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Level the Playing Field to Public: We’re Not Running Candidates for President. LPF to FEC: Yes, We Certainly Are.

One of the reasons the Americans Elect corporation failed to attract significant public support in its bid to run a privatized candidate for U.S. President in 2012 was that it declared something in public, then actually did the exact opposite in practice — not just once but over and over and over and over and over again.  That practice damaged trust.

Americans Elect was such a damaged brand by the end of 2012 that it ditched its name and rebirthed itself as Level the Playing Field.  But by whatever name you call it — Level the Playing Field or Americans Elect — the game this corporation plays unfortunately seems to be the same: say one thing, do another.

Take, for instance, the website owned and operated by Level the Playing Field called  You can see in this screen capture of that it is avowedly a copyrighted property acting as a project of Level the Playing Field:

According to Change the Rule, it is a Copyrighted Property owned and run as a project of Level the Playing Field, a direct successor to Americans Elect

On the “FAQ” [Frequently Asked Questions] page of, Level the Playing Field provides these seemingly straight-up answers to questions about its aspirations:

Americans Elect/Level the Playing Field/Change the Rule FAQ q. Are you supporting an independent candidate for President in 2016? a. No.  Please do not assume that any of the signatories to the Change the Rule letter are committed to voting for an independent candidate in 2016.  Individually, we may each decide that the Democratic or Republican candidate is superior.  What each of us wants is the same thing the American people want:  the restoration of honest competition in the way we select our president, as required by the law.

“Q: Are you supporting an independent candidate for President in 2016?

A: No.”

Seems so straightforward, doesn’t it?

But Level the Playing Field isn’t just talking to the public.  Yesterday, it filed a lawsuit against the FEC.  You can read the full text of that lawsuit here.  That lawsuit says something entirely different:

“Plaintiff Level the Playing Field (“LPF”) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation not affiliated with any candidate or candidate committee. Its purpose is to promote reforms that allow for greater competition and choice in elections for federal office, particularly for the Presidency and Vice Presidency.  LPF is the successor to Americans Elect (“AE”), which obtained signatures sufficient to qualify for ballot access in 41 states in connection with the 2012 presidential election.  LPF intends to recruit qualified independent candidates to run for President and Vice President on an LPF ticket in the 2016 election.

LPF intends to recruit qualified independent candidates to run on a nonpartisan presidential ticket in 2016. If the CPD’s rule remains in place, it will injure LPF’s ability to field a 2016 ticket, just as it injured AE’s ability to do so.”

1. Say one thing 2. Do another. 3. Lose credibility.

Those three steps go together.  When will the hedge fund operators behind Americans Elect and Level the Playing Field learn this simple truth?


9 thoughts on “Level the Playing Field to Public: We’re Not Running Candidates for President. LPF to FEC: Yes, We Certainly Are.”

  1. brad says:

    Present tense: “Are you supporting an Independent candidate for President in 2016?”

    Future tense: “LPF intends to recruit qualified independent candidates to run for President and Vice President on an LPF ticket in the 2016 election.”

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Brad, it appears that your read of the situation — that LPV is playing semantic games — is accurate.

      When most people read a question “Are you supporting an Independent candidate for President in 2016?” or “Are you running for President in 2016?” or “Are you going fishing in 2016?” or “Are you flying to the planet Mars in 2016?” they interpret it to mean “will you be…?” If Candidate X took to a podium to declare emphatically that “I am not running for President in 2016” and then it leaked out in the afternoon that she had hired a team of staffers and started work on designing a “Candidate X for President in 2016” logo, journalists would line up to ask the “hey, what gives, you just said…” question. If Candidate X replied that “well, I’m not running now, but I am intending to” everyone in the room would roll their eyes.

      People know exactly what the question means. This kind of semantic game is just the sort that made people furiously exasperated at Bill Clinton when asked “is there a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky?” he insisted it was truthful to reply “no” because he wasn’t having sex with her right then when he was asked, in the present tense. It’s not wise for LPF to play the same game.

  2. J Clifford says:

    Plenty to see here, Brad. In particular, we seem to see the Wall Street sponsored semi-political-party Level The Playing Field preparing to do a maneuver such as that pulled by Americans Elect, which co-opted Rocky Anderson and his Justice Party in 2012, by offering a big cash prize to those who would go through a competitive begging process at the feet of Americans Elect. Anderson’s campaign was ruined by that compromise in principles.

    Now, the same organization, under a new name – Level The Playing Field – appears to be in the process of co-opting the Green Party (see

    Will Jill Stein, who has made it a point of pride to say that she won’t accept corporate contributions, accept the help of the corporate marionette of Level The Playing Field, or will she resist that temptation?

    No, there’s a great deal worth paying attention to here.

  3. brad says:


    I believe it is a bit of a stretch to compare the LPF’s comments (and my comments) to Bill Clinton’s English acrobatic moves. “Support” and “recruit” have different meanings to me. And the fact that the LPF has both answers in their FAQ, essentially side by side, is significant to deflate any talk of nefarious subterfuge, in my opinion.


    I don’t think Jill Stein (if she is successful to get the GPUSA nomination) being the beneficiary of access into a CPD debate, via the inclusion of the Green Party on the LPF lawsuit, would be the equivalent of her individual campaign accepting corporate contributions.

    Not sure how exactly AE co-opted Rocky Anderson’s campaign? Please enlighten me.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      It doesn’t have both answers in its FAQ. One answer is provided publicly, and the other answer is provided in the middle of the text of a long lawsuit to government officials, and that difference is central.

      I did not mean to imply that you personally were engaging in disingenous semantic games. I do mean to state outright that Bill Clinton and Level the Playing Field both have.

  4. brad says:

    My error on stating both answers were in close proximity.

  5. Muscogulus says:

    I don’t expect this observation will alleviate your suspicions about Level the Plaing Field. But I interpret the contrasting statement in the complaint filed in court against the FEC to be a bid for “standing” to sue for redress. Part of the scholastic nonsense of our so-called justice system is that plaintiffs who make a flawless case for redress of an injustice can be turned down because they don’t have standing to sue, as they are not being especially injured by the activity they complain of. LTPF is arguing that yes, it would be especially injured, being an independent campaign organization.

    It’s a strategic thing to say, whether or not they actually intend to mount an effort to select an independent candidate.

    It’s also possible that not everyone within the ranks of LTPF is of one mind about this.

  6. Stephen Kent Gray says:

    Unless Michael Bloomberg makes any announcements during March 2016, it will be too late for any Independent or Level The Playing Field or American Elect or Unity 08 candidates to get in the race. If they want ballot access, they will have to start on or before March 31, 2016 or it will be too late.

    Dan Bilzerian, Internet personality
    Guy Anthony De Marco, author from Missouri
    Zoltan Istvan, futurist, writer, transhumanist philosopher from California
    Terry Jones, pastor for Dove World Outreach Center from Florida; independent presidential candidate in 2012
    Merlin Miller, filmmaker from Tennessee
    Guy Schwartz, musician from Texas
    Ron White, comedian and actor

    Publicly expressed interest
    Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City 2002–2013; CEO and founder of Bloomberg L.P. since 1981
    Jesse Ventura, Governor of Minnesota 1999–2003

    So unless Michael Bloomberg or Jesse Ventura actually run rather than just expressing interest, this venture will end up a bust in 2016, unless they are really laying the groundwork for Level the Playing Field 2020 with Kanye West as the candidate! After all, they didn’t say anything about not fielding a candidate in 2020, but no one asked about 2020, just 2016. Kanye West 2020! Even if the Green or Libertarian or both get to debate in 2016, the precedent will help Kanye West in 2020, their real goal.

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