Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Discuss how we can hasten progress towards enlarging representation. There are two primary components to this: 1) educating others in order to gain the public support necessary; and, 2) ensuring implementation via a constitutional amendment.
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Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby 803sccdantes » Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:48 am

Recently I've been thinking about this an awful lot. I was just wondering if anyone has considered forming a PAC? If not, maybe we (I'd be willing to help) could work on forming one. If we're able to even influence one state election, we could get something proposed in a state legislature. Heck, if we get enough supporters, we could influence several elections. Plus, as a PAC we could probably pitch the idea to some major players that would probably want to seen an expanded House- groups like NOW and the NAACP. Both of these groups would likely get more representation should the House be expanded. An idea like this sounds a whole lot different coming from a PAC than a guy running a website.

I also think it'd be a good idea to have some sort of annual convention type thing- maybe at a hotel. I realize all this costs money and it could be a slow process getting it going without a large upfront donation. I'm just a poor law student- so I don't have a lot of money to waste, but I'd be more than willing to spend money getting myself wherever and pay for a hotel for a few nights. Sure it'd be small and awkward at first, but I think it'd be good to talk about this with people who actually know a little about this and feel passionately about it.

I'm not really sure how something like this gets started- and forgive me if this legwork has already been done-but maybe forming some sort of committee to investigate the PAC and the convention ideas- see how much it would cost, what it would take to make it a profitable group, etc. would be something to just dip our toe into the water to see whether this is something we want to pursue.

I really think we can do this if we're willing to. The pending court case is a good first step- but I think we all know it'd be a miracle if they won. Let me know whether you think any of this is possible or if we should take a different route.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby JEQuidam » Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:20 pm

803sccdantes wrote:I was just wondering if anyone has considered forming a PAC?
I have considered it, but that's all. It is a good idea to anticipate that eventuality.

My opinion, which is open to change, is that we're not ready for that yet.

I believe that job #1 is building widespread awareness of the critical need for representational enlargement. That is where I encourage people to devote their limited time and resources (and that is the primary objective of the TTO website). What we need most right now is the support of prominent opinion and political leaders of all types, along with favorable media and editorial coverage. That should be our top objective whether or not we had a PAC.

Unfortunately, I don't have any bandwidth myself to do more than what I'm doing now. I'm regularly creating new analyses and working on several in-depth papers dealing with various aspects of this matter. I also attempt to reach various sorts of opinion leaders, but obviously without much success.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby 803sccdantes » Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:04 pm

JEQuidam wrote:
803sccdantes wrote:I was just wondering if anyone has considered forming a PAC?
I have considered it, but that's all. It is a good idea to anticipate that eventuality.

My opinion, which is open to change, is that we're not ready for that yet.

I believe that job #1 is building widespread awareness of the critical need for representational enlargement. That is where I encourage people to devote their limited time and resources (and that is the primary objective of the TTO website). What we need most right now is the support of prominent opinion and political leaders of all types, along with favorable media and editorial coverage. That should be our top objective whether or not we had a PAC.

Unfortunately, I don't have any bandwidth myself to do more than what I'm doing now. I'm regularly creating new analyses and working on several in-depth papers dealing with various aspects of this matter. I also attempt to reach various sorts of opinion leaders, but obviously without much success.



See I think the only way we even get into the room with any political leader with any credibility is to form a PAC. When it comes down to it, these guys care about their office. Sure they may see legitimate arguments on our side, but what's in it for them? They put themselves out on a ledge with no discernible benefit other than it being the right thing to do. Maybe I'm cynical, but I can't see a good reason a current politician would have for expanding the House- unless they themselves would want to run for a newly created office. In any event PAC's can support candidates of both parties- or if we created one we could find an independent candidate and support him. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to support all walks of life and all points of view. What better way than to spread PAC funds out among different candidates that are clearly on different sides ideologically?

Moveon.org was and is a PAC that had a great deal of influence in the recent election. Putting whatever opinions we for or against them aside, they picked up on something by forming a PAC. I'm telling you, they have no credibility and no influence unless they can put either dollar signs or voters behind it. Not only did they gain credibility, but they also gained media coverage. You start raising money for a certain cause and suddenly the Media is interested- especially if its supported by a lot of small donations like ours would likely be.

Plus, I think forming a PAC would likely help you with your primary goal of spreading awareness. Right now we're some guys on the internet who have a weird hobby. Form a PAC and I think potential supporters will see this as a legitimate movement- something they can support. A good idea on the internet can die a good idea because people don't take it seriously.

