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Someone is sending Nick Troiano Feelers to the Mayday PAC. Will Mayday Bite or Resist?

The Mayday Super PAC, asking Americans to “embrace the irony,” is planning on spending millions of dollars (half from big donors) in order to promote policies that it says would enact “fundamental reform in the way elections are funded.” Some are enthusiastic about the prospect. Others are derisive. I am uncertain. On the one hand, the Mayday PAC is fairly explicit about the reforms it says it supports — vouchers and matching programs — and has released some data regarding its smaller funders. That’s promising. On the other hand, the American landscape is replete with groups that say they oppose big money in politics but turn out to have a hidden agenda. Mayday PAC leaders ask us to take their sincerity on faith, and some of those same leaders were involved with Americans Elect, which portrayed itself as pro-democratic but acted anti-democratically in practice.

This means that I’m inclined to watch Mayday PAC’s actions very closely. Does it act in a manner consistent with its promises and professed principles? Does Mayday PAC allow its biggest donors a special say in the candidate selection process? Does Mayday PAC select candidates who support a narrow range of policies having nothing to do with campaign finance? Does Mayday PAC send money to those who have a cozy social relationship with Mayday leadership?

On that last point, we’re about to witness a test of the Mayday PAC. Some time this week, the Mayday PAC is scheduled to announce the roster of Congressional candidates it will support with its unlimited “independent” spending. One candidate for Congress, Nick Troiano, is a close Americans Elect colleague of Mayday PAC Board members Kahlil Byrd, Lawrence Lessig and Mark McKinnon; these three make up a majority of the Mayday PAC board. Lately, curious public feelers have been sent out mentioning Nick Troiano in the same breath as the Mayday PAC. Some examples:

“(I) Nick Troiano vs. Rep. Tom Marino (PA-08) Nick Troiano is a young guy who worked for Americans Elect and several other political reform nonprofits who speaks directly to campaign finance reform (and reform in general) in his platform. It is tough to win as an independent but he is a moderate running a smart, well-funded, disciplined campaign, and $2 million could make a real difference for him. Marino is a real scumbag.” — Comment to Reddit Thread by Mayday PAC CTO: “The board meets this upcoming week to decide the candidates we’ll independently support. Who are your top picks?”

If you think these aren’t an explicit enough connection to the Troiano campaign, how about this letter to the editor from Troiano campaign petition circulator Jerry Kairnes? (update: per Mr. Kairnes’ request, note that this is the second half of his letter):

“We need a Congress that is free to lead. We need candidates like Independent Nick Troiano running this year in our district, who raised more than $85,000 exclusively from more than 500+ citizen donors, an amount more than any nonparty candidate in the country. We need to elect a Congress that is dedicated to campaign finance reform and we won’t get our democracy back until we change the way campaigns are funded.

“That is the driving force behind Mayday, a citizen-funded Super PAC more than 50,000 small donors strong. Mayday is a Super PAC, whose only goal is to end all Super PACs, forever. It is an ambitious plan that will support five races in 2014 to prove that a reform candidate can win, followed by as many races in 2016 as necessary, to elect a Congress that is dedicated to campaign funding reform.

“The Mayday Super PAC should choose our Congressional district, PA10 as one of its 2014 pilot races. Let’s have a level playing field and give us the chance to lead the way and choose campaign funding reform.

“Jerry Kairnes”

Not enough for you? Heck, Nick Troiano has even sent out a feeler himself:

Will the Mayday PAC board follow the path of social-network politics and divert its funds to a friend? Or will Mayday PAC avoid the temptation and stay true to its call for an end to cronyism in politics? Watch this week and see.

5 comments to Someone is sending Nick Troiano Feelers to the Mayday PAC. Will Mayday Bite or Resist?

  • Jerry Kairnes

    Mr. Cook,

    I see that you have only reposted about half of my Letter to the Editor published on July 24th by my hometown newspaper, the Williamsport Sungazette. Would you please either repost it in its entirety or correct your description of it to reflect that you have reposted only a portion.

    Thank you.

    Jerry Kairnes

    • Jim Cook

      Mr. Kairnes,

      Thank you for writing. I had already linked to the letter in its entirety, and I feel confident I have not taken your letter out of context, but since you ask I will certainly add the phrase “per Mr. Kairnes’ request note that this is the second half of his letter.”

  • Bill

    Troiano’s platform is so blatantly tea-party-lite that it is hard to imagine Larry Lessig wouldn’t immediately recognize that this kid is radioactive. His positions are all warmed-over versions of oligarch Pete Peterson’s foundational principles, wrapped in the usual feel-good mumbling nonsense to avoid stating clearly who would get hurt from his policies, and who would gain:

    Restrain spending by reforming and strengthening social insurance programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.” Of course, when you couple the classic dog-whistle “reforming…social insurance programs” with the battle-cry “restrain spending,” the actions you’re talking about are further cuts to the safety net…jiggering Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to reduce pay-outs through tricks such as raising the retirement age to something nearer the average age at death (i.e., abolishing retirement), making eligibility requirements more onerous, using chained-CPI to steadily erode benefits by artificially suppressing cost-of-living increases, etc. And not to forget additional opportunities such as axing school lunch programs, further weakening food stamp programs, and refusing to extend unemployment benefits. “Restrain spending” means just one thing: cutting spending on vital social safety net programs, cutting the poor and the aged and the disabled adrift.

    Raise revenue through pro-growth tax reform that lowers marginal tax rates and closes loopholes that disproportionately benefit the well off and well-connected. The only way to “raise revenue” by “lowering marginal tax rates”…and you may be sure it’s the top rates we’re talking about lowering here…is to raise effective tax rates for low-income taxpayers, through schemes such as the ‘flat tax’ or the ‘fair tax’ (sic). The old Reverse Robin Hood game.

    If Mayday was foolish enough to back Troiano that would constitute nothing short of a declaration of War On America, and it would be received as such by progressives everywhere. Don’t even think about it, Larry.

  • DIstrict 10:
    Tom Marino (R)*- (Campaign Site)
    Scott Brion (D) – Energy Executive
    Nick Troiano (Independent) – Political Organizer

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