by Aaron Klein Aaron Klein is WND's senior staff reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief.
A mysteriously funded, highly organized effort to secure a place on the 2012 presidential election ballot for a third party candidate has ties to President Obama and top Democrats, WND has learned.
The group, calling itself Americans Elect, or AE, seems designed to appear like a massive, grassroots effort involving millions of citizens acting to draft a third party candidate.
However, the organization’s voting process has been called into question and there also are concerns AE’s bylaws may allow the group’s own board members to bypass votes and nominate their own candidate.
AE describes itself as “a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded by Americans from across the political spectrum who are worried that our nation’s deep political divisions keep big problems from being solved.”
AE seeks to hold its own nominating convention on the Internet this June to select an independent presidential and vice-presidential candidate. The group says any registered voter can sign up to participate in the June convention.
AE reportedly has raised more than $22 million so far and already has been certified to be placed on the ballot in 12 states now, including California.
To get on state ballots, AE evidenced mass organizing skills. The group says it collected over two million signatures nationwide in its effort to get on state ballots.
WND found that two of AE’s board members, Kellen Arno and Michael Arno, were paid by the group for helping to run the massive signature gathering drive via their firm, Arno Political Consultants.
Michael Arno is senior adviser to the Podesta Group lobbying and public relations firm, which was founded by John Podesta, who directed Obama’s transition into the White House in 2008.
Podesta is director of the Center for American Progress, which is reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House policy.
A Time magazine article profiled the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”
AE, meanwhile, reportedly originally was associated with another group that sought an independent candidate. That organization, calling itself Unity08, eventually suspended operations citing organizing and fundraising issues.
Unity08 said it did not back any particular candidate, but two of its founders launched their own national effort to draft New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president.
The Irregular Times documented how AE and Unity08 shared the same Washington, D.C., address. Previously, Unity08 shared its address with the Draft Bloomberg Committee.
Irregular Times also found that the founders of Unity08 “registered the domain name draftmichaelbloomberg.com in 2007 at a time when Unity08 was insisting that it had no candidates in mind.”
AE’s funding has been called into question.
In late 2010, AE changed its tax status from a tax-exempt group to what is known as a 501(c)(4), or social-welfare organization, which is not required to show its donor list.
Capital Weekly reported that prior to the change, in the second and third quarters of 2010, AE’s more than $1.5 million in funding came from one person – venture capitalist, Unity08 activist and Obama donor Peter Ackerman.
Ackerman reportedly gave AE a total of at least $5 million in seen money. Many of AE’s other donors are unknown.
AE officials have defended their secretive donor collection practices.
“We have to be able to raise significant amounts of money to be able to take on the status quo,” Kahlil Byrd, AE’s chief executive officer, told Mother Jones last November.
Byrd said that if his group would be compelled to disclose its donors, there would be “a chilling effect … on people’s willingness to participate in this process.”
Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, two campaign finance watchdogs, requested in September the IRS investigate Americans Elect, charging it may be violating nonprofit status by function like a political party.
Finances are not the only source of controversy.
Mother Jones reported that AE’s Internet voting system has been called into question.
Pamela Smith, president of VerifiedVoting.org, a voters’ advocacy group, argued AE’s reliance on Internet voting is insecure and difficult to audit.
“If you allow it to be used in public elections without assurance that the results are verifiably accurate, that is an extraordinary and unnecessary risk to democracy,” she says.
Regardless of the results, there are concerns that current guidelines reportedly allow AE to anoint its own candidate.
Salon.com reporter Justin Elliott noted candidates chosen by voters must be approved by a Candidate Certification Committee, which according to the group’s bylaws consists of AE’s board members.
The committee, according to the bylaws obtained by Salon, will need to certify a “balanced ticket obligation” consisting of candidates who are “responsive to the vast majority of citizens while remaining independent of special interests and the partisan interests of either major political party.”
In response, AE official Darry Sragow told Salon’s Elliot that his group’s guidelines are subject to change.
Sragow went on to defend AE’s board, even likening them to the Founding Fathers.
“While we don’t mean to put the board in the company of the Founding Fathers, we’d point out that nobody picked the Founding Fathers, either,” Sragow stated.
“They took it upon themselves to turn a popular dream into a shared reality. And they, too, had debates over how much control should be centralized. They knew that too much power in the hands of too few isn’t real democracy, but that power too diffuse is anarchy.”