I think forming a PAC could also help you out with your hard work. You're busting your * on these reports- I know I've read the most recent one. I'll likely use it in an article I'm working on myself. It's polished and very well done. If we form a PAC, now you can distribute those reports to Representatives or their staff who may give them a second glance. Furthermore, a PAC wouldn't lie entirely on your shoulders. You could continue working on the reports and those of us willing to work on the PAC could do so. I'm not proposing you take on any more duties than you can manage- I'm proposing that those of us interested in seeing this come to fruition either put up or shut up.

If nobody but you and me are interested in working on this, then you're right- the PAC idea may not be the best solution. Regardless, of what we do, I want to get more involved in this and I am throwing my hat in the ring. If you need any help with anything JEQuidam- just let me know. I'm busy and poor, but I can find time to help take the next step in getting this idea moved from just an idea into a legitimate, substantive organization. Let me know if you want to go forward with the idea- I can do some research about it and see what steps we need to take. If you need help with anything else, just let me know.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby JEQuidam » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:37 pm

803sccdantes wrote: If nobody but you and me are interested in working on this, then you're right- the PAC idea may not be the best solution. Regardless, of what we do, I want to get more involved in this and I am throwing my hat in the ring.
Richard, believe me: I am quite grateful for your spirit. I want to say "hold that thought!" (not to give up on the idea).

Your reference to "MoveOn.org" helps make my point: that organization was seeded with $5 million from George Soros (Wiki) and, presumably, other major donors. If a benefactor provided a significant donation to our effort, then we would be having an entirely different conversation. Until then, I believe that we must focus on more modest goals.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby bwatson » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:25 pm

I am in favor of both of these ideas, an annual meeting and forming a PAC. While the feasibility of achieving a simple vote in congress to expand its size may be debatable without action, it is none the less the most straightforward method which I have encountered. The fact is, you never know till you try. For what it is worth, I once spoke with a respected state level representative (WA) about it and I was not laughed at. In fact, he leaned forward. In my gut, I think this approach has some merit. Forming a PAC would seem like a good first move towards exploring the actual, rather than theoretical, feasibility of this idea. This may be the type of thing that we have to work until 2020 or beyond to accomplish. A PAC would give it structure for the long fight. Forming a PAC also seems to me a good way to expand this effort's visibility, which could make raising funds easier. I for one am willing to put in some time.

The question is, how much would it cost to form a sustainable PAC?
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby JEQuidam » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:50 am

bwatson wrote:I am in favor of both of these ideas, an annual meeting and forming a PAC.
I have two questions. First, what would we expect a PAC to do that Thirty-Thousand.org, which is a 501(c)(3), cannot do? I'm not asking that question as a challenge; instead, I'm only trying to understand the expectations. I realize that Thirty-Thousand.org ("TTO") cannot lobby in support of specific legislation nor make campaign donations, but there is much that TTO can do.

Second, do we expect the existence of a PAC to encourage donations (to this cause) that would not otherwise be made to TTO? Bear in mind that donations to TTO are tax deductible, but donations to a PAC would not be.

bwatson wrote: For what it is worth, I once spoke with a respected state level representative (WA) about it and I was not laughed at. In fact, he leaned forward.
This is a good example. I have long wanted to promote this to state legislators. They are in the best position to quickly grasp the various benefits of representational enlargement (of the U.S. House). There are several ways to promote this cause to state legislators, including a direct mail campaign. Here's my point: this is something that could easily be done by TTO if we could afford it (as it is education and outreach, not lobbying for specific legislation). In support of such an effort, it is more likely that donations would be made to TTO (tax deductible) than to a PAC (not tax deductible).

bwatson wrote:The question is, how much would it cost to form a sustainable PAC?
A PAC's total budget would depend on what activities it would be expected to engage in, which takes us back to my first question. We would want to identify activities that the PAC would engage in (that TTO cannot), as well as determine the feasibility of raising money in support of those activities.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby 803sccdantes » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:18 pm

JEQuidam wrote:
bwatson wrote:I am in favor of both of these ideas, an annual meeting and forming a PAC.
I have two questions. First, what would we expect a PAC to do that Thirty-Thousand.org, which is a 501(c)(3), cannot do? I'm not asking that question as a challenge; instead, I'm only trying to understand the expectations. I realize that Thirty-Thousand.org ("TTO") cannot lobby in support of specific legislation nor make campaign donations, but there is much that TTO can do.

Well I believe a 501(c)(3) is very restricted in its political activity I believe it's actually limited to only voter registration activities and indirect lobbying. Here's a link comparing the various types of advocacy organizations. http://www.opensecrets.org/527s/types.php I'm sure this isn't a complete authoritative breakdown, but it does provide a general explanation of the different types.

