Embracing Occupy Wall Street means embracing the language of the 99 percent—even when you're filing for a super PAC. Today, an election lawyer tipped us off to a Federal Election Commission filing for a brand new super PAC: The Occupy Wall Street Political Action Committee. It's the type of document that's typically stuffy and technical, but less so when the treasurer of the super PAC is an Occupy organizer. Note the mailing address that's listed above.
It looks like a high school prank but the committee's treasurer John Paul Thornton promises us it's anything but. "We're utterly serious," he tells The Atlantic Wire. A data technician in Decatur, Alabama, Thornton says he's an active member in his state's Occupy movement, contacting state representatives and city council-members, participating in weekly general assembly meetings, and staying active in his local branch's private and public online forums.
With the 200 members of his online forum and 1,800 on the Occupy Huntsville, Alabama Facebook page, he wants to raise money for federal candidates pledging to get money out of politics, including Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. "It's going to be fairly democratic. We'll take opinions on how much candidates need and in what areas.
Of course, if he wants to abide by FEC standards, he'll have to tighten up his FEC filings. Brett Kappel, counsel at the DC law firm Arent Fox, said some of the titles Thornton filled out for himself such as "chief principle minister" and "keeper of records" aren't acceptable.
"There are only two acceptable titles – treasurer and custodian of records," says Kappel, who initially flagged the filing for us. "The FEC will probably send him what’s called a Request for Additional Information (RFAI) letter asking him about the innovative titles." When told that the title he created for himself in the filing wouldn't pass muster, he said, "Ah c'mon. Have a sense of humor. If they want to scratch that out and say CEO that's fine."
We found it a little odd that Thornton, who decries corporate money in politics, is establishing a mechanism for raising unlimited corporate funds. "It does seem counterintuitive," he said. "I am out to get the bloated amounts of money out of politics but to do that, we need to support candidates looking to do that."
You can see the whole filing here.