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Peter Ackerman Retained Executive Status at Rockport Capital while Running Americans Elect

When the choose-whichever-pro-Wall-Street-candidate-you-want presidential campaign corporation called Americans Elect made its public debut in the summer of 2011, it pledged to the American people that “We don’t promote any issues, ideology, or candidates. None of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.” See this snippet from its home page:

Americans Elect declares in July 2011 that We don't promote any issues, ideology, or candidates.  None of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.

Special interest, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a person or organization seeking gain through specific economic activity and standing to gain or lose depending on the shape of action taken by the government. Hedge fund investors and private wealth managers are market insiders who make money off of aggressive, high-risk investments. Government regulation of hedge funds and private equity firms has been a significant point of contention in recent years, making hedge fund managers and private wealth investors part of a special interest group.

Within a year’s time of its declaration that it didn’t promote any candidates and none of its funding came from special interests, Americans Elect would be taking money directly from the hedge fund Passport Capital and using that money to promote the candidacy of Maine Senate candidate Angus King.

A new report from the Federal Election Commission reveals that during his service as Americans Elect Chairman Peter Ackerman donated the maximum of $2500 to the same candidate, Angus King. In that record, Peter Ackerman continues to list his position as Executive of Rockport Capital, the private wealth management firm he founded before entering Americans Elect. Peter Ackerman was the prime funder of Americans Elect, reportedly putting $8 million of his private wealth into the organization.

This FEC record at the end of Americans Elect’s current incarnation establishes that despite its pledges, during its entire lifespan Americans Elect was run by and primarily funded by someone with a very special interest indeed.

3 comments to Peter Ackerman Retained Executive Status at Rockport Capital while Running Americans Elect

  • Tom

    Well, it was a good thing that you uncovered all the discrepancies, misdirection, avoidance and outright lies behind this political agenda committee (like that iteration of PAC?). Thanks for all the your work.

  • Robert Johnson

    There is an error in this post. “Passport Capital” is not listed by Peter Ackerman on the above-cited filing as his business, which it is not. Ackerman does not operate a hedge fund. But to the implicit claim that his involvement in Americans Elect was due to some expectation of personal gain, that’s not demonstrated by Irregular Times. We all have interests affected by government action. Besides, the original inside-the-Beltway definition of “special interest” was an industry, group or business which had federal contracts or subsidies or would get specific tax or commercial benefits in exchange for their support. No such benefit has been identified that would accrue to Ackerman from his personal political activity.

    • There’s no error, unless my sources of information are grossly inaccurate. Passport Capital and Rockport Capital are of course not the same firm, but both are associated with Americans Elect through the activities of their members. Passport Capital is a hedge fund, and it is run by Peter Ackerman’s Americans Elect associate, John Burbank the Third. Peter Ackerman is the founder and executive of Rockport Capital, which I state. Both hedge funds and wealth investment firms like Passport Capital and Rockport Capital obtain “specific tax benefits” from deregulation, as I state, which makes them part of a special interest group.

      Amitai Etzioni writes of special interest groups that they “have a narrow social base, concentrate on limited
      issues, and benefit mainly their own members”, and “are distinguished from constituency representing organizations, which have a broad social base, address a wide range of issues, and balance members’ interests with a strong commitment to the commonweal.” Clearly, by this definition, Passport Capital and Rockport Capital represent special interests. Grossman and Helpmann‘s book Special Interests and Politics, quickly becoming a classic, defines a special interest as organizations taking action to pursue the particular interests of its members.

      Search the House of Representatives Lobbying Disclosure database and you’ll find records dozens and dozens of capital investment firms lobbying members on behalf of their very special interest in deregulating Dodd-Frank.

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