This registered Green Party voter who's backing Jill Stein for president has a few facts to share about the Commission on Presidential Debates, all gleaned from the public record. Let's put aside for the moment the exclusion of the Green Party candidate and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and only scrutinize who funds the debates and their transparency practices.
As of today, the CPD's web site does not list a single corporate sponsor of this year's debates.
These are the firms that contributed to either or of the 2008 and 2012 debates: Anheuser-Busch Companies, BBH New York, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, EDS, an HP Company, Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP, the International Bottled Water Association, the Kovler Fund, Southwest Airlines and the YWCA USA organization.
No disclosure of how much each entity gave is made available for the public and voters.
The CPD is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization but the fail to adhere to the generally accepted nonprofit practice of voluntarily posting their three most recent IRS 990 reports. The commission must immediately include their tax filings on their site.
The most current IRS 990, for FY 2014, shows the commission took in only $117,000 in revenue last year and had $3.2 million in assets. Very to know what the project revenue stream is for this year and estimated budget for the debates in the fall.
What about the executive director Janet H. Brown's most recent pay package? It came to $371,000. She's the only employee listed.
If there are corporate sponsors for 2016, I see no reason to assume otherwise, the commission needs to share this information, both the names and amounts contributed. I'd also like to see the agreement between the parties.
Of course, I don't like how this nonprofit wields tremendous influence over a key component to American democracy in the form of presidential debate and holds no public meetings, its co-chairs are from only the Democratic and Republic parties, third parties are excluded and fiscal sunshine is lacking.
No only are more accountability and transparency desperately needed from the commission, so is fuller democratic participation from other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.