The Governance of Unity08

We have received a number of requests for more information about the origins, governance and operating guidelines of Unity08, so here is a Q&A that tries to meet the need.

What is your legal structure?

Unity08 is a 527 non-profit. We chose to organize that way originally and then to seek an immediate advisory opinion from the Federal Elections Commission as to what we are. The law did not contemplate any entity such as ours, so we sought an FEC opinion on how best to proceed. The FEC ruled that we were a political committee that supports a candidate, which we obviously do not do, so we are challenging its conclusion in court.

If you are a 527, does that mean you accept any donations in any amount?

We have from the outset voluntarily put a limit of $5,000 on any individual contribution. Beyond an early start-up fund raised that way, augmented by loans provided to underwrite early expenses, we expect to be able to fund operations via much smaller contributions raised on the web (which will also be used to pay off all loans).

Will you list all contributors publicly?

We are complying with the IRS requirement that 527’s file a list of all contributors who make contributions in excess of $200, and we list on the website all contributions in excess of $200. Transparency is essential to the public’s trust.

What are the origins of Unity08?

Consultants who faced each other thirty years ago in Carter vs. Ford found they totally agreed with each other about the paralyzing effect of today’s polarized politics. Democrats Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon and Republican Doug Bailey (none of whom are on the Unity08 payroll in any way) started reaching out and found other professionals and other generations felt the same way. Democrats Roger Craver (longtime direct mail guru) and Nicco Mele (of Howard Dean fame) and Republican Jim Jonas (formerly part of Roger Ailes’ consulting firm) joined the group. As did Angus King, former Independent Governor of Maine, and Republican Dave Maney of Colorado and the Young Presidents Organization. They were joined by Lindsay Ullman (a Kerry voter from Yale) and Zach Clayton (a Bush voter from the University of North Carolina). Together they all recruited a broader and broader Founder’s Council.

So who runs it?

While we like to answer that question by saying “the people do” (in the sense that they shape the web-site, will be the delegates, will pick the nominees, and will get them on the ballot in all 50 states), there is of course a technical legal answer as well. The Steering Committee of Unity08 (technically the Board of Directors of the 527) currently consists of Doug Bailey, Clayton, Jordan, King, Rafshoon, Carolyn Teiger and Ullman. The Unity08 president and CEO is Robert Bingham. The Secretary is Daniel Radek. The Treasurer is Zach Clayton

Who provides your legal advice?

The Washington, D.C., firm of Steptoe & Johnson, with partner Tom Collier serving as General Counsel.

Where is Unity08 headquartered?

Unity08 is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The official address is PO Box 12545, Arlington, VA 22219.

Who are you doing this for? Do you have a favored candidate?

We are doing this for our children who will pay a heavy price if America doesn’t straighten up its act. We have no candidate for the Unity08 nomination. While over 70 possible candidates have been mentioned to us as we have described what we are doing, the decision to run will be made by the candidates, not by us – and the nomination will be awarded by the delegates, not by us.

Have you advised any potential candidate about the Unity08 nomination?

No. We have advised no one. We have briefed many potential candidates or their staffs (in both parties) about the Unity08 process, and will continue to brief any potential candidate (or their staffs or supporters) when they request a briefing or one is suggested by a friend.

Who may be a delegate?

Anyone who has enrolled as one at and is a registered voter at the time of the Unity08 convention balloting. No one need leave their party to be a Unity08 delegate.

Do you intend to become a third political party?

We consider ourselves a third force, which will nominate a Unity Ticket for President and Vice President to be put on the November 2008 ballot in all 50 states. It is not our intention to become a permanent third party. That might happen, but it is our hope that after the 2008 election of a Unity Ticket representing both current parties, that they both would get the message and move back toward the middle where they belong. In that case, America will be assured strong leadership responsive to the people and the country’s needs and Unity08 will not need to be permanent.

Who may run for the Unity08 nomination?

Any citizen who is constitutionally qualified to serve as President and who has met the minimum threshold requirement of support as determined in the Unity08 rules. A Rules Committee is proposing draft rules and the delegates will have a chance to react to them before they are adopted. The process will be transparent.

Will Unity08 have a platform?

No. It will have an agenda of crucial issues, as determined by the delegates, and it will expect those seeking its nomination to provide their platform addressing the Unity08 agenda of crucial issues. Unity08 will not play the charade game of today’s two parties of adopting a platform the candidates feel free to ignore.

How will Unity08 get on the ballot in all 50 states?

The army of delegates who pick the ticket will be the army of workers who get the petitions signed to get Unity08 on the ballot in the 37 jurisdictions where state law allows it to get on the ballot as an organization. After the candidates are selected at the on-line convention they will qualify as candidates in the remaining states.

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