WND reviewed AE’s board, finding multiple ties to Obama while some Republicans also graced the committee.
Besides Ackerman, an Obama donor who gave money to help start AE, the advisory board includes Lawrence Lessig, an Obama technology adviser.
Lessig has been mentioned as a future candidate to head the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC. He is an activist for reduced legal restrictions on copyright material and advised Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
AE’s CEO, Kahlil Byrd, has drawn scrutiny from conservatives because he formerly served as Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s communications director. Patrick’s chief strategist was top Obama strategist David Axelrod.
AE board members Kellen Arno and Michael Arno are tied to John Podesta, as WND noted.
Meanwhile, AE’s board also includes former John McCain aide Mark McKinnon, Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institute, former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair.
AE also has ties to Hillary Clinton supporters.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who is a prominent Hillary Clinton backer, is on the board, as is Doug Schoen, a former pollster and adviser to Bill Clinton.
Schoen recently was in the news after he teamed up with Jimmy Carter’s former aide Patrick to publish an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last month, entitled “The Hillary Moment,” in which they called for Clinton to throw her hat into the ring for the presidency.
The two wrote another piece at Politico.com calling for Democratic voters nationally – particularly in New Hampshire – to organize a write-in campaign for Clinton.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott
So true and they will not go down without a fight. The Third Party split is a good move for them and could lose this Country. We need to get to the young people so they don't fall for this. These must be the youth jobs Obama was talking about and tax payers will most likely pay for it all.
Question for anyone that might know. Did anyone else notice this on Lou Dobbs tonight, after all day of bragging on increased unemployment numbers in the news I saw some comment run across the bottom of the screen that said there where 200,000 jobs for unarmed security workers, in December. Which is the same amount of jobs increasded on the unemployment numbers. This obviously means they are playing with the numbers to try to make Obama look better for up coming election, as we expected. Here is my thought: Those jobs were most likely hired to replace the Police that had to baysit all of the OWS Groups. So with that math there are acctually no jobs created and because it was during the Holiday season, that also means the numbers actually dropped. See how they just keep covering up for their Obama and Party. Lot's of fuzzy math.
I only say this on here, because I have noticed that the News only reports on things 2 days after we bring things up in discussions on line. Not just here, but over the internet. Sorry, off topic.
If one, looks at the overall format of this emerging new third party and its starring characters, a pattern is developing that bodes well for the Obama regime and could be a serious problem for the Republican party. It looks like the Obama regime is trying to circumvent our system of government and re-write the rules to accommodate their own mission agendas. Of course their cast of characters' reputation's seem suspect and are of questionable backgrounds. Then there is the matter of their donations, who donated, the accountability of where the donations came from, how the money will be used. Of course their very own lack of certified by-laws that according to their own administrators can and will be changed at will create a lot of unanswered questions.. And then according to the American Elect by-laws, the Board can nominate their own candidate over and above their constituents choices. Now if that doesn't sound like a stacked deck against the system I don't know what is! This new "Americans Elect" group which seem to be in concert with the "Unity08" group will bear close scrutiny on a constant basis. The bigger question is will the American populace allow themselves to be duped once again by the Obama Regime? Is the Obama regime professing that the American, legal, voting, taxpaying citizens are going to be once again taken in by subversive methods? Or are we going to rise up above the treachery of a coercive, infrastructure? Are the sheep going to stand up and be counted? Only time will tell whether we are a Nation of sheep or we rise above our levels of complacency and fight back?
With the Federal Government spending ten billion per day, and that is with a combination of Republicans and democrats, the words of George Washington come back to haunt us:
"It, (Political Parties) serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments, occationally, riot and insurrection. It, (political parties) opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, wich find facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.
"There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. PATRIOTISM may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their, (political parties), natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutory pupose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it,(political parties). A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume."
"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and cherish them."
"The name American, which belongs to you in your National capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the samd religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have, in common cause, fought and triumphed together: the independence and liberty you posses are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and succeeeses."
In summation, it has always been "We, the People", that are responsible for the rule, or the ruination of our Republic. Perhaps it is the time for us to stop concentrating on the "Party" and to start listening for the similarities in the person running for the Office. Is it not that person who is to serve our wishes, needs and demands?
Would the AE party have their sites on Ron Paul............nah, not a chance......
LET US HOPE THAT 4 OR 5 STATES REFUSE TO ALLOW THE HATED NAME OF obummer ON THEUR BALLOTS .
