“The Delegates — and the rest of the American people — are the true boss of Americans Elect.” — Americans Elect, “About,” April 2011
“We will never promote any candidate of our own — and the ultimate winner is decided only by the American voters.” — Americans Elect, “About,” July 2011
“The Last Best Chance for Campaign Finance Reform: Americans Elect,” wrote Lawrence Lessig across a splashy Atlantic magazine headline in April 2012.
Lessig has been as silent as the dawn on the subject of Americans Elect’s campaign finance approach this fall. But that doesn’t mean Americans Elect has been silent. Americans Elect has been shouting using the language heard loudest: that of cold, hard cash.
The three recently-unveiled ultra-wealthy funders of the Americans Elect corporation — Michael Bloomberg, Peter Ackerman and John Burbank the Third — spent millions of dollars in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 but couldn’t find 10,000 actual Americans interested in nominating a pro-corporate candidate for president. Frustrated by the indifferent will of the people, they have sidestepped messy democracy and decided all on their own, (without involving delegates as the Americans Elect bylaws and rules require) to shovel money into campaign ads promoting the election of Angus King to Maine’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Together, the three Wall Street figures have taken $1.75 million out of their own wallets and laundered them through the Americans Elect corporation into independent expenditures on behalf of Angus King.
Although the brief sputter of media attention to the matter has disappeared, the shunting of Wall Street money through Americans Elect into the Angus King election effort continues. Today, the FEC posted a new spending report by Americans Elect. It has poured another $89,695.10 into a set of mailings headed directly from the Bloomberg-favorite agency SKDKnickerbocker, housed in a tidy brown townhouse opposite the House of Kabob in Washington DC, to the mailboxes of people across the state of Maine. Each piece of mailing will declare in large print that Angus King is the answer to Mainers’ prayers. In small print at the bottom, the name “Americans Elect” will appear. In no print at all will the mailings disclose the Wall Street fortunes funding the operation.