Second, do we expect the existence of a PAC to encourage donations (to this cause) that would not otherwise be made to TTO? Bear in mind that donations to TTO are tax deductible, but donations to a PAC would not be.

While I think we're all a little new at this, I would guess there's a reason that the big time lobbying organizations- Right to Life, NOW, Realtors, etc., all form PACs and not 501(c)(3)'s or if they are 501(c)(3)'s they have a 527 component separate from the 501(c)(3) because 501(c)(3)'s are so limited. Again, maybe we're not ready for this yet-but at least discussing it now gets it in our minds for the future.

bwatson wrote: For what it is worth, I once spoke with a respected state level representative (WA) about it and I was not laughed at. In fact, he leaned forward.
This is a good example. I have long wanted to promote this to state legislators. They are in the best position to quickly grasp the various benefits of representational enlargement (of the U.S. House). There are several ways to promote this cause to state legislators, including a direct mail campaign. Here's my point: this is something that could easily be done by TTO if we could afford it (as it is education and outreach, not lobbying for specific legislation). In support of such an effort, it is more likely that donations would be made to TTO (tax deductible) than to a PAC (not tax deductible).

My only real disagreement with that is state legislators get mailings from hundreds of organizations a year. I'm willing to bet 90% of that is thrown in the garbage without it being read. However, if you donate $5k to a state legislator who only has 100k in the bank to run with- suddenly your ideas have a value to him. Not that you bribe the legislator to agree, just that we live in a world of "what can you do for me" and sending this guy a piece of paper to have him step out on a limb for some people he's never met and an idea that he's just now heard of, is a bit of a stretch--but that may be all we're capable of doing at this point and that's fine. Gotta start somewhere.

bwatson wrote:The question is, how much would it cost to form a sustainable PAC?
A PAC's total budget would depend on what activities it would be expected to engage in, which takes us back to my first question. We would want to identify activities that the PAC would engage in (that TTO cannot), as well as determine the feasibility of raising money in support of those activities.


Again, it may not be feasible yet to form and fund a PAC, but some sort of meeting- even if an online Skype meeting or whatever could be an important step for making people feel like we're actually taking a small step towards the ultimate goal rather than just having a good idea online like 10 million other people.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby JEQuidam » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:20 am

803sccdantes wrote: Again, it may not be feasible yet to form and fund a PAC, ...
I wish I were able to work on TTO full time. My biggest challenge is that I am incredibly time constrained (you all probably are as well) and so don't have any bandwidth available to do many things that I would like to do. For example, if I had more time, I would want to investigate the feasibility of raising money to support those activities which a PAC can engage in (that TTO cannot). The only major things that a PAC could do, that TTO can't, is lobby for specific legislation and support specific candidates. If someone wants to provide significant funding for those activities, then I promise we'll quickly form a PAC! But lacking that financial commitment, it would be impossible for me to spend time on a speculative endeavor (which may or may not raise funds).

Please bear in mind that there is much that TTO can do (as a 501c3), and it is generally easier to solicit tax-deductible donations than those for a PAC (which are not tax deductible). TTO can do a great deal of "marketing" of representational enlargement to the general public, public officials and the media. The only limitation is budget!

803sccdantes wrote: but some sort of meeting- even if an online Skype meeting or whatever could be an important step for making people feel like we're actually taking a small step towards the ultimate goal ....
We're not ready for that. Our numbers are too few for any type of credible meeting. Look how few are participating in this forum. Consider how difficult it is for people to understand the need for representational enlargement. You must be finding this as you discuss this with others. The common reaction is "I hate politicians, why would I want more? "

Representation is an abstract concept for many and the need to replace career-politicians with citizen legislators is not yet widely understood. Right now, I believe that our best efforts are at the grassroots level of persuading others, and that has to be done by people (not by a website or a PAC). Currently, the purpose of the TTO website and forum is to train the trainers. Most people will not take the time to read much of the information that is here, but the leaders of this movement will read this information and spread the word throughout their communities. Job #1 is educating the general public about representational enlargement. If the people are not yet ready for this, the political leadership will not embrace it.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby 803sccdantes » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:44 pm

I will say this- there must be some interest and some money behind this idea because I don't think those lawyers for the apportionment lawsuit are working for free. Maybe it would be a good idea to ask them if they're interested in forming some sort of united group to start a PAC.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby bwatson » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:30 pm

Perhaps it is premature after all to commit to an annual schedule. However, I believe that it would be very beneficial to get together to discuss this issue face to face with other interested people. I have had limited experience with conference planning but it is enough to recognize that it is something that can be pulled of with with a little diligence. If it is decided to hold one, I will commit to helping to make it happen in any way possible.

