As a fiscal conservative, I’m always on the lookout for new organizations that have economic policy as the driving force behind their mission. Today, I’m happy to share an interview with businessman Peter M Vessenes, CEO of ProfitSee Inc. who’s taking his knowledge and 30+ years of experience and repurposing those skills to lead a new Political Action Committee called American Citizens for Economic Freedom or ACEF.
Here’s our interview:
1. Can you tell our readers what the catalyst was, for you, to make the leap from Business owner to starting a PAC and getting involved in politics?
Both my wife and I were offered opportunities to make a career in Government in our 20’s. After a short time, we felt more driven to raise a family and become part of the local community, so we left the “promise” of Washington in 1976. Each of us in our own way found unique and personally fulfilling career paths in the private sector, despite personally having 3 offers to become a lobbyist in the 1980’s.
My path focused around helping businesses going through transitions and emerging opportunities. For eight years I primarily assisted Fortune 100 companies, combining insights and skills in business operations, global and national economics, technology, and fiscal management.
In 1991 I shifted the focus of my skills from multinational corporations to small and mid-sized businesses. It was very rewarding, and allowed me to work intimately with almost every facet of Mainstreet American, from the business owner to their teams, their families, and their communities.
As patterns began to emerge from my experiences I began to write, to do platform speeches, hold workshops, and multi-day training events. A few years ago I co-authored a book with Katherine (my wife and college sweetheart) titled “Building Your Multi-Million Dollar Practice” from Dearborn Press.
Four years ago I launched ProfitSee Inc., a Cloud software company that provides CPAs and their small and mid-sized business clients the reporting and projection tools that CFOs and analysts provide within multinational corporations. Fiscal and asset management was the “weakest link” in most smaller companies.
Thirty years of fixing broken businesses combined with thirty eight years in assessing what was wrong with the country’s economic and legislative policy came to an apex in the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections. I was terrified of the impact of unfettered Progressive and entitlement policies taking over the country; I knew the consequences it would have on the thousands of businesses I had touched in my career.
I wound up having a collection of very dear people showing up at my house each week asking me to discuss what was going on. This has continued unabated on Saturday nights.
My frustration with the Republican Party was large. I have been a true economic conservative all my adult life, but growing up on the South Side of Chicago also made me a pragmatist. The most basic elements of explaining to regular people what is really going on, and what has to be done about it were missing. It was beyond the messaging being flawed. Fundamental definitions of key words, like “capitalism”, were being falsely defined by Liberals, and I learned long ago, that if you play a game in which you opponents have defined the rules, even an act of God will not allow you to win.
A mutual friend I was introduced to felt I had some characteristics that could best be leveraged by leading a Super PAC.
That was a little over two months ago. Today our Saturday night group has turned into an 18 person team that is just about to launch our website, built the research and fact finding, helped me create over 40 articles, and actually allowed me to teach them how to write effectively!
The response to our content in early “trails” has been profound, converting both “Independents” and some life long Democrats. I don’t ever want our efforts to become nothing more than “talking points” for “true believers”. They must be both the message and the policies strategies than can persuade all but the 22% of the radical left wing. One thing is for sure: beliefs trump the truth. We must be effective in our writing, messaging, and communications in transforming their beliefs… I have done it successfully for 30 years in business. Hopefully I can do it again to many millions in the critical 2012 election.
2. What is the mission and goal(s) of your PAC?
This question is easy; our tag line is “Rebuilding the US Economy, one person at a time. I wrote the more formal Mission Statement for our website.
Here is a copy of it:
Welcome to American Citizens for Economic Freedom. We hope you enjoy our website, and will become a part of our team. ACEF is made up of every-day people from a broad spectrum of places, careers, nationalities, educational levels, and races. My name is Peter M. Vessenes.
I grew up in an immigrant family in Chicago. Since 1982, I have been a business advisor to companies ranging from the largest multinational corporations to small businesses launched by entrepreneurs. Since the 1970s I have also been a student of economics, international banking and trade, a writer, an author, and for the last 20 years, a platform speaker to thousands of companies.
Along with the many people that make up ACEF, I felt compelled to write and speak on the real truth about what is happening in our economy and our communities. Particularly, I am driven to show the true underlying causes and beliefs that have been relentlessly shifting the nation away from things that are the very genetic nature of mankind.
People in our country MUST understand things as simple as sharing the real definition of “Capitalism” – an economic system of barter in which all the trading partners believe they are receiving equal or greater value in exchange for what they traded – to proving why it is instinctive in us as a creature. Confusing people about what capitalism is has been the ticket to disaster for the past 30 years.
