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Americans Elect Ethical Lapses Must Be Addressed At 3rd Party Debate

On October 23rd in Chicago, presidential candidates Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party will appear on stage together and participate in the most comprehensive cross-party presidential debate of the 2012 election. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama didn’t want to appear at this debate because to do so would muddy the waters of the narrow ideological stream within which they both work.

against the political duopolyIt’s fair to assume that we’ll hear a good number of questions at this debate about reforms to the processes of the presidential election. Some of these will probably be softballs for the four candidates on the stage, in which they’ll get to preach about the injustice of the dominance of the Democrats and Republicans, and rally the audience to cheers.

One question on the electoral process that needs to be asked won’t be so easy for all the candidates. The four alternative party presidential candidates need to be asked about Americans Elect.

Americans Elect is a political party that was established and is sustained with Wall Street money and is controlled, in spite of its promises of grassroots empowerment, by just three extremely wealthy people. This political party attempted and failed to use Wall Street cash to manipulate the presidential election, but is still actively seeking to manipulate other elections, including the U.S. Senate election in Maine this year.

Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson needs to explain why he embraced the Americans Elect Party earlier this year, using the resources of the Americans Elect infrastructure in spite of his earlier pledge not to accept corporate support for his campaign. Libertarian Gary Johnson needs to offer a coherent argument for how the deregulation-happy libertarian philosophy can address the highly unethical practices of a political party like Americans Elect.

If a question about Americans Elect is asked, it’s not likely to be a comfortable moment for many in the room, because a good number of third party activists were tempted by the illusory offer by Americans Elect to serve as a channel for an alternative set of political candidates. Americans Elect used the same kind of language that genuine grassroots political outsiders have been using for a generation, but did so in order to promote the interests of the most powerful financial insiders in this country.

The effort by Wall Street to co-opt the ideas of the third party movement is a problem that every third party candidate needs to address in public. The way that the candidates deal with this question would demonstrate a good deal about whether they could be trusted to remain true to their stated political ideals if they were to be elected to public office.

13 comments to Americans Elect Ethical Lapses Must Be Addressed At 3rd Party Debate

  • Cassandra Jackson

    I’d like Gov. Johnson to explain why his campaign didn’t run TV commercials and radio spots? How was the public supposed to know about Gary Johnson? What happened to the $1.8million he raised and the $303.751 he got from the Federal Election Commission? Wasn’t the campaign money supposed to be used for the CAMPAIGN? Their campaign spending reports show all the money went to Johnson’s campaign consultant, Ron Nielson’s, company. What have we seen to show for that money? Who stole the campaign funds?

  • Blaine

    “Neither the President’s nor Romney’s base is enormously enthusiastic about their own candidate. Most of their motivation to vote is coming from their distaste for the opposite candidate and what he represents.” – Robert Reich

  • Charlotte Scot

    I would love for you to explain how Rocky Anderson used “the resources of the Americans Elect infrastructure in spite of his earlier pledge not to accept corporate support for his campaign.”
    As far as I know Anderson appeared only in one debate with Buddy Roemer and a representative of AE. The event was sponsored (and paid for) by the Hammer Museum at UCLA. Americans Elect never contributed a penny to Anderson’s campaign nor did it provide assistance to him with regard to getting his name on state ballots.
    Maybe you have different information, if so, please post.

    • Charlotte, Americans Elect provided Rocky Anderson a simple system to get on the ballot, a system that was funded by Wall Street. Americans Elect also provided Rocky Anderson with a corporate-funded means of promoting himself to an audience of voters predisposed to vote for independent candidates. Rocky Anderson was promoted on the Americans Elect Party web site, and Rocky Anderson spent a good amount of energy promoting the Americans Elect corporate money system.

      To suggest that Rocky Anderson did not take concrete benefit from Americans Elect is inaccurate.

      • Joshua Budden

        I’ve actually talked to several people who become Rocky supporters after being exposed to him through AE. I’d say that’s concrete benifit. I liked Rocky before AE and still do. I do think it would be fair to ask him how he feels about his AE decision now. Personally I am glad that some undecided voters had the opportunity to stumble upon a candidate talking about the types of issues Rocky and Jill Stein talk about, even if it’s somewhat ironic that they would stumble accross that message on AE.

