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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    BREAKING: Independence Caucus Endorsement for Michigan S.O.S.

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 06:58:06 PM EST
    Tags: Independence Caucus, grassroots activists, Spanish Inquisition, Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, Ruth Johnson, Anne Norlander (all tags)

    Most member organizations of the Michigan Tea Party Alliance are structured as 527 groups.  This means that they're not allowed to directly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for elective office, only to operate on behalf of issue advocacy and voter mobilization.  However, the tea party coalitions in several states (including in Michigan) operate in strategic partnership with an organization set up specifically as a Political Action Committee.  This organization concerns itself with candidate screening, endorsement, and advocacy, with a specific focus on constitutional loyalty and grassroots activism, and on integrity over money.

    The Independence Caucus is not a political party, nor is it affiliated with any political party.  It is the anti-incumbent, non-affiliated group of concerned citizens devoted to electing candidates truly committed to constitutional loyalty and fiscal responsibility, regardless of party.  The goal is the election of such candidates to not less than 40% of the seats in the House and the Senate in 2010 . . . and in each following election year.  It is a not-for-profit organization of concerned citizens from all walks who recognize the responsibility to act now to protect future generations of this nation from the disastrous consequences of our unfathomable deficits and debts, and exists to teach us how to govern our country as citizens, and to provide the practical tools and resources to actually make it happen.

    The Independence Caucus is a unique organization in grassroots politics.  They employ a four-phase process that has been likened by one Michigan candidate to a modern-day Spanish Inquisition.  The vetting process goes as follows:

    • Each filed candidate is invited to respond to an 80-item vetting questionnaire based on constitutional principles. This is done through an on-line survey that is recorded.  Each question is treated as a commitment that the candidate is expected to honor once elected.  (It should be noted that the entire process is voluntary; no candidate is actually compelled to complete the vetting process.)

    • All responding candidates who commit to at least 70% of the vetting questions (56 of the 80) are prepared for a panel interview.  The preparation consists of the delegate team scouring a candidate's entire public record, flagging anything that doesn't square with the questionnaire responses, and preparing open-ended questions based on their research.  The interview itself is done by a panel of five delegates, typically lasts for two to three hours, and like the questionnaire is recorded for later review.

    • Once completed, the interviews for all candidates for the seat in question are securely posted online for I-Caucus members to review.  This is followed by an online conference period of 1 to 2 weeks where members can ask additional questions and caucus internally regarding the candidates.  Additional research may be done and posted to the discussion thread for comment and consideration.

    • Once the conference period ends, a vote survey is sent to all members of the district or state with a request to endorse or not to endorse.  All members in the district or state of the candidate are invited to vote on endorsements.  A candidate who is unopposed in the vetting process must receive a 70% "in favor" vote for endorsement.  With multiple candidate votes, one must receive a 60% super-majority of the competitive vote for endorsement; if no candidate receives at least 60%, then the top two are selected for a runoff vote.

    And I can promise you that no other organization in American politics does this.  The concept behind the vetting process is fairly simple:  Any candidate can lie to someone in a handshake conversation, television or radio ad, or in campaign literature.  But no candidate is going to be able to lie his way through this process without being smoked out by someone.

    The Independence Caucus, as a nationwide organization, has a policy against endorsing third party candidates.  The policy is based on the principle of Duverger's Law, which asserts that a single-member, district-plurality (SMDP) voting system - which is how it's done in America - will eventually coalesce into a two-party political system, even when we'd rather that it didn't.  In forming their policy, the I-Caucus leadership cites the precedent of the four Founding Fathers (John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison) who developed the American two-party system before George Washington had even completed his first term of office as POTUS.  Every major party that has formed since that time has always done so out of the ashes of a collapsed one.

    If the Founding Fathers couldn't figure out how to overcome Duverger's Law, then no one in this day and age is likely to be able to do so.  However, in 2008 the I-Caucus did prove that, by acting as an independent caucus within the two existing major parties, it is possible to root out compromised incumbents and take back control from the out of touch elitists currently holding office.

    The Michigan Tea Party Alliance, including the Michigan Chapter of the Independence Caucus, is well aware of the importance of the Secretary of State election this year.  The Michigan Democrat Party, and their national alliance, is tightly focused on no other state-level race to the degree that they are focused on this.  By seizing control of the Secretary of State, George Soros and his pet project can place themselves in position to manipulate the elections process in each controlled state.  We know that, their claims to the contrary, it will be done by destroying the sanctity of the ballot box and casting wide open the door to election fraud . . . all in the name of the Socialist-Democrat version of preventing vote suppression.