Voters in the next election must clearly see how politicians and bureaucrats in government that give unfair advantage to companies and businesses that are friends and supporters are cheating all of us as citizens. We must also understand that those businesses are NOT Capitalists practicing Capitalism. They are nothing more than the collusion between the federal government and business. In other words, they are Washington Inc.
We will cover a broad spectrum of topics: Banks, Foreign Affairs, Education, Entitlements, Health Care, Energy, Government Debt, and even basic elements of living that make for a stronger, safer nation.
We are not supporting any individual candidate, or even any specific political party. We are certain that if you read the articles in our website daily, you will see clearly how we have all been “cheated in the trade”. We hope you will be able to clearly evaluate all the candidates you can support and vote for in your district.
Who knows; if enough of us can be heard, we can change the laws, policies and federal budget fiascos that have brought our nation to such a terrible precipice.
I hope you will find some way to join us in strengthening the impact of our messages. Whether you simply refer others to visit the website, become a contributor, or even a contributor of articles, we hope together we can truly influence the next Congress, President, and his administration, to put the nation back on track to be the true shining light of hope and prosperity for the rest of the world.
I am also including an introductory statement that new visitors to the website will initially land on:
The country and the world are in a state of despair. The atmosphere crosses almost all boundaries and barriers.
Governments are in a state of economic crisis caused by decades of poor policies. They have been driven by faulty beliefs, the addiction of remaining in power, and the willingness to trade favors to benefit themselves and a few. Government employee unions collude with politicians to provide unsustainable wages, benefits, and pensions to their members.
Progressivism, Washington Inc., nationalized health care, entitlements, European style socialism, and global banking flaws are all to blame.
America’s unnecessary foreign energy dependence over the past fifty years has destroyed our formerly strong position of exporting more than we import. We ship the wealth of our citizens internationally rather than strengthen ourselves because of it.
Environmentalists accuse our nation of polluting the world, and devise “slight of hand” policies to get us to pay for other nations pollutions and industrialization. Wall Street frequently is willing to bend or ignore the rules to make a fast buck, and Senators and Congressmen shamelessly take advantage of insider knowledge to generate incredible stock returns with Wall Street cronies.
We are also challenged by core beliefs among radical Islamic factions, destabilizing peace and safety in the world. Traditional approaches to foreign affairs and international policies are not working.
The United States of America was created to provide a means of upending and changing these types of activities. The Founding Fathers were not naïve. They did not believe a Representative Republic would eliminate politicians that did not serve the best interest of all the people. They believed that the structure of our government would always provide its citizens the means of systematically replacing such people with those of sounder mind and greater wisdom.
ACEF is a collection of regular people. We have come to believe that our nation (and the world), is at such a critical stage that we had to speak up. Very few people understand the facts; despite the breadth of information available outside the “mainstream” media, clarity, facts, sound reasoning, and basic wisdom are seldom found.
Please join us in our effort to put people into political office at all levels that will take an uncompromising approach to stopping this current madness.
3. Will your PAC be more in line with Tea Party/Liberty Movement conservatives or main stream republicans?
Without question, we are philosophically, economically, and governmentally aligned with the Tea Party/Liberty Movement conservatives.
4. Is the PAC primarily about supporting candidates, issue advocacy, or both?
We are about issues, policy, exposing the reality of what is going on, how it takes place, and what we must do to change it. We are not supporting individual candidates; rather, as we get closer to the election, we will have a candidate thermometer to assess how all candidates stack up to what we believe must take place to turn around the nation. We are also trying to drive our readers to real-time, practical action both during the election and after, to help elect the people that will not flinch or “go inside the Beltway” in their activities as elected officials. Fundamentally, we want to remove or cripple the “politicians” whichever party they live in.
5. Who do you envision your audience to be and how do you intend to reach them?
We are already gathering quite a following from a very diverse collection of people just by networking. So far they include physicians, employees of large corporations, small business owners, airline pilots, “stay at home” moms, union workers, college and high school students, and many other “every day” people. In other words, the Tea Party people. There seems to be a large “buzz” around the launch of our website. Hopefully it will go viral…
We also are working hard to extend our messages to Democrats who are Democrats primarily because “they have been one all their lives” or those that have believed the talking points and spin of the left without the facts. We have actually become pretty good at those efforts.
Beyond that, I have done a lot of public speaking. I hope to become part of the Tea Party and other gatherings during the course of the campaign.
We also anticipate the ability to raise sufficient funds to sponsor both radio and television ads in key races nationally.
I want to thank Mr. Vessenes for taking time to speak with us and let you know that we’ll follow-up when the website is ready to launch!