I noticed in the Sep. 17th NYT piece that a conference related to this issue was held in DC by the Population Resource Center recently. Does anyone know anything about that? I have considered contacting that organization directly but I wanted to see if there was anything anyone here knew about it first.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby JEQuidam » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:50 am

bwatson wrote:I noticed in the Sep. 17th NYT piece that a conference related to this issue was held in DC by the Population Resource Center recently. Does anyone know anything about that? I have considered contacting that organization directly but I wanted to see if there was anything anyone here knew about it first.

TTO participated in the same conference (at the PRC) when it took place on Jan 12, 2007, at the Rayburn Office Building. It was chaired by Congressman Rush Holt (who does not support enlargement) and Dr. Prewitt (Columbia). Several other notables were there. I was pleased to have Thirty-Thousand.org represented there.

It is my perception that this was intended to be a little social meeting of like-minded folks, and that TTO's proposal (for a substantial enlargement of representation) was well outside what should be discussed among polite and sophisticated people. Perhaps my perception is mistaken. In any case, we have not been invited back!
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby sbozich » Tue May 24, 2011 11:48 am

Instead of employing a "sniper rifle" approach and targeting individual leaders, why not adopt a "shotgun" tactic and approach grassroots movements, left and right alike. Personally, I think you'd have more luck with those on the right than the left, but that wouldn't stop me from trying.

The Tea Party is a great example. They are not a vertical organization, although they do have a hierarchy. They are very horizontally integrated, and approaching a local Tea Party group can have the same effect as going straight to the top. They have a huge base from upon which they can draw, and have the ear of many political leaders.

The 30K:1 movement is attractive to the likes of the Tea Party. That said, I wouldn't shy away at all from approaching groups that approach their politics from the left. There are many such groups that are also disenchanted with the status quo, and the 30K:1 movement has a baked-in nonpartisianshipness (no, that's not a word; but one of things things about English is I can make it a word) to it.

I occasionally attend Tea Party events, I will make sure to bring it to their attention next chance I get.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby Pseudolus » Wed May 25, 2011 4:17 am

This is one of those rare threads where I actually agree with all of the above statements. I understand Jeff's concerns, but I also understand the need/desire for those passionate to become more involved.

Ultimately, I don't see a reason why we can't have both a PAC and the current TTO 501(c)(3) working. It can only help to involve more people in what needs to eventually become a citizens movement.

There are only 100 members on this site; and I'm not sure how many regularly participate, let alone are addicted to it like myself. It would be good to chat with others in an environment that promotes creative thinking and personal discussion so that we can learn each others resources and talents. I'm a bit of a polymath, and I suspect--unlike the population at large--many others on this site are equally diverse in their knowledge. If we could pool those resources in some way, we'd be much better off. I've got lots of plans that would help TTO, but I've yet to find someone with the mathematical computer programming skills necessary to test my final theory in a 3-part plan.

An annual meeting would be a good thing, plus perhaps intermittent Skype meetings for those interested. It can't hurt to talk. What states are we all located in? It would be a shame not to know if someone lives around the corner. I'm currently in New York, NY; but still have ties in New Orleans, LA.

If we ever want to have an annual in-person meeting might I suggest it be on a date with historical significance toward our cause, such as:
  • December 15th, the day the Bill of Rights was ratified into the U.S. Constitution sans Article the First,
  • September 25th, the day the first Congress sent the Bill of Rights including Article the First to the states for ratification, or
  • September 12th, (the best of all dates in my opinion) the day the founding Philadelphia delegates debated and agreed upon the idea of a Bill of Rights to be included in the Constitution (one of the big reasons the Constitution actually was adopted 5 days later on Sept. 17th); it's also the day after 9/11 which has become solidified in the minds of present-day Americans as a day for national unification and remembrance of our founding American principles. The coincidence of these two dates in 1789 and 2001 can only be a boon to our cause if we adopt and utilize it for our own goals, because it informs the past while resonating in the present.
For now, I'd love to set up a Skype meet with those interested. Perhaps drop me a private message and then we can collectively coordinate the exact Skype time and day. Though I'm already inclined to suggest two weeks from today, which would be Tuesday, June 7th--(somewhat) coincidentally the same day Richard Henry Lee came to the Continental Congress with Virginia's initial resolution for American Independence.
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Re: Have We Considered Forming a PAC or Annual Meeting?

Postby 803sccdantes » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:27 pm

Just re-checked the website today for the first time in a while.....been really busy the past few months with having a child, starting a new job, taking the bar, etc.

Anyways, did anyone ever meet up? If not, we should plan to in the future-at least via skype.
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