    Jocelyn Benson is the SOS Project (read: ACORN/SEIU) choice to challenge for the open seat being vacated by term-limited Terri Lynn Land.  So the Michigan Chapter of I-Caucus invited the five Republican candidates to go through the vetting process.  Questionnaires were submitted, candidates were researched, panel interviews were conducted, discussion threads were strung, and votes were cast.  Last Saturday, August 21st, the field of five was reduced to two (Ruth Johnson and Anne Norlander).  Beginning on Sunday the 22nd, a runoff vote was conducted between the top two candidates, lasting until noon today.

    And so, the breaking news . . .

    Secretary of State Candidate Ruth Johnson Earns Independence Caucus Endorsement

    Ruth Johnson has earned the endorsement of the I-Caucus in her bid to win the Republican nomination for Michigan Secretary of State.

    The goal of Independence Caucus is to find, vet, endorse and then assist principled candidates.  Members nationwide vote on candidates after receiving their questionnaire and a lengthy interview process.  I-Caucus promotes limited government, fiscal responsibility, and adherence to Constitutional authority.

    The goal of I-Caucus members is to bring government control and accountability back to the people, remove the influence and control of "big money" special interest groups, and to hold our representatives accountable to their promises and principles.

    Ruth Johnson responded to the endorsement saying, "It is an honor to have earned the confidence of the members of I-Caucus.  As a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and pro-Constitution candidate, my core values are very much in line with those promoted by the I-Caucus.  This is truly an honor."

    Johnson, the Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds, is a former state representative who investigated government waste and corruption, helping to send a public official to jail.  As Clerk, she has earned 14 national awards for innovation, cost-cutting, protecting integrity in elections, and promoting transparency in government.

    The support of I-Caucus members at this weekend's Republican State Convention in East Lansing will play a key factor in the nomination of Ruth Johnson for Secretary of State.

    . . . thus far the press release.

    Ruth Johnson earned 61% of the vote in the competitive runoff, only barely enough to earn the endorsement, but earning it nevertheless.  In announcing this endorsement, Donald Jakel, Independence Caucus Region Eleven Director, said, "Ruth has a wide range of experience that prepares her for this office.  She had a conservative voting record in the Michigan House, and is the clerk of a very large county.  Ruth also concurs with the Independence Caucus principles on the hot-button issues facing our state in elections, driver's licenses, and driver responsibility fees."

    It should be noted that, in her last election, Johnson beat the state political director for ACORN for the office that she now holds.  In 2006, she ran statewide as the fiscal and social conservative Lieutenant Governor nominee with Dick DeVos.  Recent statewide polling holds Johnson ahead of Jocelyn Benson, the Democrats' candidate for Secretary of State, by 12 percent.

    I don't know that Ruth Johnson's interview is as yet publicly available online, but if you'd like to help or get involved with the Independence Caucus, then you can follow this link.

    < Really? Reeaaaally?! | Character and Consequence >

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    So.. (none / 0) (#1)
    by jgillmanjr on Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 09:56:15 AM EST
    Is there a way to see the questions asked, and what the responses were?

    Thanks KRH (none / 0) (#2)
    by Corinthian Scales on Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 10:05:09 AM EST
    Ruth is a person of integrity.  She has my vote.

    • Agreed! by apackof2, 10/08/2011 10:26:16 AM EST (none / 0)
    Playing Devil's Advocate (none / 0) (#4)
    by apackof2 on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 10:02:44 AM EST
    For a moment, If I may...It just might be me but it sounds like you are attributing a great deal of Ruth Johnson's win to an iCaucus endorsement....Hmmmm I guess I could say that in Michigan's M.A.P.S Questionnaire had the same weight as your claim iCaucus did but I won't as that would be presumptuous

    As I have not heard much about iCaucus of late and I did some research and on the National web site, saw very little activity nation-wide and virtually none for Michigan. I did find a MI iCaucus web site with very little activity and a "Membership Drive page

    The only 2011 activity I could find so far was out of West Michigan Tea Party

    Kevin, If you could please provide membership numbers, vetting panel members in Michigan of iCaucas,WITHOUT having to join I would like to see it otherwise I am forced to assume that iCaucas is a very limited outreach organization in Michigan.

    Not saying it can't be a useful tool but it certainly isn't the only or sum total of vetting for Tea Parties in Michigan

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