      • Charlotte Scot

        With all due respect, I think you are fantasizing about Rocky Anderson’s relationship with American’s Elect. Being a declared candidate on American’s Elect brought no benefit to any candidate I am aware of. Yes, candidate’s pictures were on its website. A big whoop! AE did nothing to help candidates get on ballots, AE itself had a place on ballots which, if a candidate had won its “election” would have been theirs. No candidate won… no ballot access was gained. AE fizzled out because people did not trust it. Rocky Anderson did nothing to promote American’s Elect. He took no money from it. He received no benefit from. He was very active in the Occupy movement and had fought for social, economic, and environment just for decades. The most money Anderson accepts from anyone is $100 and he absolutely refuses any corporate funds. Rocky Anderson is not a man who can be bought.
        Americans Elect is gone. AMEN, eh?

        • No, Americans Elect is NOT gone. It is currently spending nearly $2 million in the Maine race for a U.S. Senate seat. Nobody voted for that… except three Wall Street bazillionaires. Rocky Anderson stepped himself right into this mess of a shadowy plutocratic fat-cat corporation. He should be accountable for that choice.

        • Joshua Budden

          I agree that several on this site exaggerate the Rocky-AE relationship. Rocky did use them for exposure, seeking and gaining some benifit for himself. He posted on FB and sent out email urging people to register on AE. Once so directed Rocky supporters would have been asked by AE to donate money to AE, which now uses those donations to help fuel their agenda. As I said, Rocky is great. I still think he is a better speaker and has better experience than Stein (my second choice among this years candidates). He has been a successful activist and has led rallies and protests in a time and place when it was not popular. He has successfully pushed progressive policy in a very consrvative place. I won’t walk away from Rocky for dabbling in AE in that early stage of his campaign (in the wake of failing to get on the California ballot). There are problems with that involvement though. I think Rocky should be asked to address that.

  • Gladys Day

    I’m so disappointed in Gary Johnson. He’s so right on his opposition of the Patriot Act. So right on his call to legalize pot. But so dumb on his own campaign financing! He raised $1.8Million but had no media ads, no real campaign. 85% of Johnson’s money was paid to campaign advisor, Ron Nielson. Where’s the money now? I gotta good nose and I smell criminal activity!

  • Doing good with bad money.
    Complaints against the candidates here are all based on the idea that one shouldn’t take money from dirty sources. There’s nothing really wrong with a candidate taking it if it is clear that those funders have not and will not influence you. Ms. Magazine or NOW, I think, took money from Playboy but did not seem to forsake their principles. No candidate can check all their donations to make sure every donor is an angel.
    My party (Green) doesn’t generally take “corporate” donations, which policy is to try to look clean, though I personally think that donations from small corporations (like your local 2-person law firm) would be fine.

  • “Complaints against the candidates here are all based on the idea that one shouldn’t take money from dirty sources. There’s nothing really wrong with a candidate taking it if it is clear that those funders have not and will not influence you.” This is the premise upon which our current corrupt political system is based…the very system Anderson claims to oppose…and it is clearly a false premise.

    Anderson actively aided and abetted Peter Ackerman’s Americans Elect fraud by declaring as an AECorp candidate, arm in arm with Buddy Roemer, Michaelene Risley, Laurence Kotlikoff, TJ O’Hara, and other enablers. Without them AECorp could never have gained the brief credibility which enabled it to swindle small donations from hundreds, maybe thousands, of idealistic supporters. They all knew AE stank to high heaven, but were willing, even eager, to hold their noses and play along for their personal benefit. By doing so they completely discredited themselves, and earned what they deserved: ignominy…just as Maine’s Angus King is doing today, and as dozens of additional cravens will do in the next election cycle. Anderson blazed this trail, and has never yet apologized. He’s just another pol who talks the talk but won’t walk the walk.

  • Joshua Budden

    You can ask Rocky about his participation with AE this week on reddit AMA.

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