Update: July 11, 2010. Someone named Ed emailed me today to advise that the following statement in this article is incorrect: "FlushGov states it is a for-profit site founded by a Las Vegas developer, named Stephen Allen Wynn." Ed states Wynn has nothing to do with FlushGov and that FlushGov is a non-profit web site.
In rechecking my sources at FlushGov, their site stipulates they are non-partisan, but, not that they are non-profit, and there is a good deal of advertising signs of commercial organizations on their web site as well as offers to purchase campaign materials using the FlushGov logo and name. Non-profits are registered with the IRS with an Employee ID number, and the law requires that organizations which spend more than $1000 advocating for or against politicians are required to register with the Federal Elections Commission. I can find no such references on the FlushGov site. I leave it to readers to decide for themselves.
The FlushGov web site does not now indicate that Wynn is a founder. It simply gives a short biography of Wynn and his statement about the current situation. I stand corrected on that one.
When Vote Out Incumbents Democracy, (VOID), was founded in 2006 as the only legally registered, non-partisan, anti-incumbent political action committee in the U.S., it became clear that as the movement grew, it was going to splinter into partisan camps. As the founder of VOID, I remained concerned about this splintering for years. I am no longer concerned, and welcome this splintering. I will explain why.
First, allow me to highlight two such partisan vote out incumbents websites as example. They are, FlushGov, and Vote Out Incumbents by TomasDaly (not to be confused with the original Vote Out Incumbents Democracy, or VOID.
FlushGov is a decidedly conservative web site. Aside from promoting conservative leaning organizations like Fox News and the Tea Party, FlushGov promotes an article entitled, "Progressivism: Americas' Cancer". FlushGov states it is a for-profit site founded by a Las Vegas developer, named Stephen Allen Wynn.
Vote Out Incumbents by Tomas Daly is a decidedly liberal web site. Despite their being no evidence that this site has, as it claims, been around since 2003, it clearly champions liberal politics. Mr. Daly advocates: "Vote In Progressives and Independents", and the sites banner says they do: "NOT support any of the Tea Party's racist, homophobic, and anti-choice views. Violence is NOT the answer."
My original fear of this kind of splintering of the Vote Out Incumbents movement, stemmed from that adage, "United we stand, divided we fall." Through 2008, VOID saw considerably more support from liberals. After the election of Obama, we have seen considerably more support from conservatives. VOID is capable of this kind of bi-partisan support because, unlike the sites mentioned above, VOID is entirely non-partisan, without any lean, liberal or conservative, though its membership, of course, comes from both sides of the political spectrum as well as the centrist middle.
I was however, wrong to remain anxious over the rise of partisan leaning anti-incumbent organizations and web sites. Our population is roughly divided into liberal and conservative positions on a wide range of issues. The only way for the VOI movement to succeed is if it is supported by both liberal and conservative camps, intent on throwing incumbents out of office on election day, choosing challengers instead. What unites these camps is their disappointment in the leadership of the career politicians in both the Republican and Democratic parties. And there is no lack of news or evidence to support that disappointment.
Whether these partisan VOI web sites and organizations realize it or not, we are all working for the same end. Specifically, better government and saving our nation's future from the sell-out by career politicians. That makes these partisan anti-incumbent web sites and unregistered organizations, foot soldiers for VOID's mission.
While VOID was founded upon, and will always remain a strictly non-partisan organization, it is important to now recognize the value and importance of these other partisan anti-incumbent web sites and organizations, growing in number, as VOID's allies in the battle against a federal government whose career politicians have lost sight of just who it is they should be representing - the people and their nation's future.
These career politicians act as if the corporations, the political parties, and the wealthy special interests are their employers, and their votes on legislation represent the lobbyist views of those special interests. This is what VOID and its partisan foot soldiers can, and will change, as our anti-incumbent voting block grows across this nation.
And this voting block is growing. Poll after poll now indicates a majority of Americans have lost faith with the Democratic and Republican parties and are disappointed with the results of our current lot of representatives, as well as the direction our nation is headed, ever deeper in debt with bad, or worse results to show for that debt. My brother, a long time Democrat, this week told me he too had lost faith with the Democrats, and is now sold entirely on the VOID concept. Way to go, James.
There are a few significant differences between VOID and these other sites and organizations which should not go unnoticed. First, VOID is entirely non-profit and all volunteer. This means every dollar received from supporters and members is funneled back into the growth of the anti-incumbent movement. Second, VOID's finances and operations are entirely transparent, with its financial statements made public record on the Federal Elections Commission's web site. Third, VOID is entirely legal, registered with the IRS and FEC, insuring that our activities comply with the law.
To date, there appear to be no other non-partisan anti-incumbent web sites, or organizations, which can make and back up these claims. So, if you consider purchasing anti-incumbent campaign materials, it would be a wiser use of your dollars to purchase them through VOID, instead of making boat payments or paying for the vacation of some other anti-incumbent web site owner looking to cash in on the anti-incumbent movement.
I am, and I hope you too will be, encouraged by this growth of other anti-incumbent web sites and organizations, even if they are partisan. They are our allies in achieving our mission. As it states in our our Mission Statement:
The goal is to force politicians to earn the anti-incumbent vote through responsible action in government, reflecting the best interests of the American people and the nation's future.
These other anti-incumbent organizations are reaching voters who have not yet discovered VOID. And that is a very, very good thing for our mission and objectives. We will be seeking ways to unite efforts with these other sites and their supporters, going forward, without compromising VOID's strict non-partisan foundation.