PRESS RELEASE from Unity08

August 3, 2006
CONTACT: Shane Kinkennon, 703-855-9576,

New Unity08 Committee Will Determine Rules by which Viable Unity Ticket Is Nominated

Peter Ackerman, Tom Collier to Lead Group; Convention Rules, Nomination Process to Lead List of Topics Group Will Address

Denver, CO … Today Unity08 announced that it has appointed a rules committee to determine precisely how the new political organization will put its groundbreaking vision for a viable Unity Ticket for the 2008 presidential election into action. The new group will make recommendations to the Unity08 Steering Committee on how the first-ever online political convention will work, how candidates will indicate their intent to run and choose running mates, and the process by
which delegates will actually nominate the Unity Ticket to represent them in ’08.

The committee will be co-chaired by Peter Ackerman, Managing Director of Rockport Capital and Board Chairman of Freedom House, and Tom Collier, former Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton Administration and partner at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson.

“Unity08 is entering uncharted political waters in our quest to take back the country from pointless partisan bickering,” said Founders Council member Doug Bailey, founder of the political newsletter The Hotline. “So we’ve chosen a representative group of experts and laymen to help chart that course. We want experience and new ideas -- historical perspective and fresh insight.”

Unity08, a broad political movement designed to represent the majority of Americans who reject the polarizing politics that have paralyzed Washington, will hold the first-ever online convention in the Spring of 2008 to nominate its own Unity Ticket for President and Vice President – of one Republican and one Democrat (in whatever order). The Rules Committee will recommend detailed guidelines to enable that totally new idea to happen with complete understanding of the process by the candidates and complete confidence by the people.

“The Rules Committee,” said Chairs Ackerman and Collier, “is really going to take the best ideas of Unity08 supporters from the website and build them into a coherent set of rules for this entirely new exercise of freedom. We need the process and the rules to be logical, transparent, coherent and fair. We are going to try to work with the Unity08 supporters on the website to engage them in the process towards those ends.”

For example, the website ( starts today a discussion of whether a candidate for the nomination of the Unity08 convention would need to bring or show some evidence of support from the public in order to qualify to be on a convention ballot. “For a variety of obvious reasons,” Unity08 founder Jerry Rafshoon said, “we don’t want a repeat of the California recall ballot with an endless string of publicity seekers using this most significant of all elections for their own personal gain. So the question is how can we be true to the goal of allowing anyone constitutionally qualified to run to do so, and still impose some sense of purpose and seriousness to the process. We welcome all ideas, and have asked the Rules Committee to come up with clear answers.”

Unity08 co-founder Hamilton Jordan, former chief of staff in the Carter White House, said, “We are more certain than ever that the timing is right for a sea change in Washington. Ackerman, Collier and the distinguished members of this committee will (with the help of supporters on the website) take us where the rubber meets the road, outlining how our first-of-its-kind online political convention will result in a Unity Ticket that will win the White House and once again show Washington the progress that can result when elected leaders work together to get things done.”

Including the chairmen, the nine-member Rules Committee consists of three Democrats, three Republicans and three independents. The other members of the committee include:

     Valerie Syme, a Silicon Valley business consultant.
     David King, a professor of government at Harvard University.
     Dennis Johnson, a non-profit executive from New York City.
     Sayuri Yamada Matthews, a business association executive in Santa Fe.
     Michael Turk, a web strategy advisor in Washington, DC, and former eCampaign Director for Bush/Cheney04.
     Anna Freidinger, a senior at Eureka College in Eureka, IL.
     Will Fogel, a junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

(More biographical information and pictures are available at

“No one should minimize their challenge,” said Unity08 founder Jim Jonas. “Just on the use of the website alone, we have to have a system by which the candidates can use the site fairly to campaign for support among the millions of delegates who will be voting at the convention. And of course the same rules must apply to everyone. We want the Rules Committee to sort through the best ideas from our supporters, suggest a course of action, and then be open to even better ideas once they are posted on the website.”

Fellow Unity08 Founder Zach Clayton, a student at the University of North Carolina, said “this is truly exciting. We think Unity08 is defining the future of American politics, so it is vital to get the rules right from the outset. Who can be a delegate? Who can be a candidate? When must they name their running mates for V.P? How exactly does the convention work? Can someone be drafted? If so, how? Exciting stuff.”

“The college students are proud to be represented on the Committee,” said Unity08 founder Lindsay Ullman of Yale University. “We’re on 150 campuses today, with many more to come, and we have said to all of them that Unity08 is our chance to be heard. All the decisions made and avoided in Washington will affect us for the rest of our lives, but few listen to what we have to say. Unity08 will, and having our voices on the Rules Committee goes a long way toward showing just that.”

Unity08 is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The organization currently is organized under IRS rules as a section 527 political organization, while it seeks guidance from the Federal Election Commission. Over the coming weeks and months, through a network of volunteers and leaders across the country, Unity08 will recruit concerned voters to join the movement by signing up on the Unity08 website (