THAT WOULD ASSURE THE DEMONRATS COULD NOT DEFRAUD AMERICAN VOTERS AGAIN AND STEAL THE
ELECTION FROM HONEST PEOPLE .
Larry, there are more of us than you may realize who see the Obama/Soros/American Bolshevik game and are working to derail Obama before he gets to the corrupt election of 2012. Since our wimpy Congress is asleep, the states - and particularly many Patriots are taking matters into their own hands. In New Hampshire and Georgia, as well as other states, individual citizens are challenging obummer's placement on their state's primary ballot. Obama is NOT a natural-born citizen as per US Supreme Court precedent ruling in Minor vs. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875). We need an army of Patriots to write, e-mail, or fax their secretary of state's office to insist that Obama be denied access to, or be removed from, their state's primary ballot. Avail yourself of the below website, read it, study it, inform others of its existence,and then take whatever action your heart dictates. But, DO SOMETHING! We should also inform the SS office about this group, AE, and their make-up, particularly of Obama people. These whores will try anything to steal this election, and they know that many of us know that obummer is a fraud. Work to deny Obama access to your state's primary ballot due to his NOT being a natural-born citizen. This is his most vulnerable spot. Why do you think the leftist slime scream so loud when we "birthers" question his royal highness? Here's the site.... Do it! Who's with us??
Bill from Laos.......My local newspaper just published my letter to the editor today......I also sent it to the email contact points listed in your url .......
Neither does Rubio give a darn about the Constitution or else he would have come out already if he were a true patriot and openly tell everyone that he is not Constitutionally eligible to be POTUS! Dont hold your breath on this happening ever!
I was told sometime ago by certain people that it doesn't matter who you vote for they, the powers at be, will get who they want, when they want, no matter how hard you try to get the right person in the white house. THEY WILL PUT OBAMA BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE AGAIN.
They all ready started, Ron Paul should of come in a strong second, if not first, so what happened, they put them all in close together, nice and cosy with Ron Paul third place.. coincidence or planed.. on one occasion when the counting of the votes were being done the lights all of a sudden went out and then back on again. so what happened during that time? my guess they did some quick changes.. and the vote came out with Mitt in the lead Rick in second, and Ron Paul third... come on guys it no rocket science there is fraud going on... Davy Kidd, prove that in California, AND there was senate hearing on voter fraud. this guy, can't remember his name testify that it was easy to manipulate the votes,AND it happened in Florida, so don't think it can not happen again. watch closely you will see it unfolding, just like clock work.
Everything bad is good for something. Exposed as another Democratic party could split the votes I believe.Of course as long as general population would realize that this "independent third party" is not conservative.
Has this bogus outfit registered to be on the ballots of all 50 states? Who is their candidate? There are a whole bunch of stupid people who vote only for the "D" behind a name, especially if they are on the government dole and government payroll!
Mr. Leverette. Atterney Orley Taitz along with the Citizen Wells and the American Way, have been trying to get a state court to subpoena obummer since the day after his illegal "win". Sheriff Arpaio has been helped by Georgia Judge, Michael Malihi. Who has called obummer to appear PERSONALLY on Jan. 26, 2012. There are a few other states considering this too! Since this is a logical way and less destructive on America and her population.This is the the way to go, for now. Especially since our members and other groups have ties in our court systems to pull this off! But we as individuals making up this and other groups need to form a backing that would give support to those who will try to remove him for lack of proof of being a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN. Case Closed! With him gone. We can rid the Fed. Gov. of all the Commie, Marxists, Anti-Americans we have in Governments, from local to Federal! This Nov. will be too late! We need to do it now! The Muslim, Fema, and anti-american groups need to be brought down, now! Without funding, and Americans aware of them. They will not last! We need to arrest them, try them for treason and publicly hang them. The followers will flee like vermin in the light! For some reason. I can't get anyone to buy into this? Is trying to save our country a out of date, terrible idea? What happened to our brave veteran buddies who we once stood with? Where are the leaders and shakers who was making all the speeches last July? I can't do much from a Power Chair. But i can pray to the God of our Nation. That we have kicked out! Is there anyone with back bone anymore? It seems like everyone would like our Wonderful Country being handed off to our next generation. But i guess not. Anyone with ideas and maybe a web sight let us know! We need to stand up in mass, or die in mass graves. What say you? Larry