It’s been rather controversial news since its announcement yesterday, but the Occupy PAC has gotten a lot of coverage, both from “credentialed media” and barely-literate, anonymous paranoids (It’s spelled Tattler, for the record). Mr. Thornton was kind enough to answer some of our questions, despite the barrage of interviews he had yesterday.
TDO: First off, tell us a bit about you, where you’re from, what you do, and what got you involved with the Occupy movement.
JPT: I was born and raised in Decatur, Alabama, with time elsewhere for school/ travelling and what not. I currently work in the mental health field, and before that was an army contractor in the Huntsville area. I got involved with Occupy because it was the right thing to do. Anyone (hopefully) can see the litany of injustices, the vast disparity in income, elected officials only working for those with money, etc. This has to stop, as soon as possible, and it is a worthwhile goal to strive for.
TDO: What got you thinking about starting a SuperPAC, and why one for the Occupy movement at all?
JPT: Colbert. Literally, I was watching his thing about his Super PAC and said ‘Gee, it would be nice if OWS had one of those’, and here we are.
TDO: How did you go about doing this in the first place? What kind of requirements do you have to meet? Did it cost anything? What kind of things can Occupy get from a SuperPAC?
JPT: I got on the FEC.gov site and followed the instructions, for the most part. I had to fill out all paperwork accurately, there was no fee, and what CAN’T Occupy get from a superpac? This is long overdue. If we really want to impact the political process and not just bitch about it, it’s things like this that we have to do.
TDO: Given the strict rules concerning “cooperation,” how can this PAC serve Occupy without violations? Would Occupiers talking to you be considered “cooperation?”
JPT: I’m not sure on that, I’m not entirely done reading over the vast sum of info regarding PACs that the FEC puts up. We will of course take care to remain compliant.
TDO: Who are you looking to as donors? Do you have any fundraising goals in mind?
JPT: I don’t care if it’s Joe Schmoe or his CEO, they both can donate. No goals as of yet….though anything is better than nothing, si?
TDO: What will you do with the money? Will you try to educate people about important issues, like the foreclosure fiasco? What kind of things do you want to do?
JPT: I envision that the soon to be [appointed] board members will review submissions, pick the ones most viable and worthy and then perhaps create a vote thingy and make this thing a little more democratic. That alone, I think, will be revolutionary. No, the PAC’s job is not educate, it’s to affect political change. If [people] want education, fire up Google and get to it. I am soliciting ideas on what ALL of us want to do. This isn’t a dictatorship, I just happen to be the guy who filed/is in charge for now. I think I would like to pass the reins over to someone more qualified on down the road, once this thing is rolling along well.
TDO: When you said “pick the ones most viable and worthy” what were you referring to? I’m guessing commercials, or ad spots, or something to that effect, yes?
JPT: Funding requests. We aren’t just gonna throw money around just because someone wants it. That would be irresponsible. And yes, possibly those too, as other PACs seem to be doing that for their candidates.
TDO: Do you intend to publicly put forth a set of goals/an agenda? How will you prove the PAC is “remaining honest,” so to speak?
JPT: Pure transparency. All records will be available. We will have nothing to hide; it’s the internet era, ya know? This is very doable. I’m not sure as to an agenda; see above about still soliciting ideas.
TDO: Some people have claimed that this is an attempt to hijack the movement for your personal/political gain. How would you respond to them?
JPT: I politely say “I am not hijacking anything. You don’t like it, don’t participate/donate; but don’t stand in the way or criticize people who are trying to affect real change via methods you don’t agree with.”
TDO: Do you have any specific candidates you want to assist in mind?
TDO: Finally, how can we stay updated with the PAC?
JPT: Subscribe to the OWS PAC Facebook page for now… Actual website with donation mechanism to come soon.
TDO: Again, thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you.
JPT: Thank You.