The War on the Electoral College: NPV Conflicts of Interest
How liberal groups are using conservative front men and exotic trips to assault the Constitution
NPV Conflicts of Interest
There’s one more element to the story the public should know.
According to its latest Form 990 filing, Saul Anuzis is vice president and board member for the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections, earning $104,000 in 2020 for the ten hours per week (that’s $200 per hour) he provided undescribed “services” to the organization, making him by far its highest-paid staffer. By comparison, Larry Lessler, the group’s board secretary and a Cupertino-based financial advisor, earned $31,500 last year in CPA fees from the group.
Anuzis’s salary is important because it represents nearly one-third of the institute’s $358,000 budget, and one sixth of its total revenues in 2020. The institute’s 2019 Form 990 also suggests that Anuzis collected $100,000 in fees as part of “Medaglia,” possibly referring to a difficult-to-trace firm in Washington, D.C. (Medaglia & Associates) listed in an older NPV Form 990 filing.
Anuzis’ political consulting firm, Coast to Coast Strategies, has pulled in at least another $330,000 in consulting fees from the institute’s 501(c)(4) sister, National Popular Vote, across three years (2019, 2016, and 2010).
Institute president Ray Haynes, a former Republican California assemblyman and state senator, is another principal at Anuzis’s Coast to Coast Strategies. Haynes has also received personal payments from both the institute and NPV for consulting services totaling at least $159,000 since 2016.
Yet that isn’t National Popular Vote’s only potential conflict of interest—or the most egregious. NPV president and co-founder Barry Fadem, a left-of-center election lawyer, has netted at least $1.4 million in consulting fees from the group since 2008. Institute chairman Patrick Rosenstiel heads Ainsley-Shea, a Minneapolis public affairs firm that has raked in at least $1.2 million from both groups since 2011.
As consultants, these payments present no problem and are in fact quite common. But as board members, the payments paint a picture of elite operatives enriching themselves off of a left-wing campaign that threatens to undermine the Constitution.
What’s clear is that the campaign to replace the Electoral College has hit the stumbling block of public perception. Conservatives in 2021 now understand what many folks misunderstood a decade ago: Any effort to dismantle, replace, or bypass the Constitution is a threat to the republic America’s founders established. Stripping out the Electoral College isn’t “fixing” the Constitution, but disemboweling it. Don’t expect the left to let up as long as activists believe their best chances at seizing power rest in destroying it.
This convoluted history also presents a clear message to conservative elected officials: If you back attempts to gut or ignore the Electoral College, be prepared to reap the whirlwind with your constituents and grassroots groups. After so many embarrassments, it seems Republican politicians have finally gotten the message—for now.
This article originally appeared in the January/February issue of the American Conservative.