let me know… That is why we are in a discussion.

            I have noticed a huge blank half page from when I last re-formatted the book, so thank for leading me here. Hell, my teleprompter is broken and my secretary is no longer under my desk, nor is she typing for me.

            The only thing I did not clarify is how the traders make their fortunes by utilizing the OEISP as commodities and increasing the small business into a very large and valuable large business which can then go public. This was left out because the investors/commodity traders know exactly how they make their vast fortunes and why it is very critical that they invest in the businesses so they grow. *Both company and investor makes more money this way and as such, the state revenue increases enough to cut out state and later cover the cost for federal income taxes for all of Arizona (while we also cut off the high cost to Health care insurance (p. 12) and get the federal kickbacks for our savings.

            The Industry and the Insurance costs are already a done deal as they say.
            I may not type as sweetly as a $65 per hour Congressional Aid, nor do I speak as smoothly as some pretentious politician who has taken his or her 100 hours in “Public Speaking skills for politicians and professional speakers”.

            Arizona deserves better than that.

            Call me after 5pm if you have questions or even if you feel like cussing me out. That goes for anyone… Just do not speak rudely to my family.

            John Mealer

          7. Jim Cook says:

            I have no desire to cuss you out, and after having trudged through your 17 pages I have absolutely no desire to call you on the phone. I don’t mean that at facetiously.

          8. John Lewis Mealer says:

            “too” not “to”

          9. Jim Cook says:

            Here’s your explanation of OIESP in your 17 page pdf campaign document, available at :

            “Omnibus Equity Incentive Stock Program (“OEISP”- for private business. IE. Not publicly traded).

            3. Immediate creation of Secondary & Tertiary integrated-revenue economies;
            Accomplished via private strategic agreements between small businesses added to an exchange system used to
            increase output and provide security which allows for the creation of at least two additional tiers (4th and 5th ) of
            major, yet separate, ‘business economies’ based upon a revised method of commodity-based rapid business

            This ‘OEISP Trading economy,’ will -in effect create it’s own special need for new and expandable small
            businesses. Meaning, we’re bringing a Free Enterprise based NYSE/Wall Street to Main Street Arizona, so the
            little guy can literally compete on even ground with the corporate giants, before they go public. Businesses who
            voluntarily join and form an OEISP group will make their own choice to go public or not.”

            Erm, what? That’s as clear as mud, and a leader has to be able to communicate.

          10. John Lewis Mealer says:


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