David Walker wears a lot of hats.
- Former Comptroller General of the United States.
- Co-founder of No Labels.
- Beneficiary of Pete Peterson.
- Member of the Americans Elect Board of Advisors.
- Draft candidate of Americans Elect.
To name just a few.
Recently, Walker talked to the Washington Post (emphasis mine):
[Americans Elect founder and lead investor Peter] Ackerman's enlistment of advisers is formidable....
And from those advisers may come Americans Elect’s face-saving option. In the past month,
a small group of activists has emerged to recruit Dave Walker, an independent who
once ran the Government Accountability
Office, to run for president. Walker, who is
on the Americans Elect board of advisers, said that he knew about the effort and that an Americans Elect employee had stepped down to lead the draft movement. Also
in recent weeks, Americans Elect changed
the requirements Walker needs to meet to
win the nomination, revising the number of online supporters to 1,000 in 10 states
instead of 5,000 in 10 states.
“This is an issue-oriented movement, and they’re trying to put a face to the movement,” Walker said in a phone interview. He said his mission has long been deficit reduction and
the reorganization of the national debt. “For whatever reason, they believe I’m a person who symbolizes that. I guess they kind of view me as a means to an end.”
He remained, however, undecided: “My mama told me a long time ago you never say never.”
On Tuesday morning — the day after the Washington Post ran its piece on Monday — Walker released the following statement through his Comeback America Initiative (emphasis mine):
Reports in the media have mentioned an
effort to draft me as a candidate for President through the Americans Elect (AE) process, and I want to clarify my position. I am aware of this recent independent movement to draft me, which is an initiative by people who evidently share my views regarding the need for fiscal, political and other major reforms to keep America great. Importantly, their effort is unrelated to the Comeback America Initiative (CAI), No Labels, and AE organizations.
While I appreciate and am humbled by their efforts, I am not a candidate and don't expect to become one. Rather, I am focused on my many responsibilities, including serving as
CEO of the non-partisan CAI, as a national co-founder of No Labels, and as a member
of AE's Board of Advisors.
And then, by nightfall on Tuesday — be warned that, if you don't already have whiplash, you may be about to get it — Walker was out with a tweet saying (emphasis mine):
I am not a candidate for public office but will seriously consider it if the Independent Draft Committee qualifies me for the AE ballot. DW
:: :: ::
Nobody does Americans Elect forensics better than Jim Cook at Irregular Times. And there's very little that I could say, about the connections and disconnections that Walker revealed with these three forays, that Cook didn't already say in his masterfully crisp untangling, on Tuesday evening — before word of Walker's tweeted re-reconsideration began making the rounds on Wednesday morning — of the web of relationships between Unity08, the 2008 Draft Bloomberg committee, Americans Elect, No Labels, Pete Peterson, David Walker and a 2012 Draft Walker committee.
But there is one — OK, a two-in-one — question that especially comes up for me right now, and I'd like to
put this to David Walker...
Mr. Walker, you make reference to "the Independent Draft Committee" and to "this recent independent movement to draft me." You are able to say what "they believe" — and this evidently is a specific "they," since you also are able to speak with declarative confidence in asserting that "their effort is unrelated" to three specific organizations. You even — according to the Washington Post — "knew about the effort and that an Americans Elect employee had stepped down to lead" it.
So, I have to ask...
Exactly which "Independent Draft Committee" —
and which former Americans Elect staffer — are
you talking about?
(Please don't think me rude, everybody, but the rest
of this is addressed to Mr. Walker. Do stick around, though.)
One might hope, I suppose, that someone who liked Americans Elect well enough to go work for it, and who then left the organization to draft someone else who actually was on the Board of Advisors of Americans Elect, would use AmericansElect.org to do the drafting.
Your profile at AmericansElect.org lists only one draft committee — the "'Let's get it done' draft committee for David Walker" — and two leaders of that committee: John Knubel and Richard Sulkovsky.
Is this "the Independent Draft Committee" — and is either John Knubel or Richard Sulkovsky the former employee of Americans Elect — that you're talking
about? Or is this the committee — but the former
staffer is behind the scenes and unnamed?
I notice that, among the Twitter accounts that re-tweeted your Tuesday night tweet were these two:
Rise of the Center — which is associated with the Web site of "centrist" politics run by Solomon Kleinsmith
Draft David Walker — which is associated with the Web site DraftWalker.com
Interestingly, a Whois search reveals that Kleinsmith is listed as the registrar of the DraftWalker.com URL.
Yesterday morning, DraftWalker.com was nothing more than a splash page, with this logo
and this sign-up form.
I noticed that this page was "Paid for by the Committee to Get Walker Running," and that the contact email was email@example.com
This group seemed to have set up a YouTube channel on Tuesday, and posted its first two videos yesterday (albeit with no credit to "the Committee to Get Walker Running.")
A news item on the site even goes so far as to characterize the Washington Post report — including
your comments? — as a "preview" of the committee's efforts.
The committee still has the same name. And although the telephone number — 202-670-6365 — did, when I tried it, direct to a message from "the Committee to Get Walker Running," I couldn't help but notice the new contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, is this "the Independent Draft Committee" — and
is Yoni Gruskin, Ryan Schoenike or Solomon Kleinsmith the former Americans Elect staffer — you're talking about? Or is this the committee — but the former staffer is behind the scenes and unnamed? (On LinkedIn, only Kleinsmith, of the three, cites any formal connection
to Americans Elect — but he lists himself only as a "Delegate Leader" of Americans Elect, and these are unpaid, i.e., free-labor, volunteer positions.)
Is there altogether some other committee that a former employee of Americans Elect "stepped down to lead"?
:: :: ::
Oh, and, while you're here — sorry, I know I promised to ask just a couple of questions, but I do have one more...
You were careful to point out, in the statement that you released on Tuesday morning, that you are "focused on [your] many responsibilities, including serving as...a national co-founder of No Labels" (video at 0:02).
So why are you now scrubbed from the No Labels leader list?
Postscript: Jim Cook — whose tenacious and indispensable new analysis went up a couple of
hours before this more generally scoped piece — drills beneath many of the surfaces I scratch here and comes up with much new information. Ultimately, though, David Walker needs to answer all of these questions himself.