Wikinews interviews Mark Everson, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

File photo of Mark Everson
Image: U.S. Government.

Former U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Mark Everson took some time to talk with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Everson served as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the administrative head of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2003 to 2007, during the George W. Bush administration. After his departure, he briefly served as CEO of the American Red Cross, worked in the cabinet of Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, and worked for the tax consulting firm alliantgroup. He announced his candidacy this past March with a sixteen-page open letter in which he outlined the six pillars of his campaign: amnesty for illegal immigrants, reinstatement of the military draft, a promise to serve only a single presidential term, and calls for tax reform, deficit reduction, and corporate responsibility.

He was excluded from the August 6 Fox News Republican presidential debate and has been excluded from most presidential polls. However, he is listed on the Republican Party's website as one of 18 candidates and filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against Fox News for his exclusion from the August 6 debate.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn‎, Everson discusses his 2016 campaign, the media blackout of his campaign, and his views on the presidency and the possible Everson administration.


2016 campaign and qualifications

  • ((William S. Saturn)) Why run for president? Why not run for a lower office that you might be more likely to win and effect change?
((Mark Everson)) The electorate is very unsettled. Americans are fed up with politics as usual, so there is a clear path for a nontraditional candidate. I have extensive private sector experience and know the government inside out, but do not carry the political baggage of ties to special interest groups. I have lived in nine states. As a result, I have seen and know America well, but do not have the deep ties to a particular state or community that would traditionally be associated with seeking a different office.
  • ((WSS)) What qualifications do you have that will assist you in executing the duties of president?
((Everson)) While I have not held elective office, my public service credentials meet or exceed those of many of the candidates in the race. My federal executive branch experience (at USIA, DOJ, OMB, and the Treasury) is greater than that of any candidate in the GOP contest. I managed the nation's immigration system under President Reagan, and in the administration of President George W. Bush was instrumental in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and directed the nation's tax system as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Immigration, homeland security and taxes are issues of critical importance to the country and central to the 2016 election.
  • ((WSS)) How much campaigning have you done so far?
((Everson)) I have campaigned in 26 counties across Iowa and also made campaign stops in New Hampshire. I have been interviewed on radio shows across the country.
  • ((WSS)) What are your thoughts on your fellow Republican presidential candidates?
((Everson)) I think it is a strong field and that the vigorous policy debate underway in the party is good for the country.
  • ((WSS)) Would you ever consider running as a third party or independent candidate?
((Everson)) I am running as a Republican and am not contemplating a third party or independent candidacy.

Media blackout

  • ((WSS)) Wikinews covered the complaint you filed with the FEC against Fox News in your attempt to be included in the August 6 Debate. In our report, Election Law expert Richard Winger suggested you file a lawsuit rather than an FEC complaint. Do you have an update on your FEC complaint and might you consider filing a lawsuit if you are excluded from future debates?
((Everson)) We have received notice that the FEC has filed the complaint with Fox News, but nothing else. I have written to CNN and the Reagan Foundation requesting inclusion in their September debate. At this time I do not expect to file a lawsuit on this matter.
((WSS)) What is your response to Mr. Winger, who said you had a good case and may have had an opportunity to gain access to the debate if you filed a lawsuit instead of an FEC complaint?
((Everson)) I did look into the possible filing of a law suit and was informed by a prominent election law expert that the chances were quite slim that the courts would intervene in a matter properly before the FEC.
((WSS)) Are you saying that you do not expect to litigate the Fox News matter or do you not expect to file a lawsuit to gain access to future debates? If so, why?
((Everson)) I expect to pursue the FOX matter with the FEC. I will assess future legal actions as events unfold.
  • ((WSS)) Your exclusion from National presidential polls appears to be the biggest detriment to your campaign and effort to appear in debates. Is there anything your campaign can do to include your name in polls to qualify for future debates?
((Everson)) We have written the polling companies requesting that I be included in the polls.
((WSS)) Have the polling companies responded to your requests? If so, what have they said?
((Everson)) We have not yet heard from the polling companies.
  • ((WSS)) Are you surprised by your exclusion from presidential polls and events or did you expect this when you announced?
((Everson)) At this still early stage of the race, I am surprised that participation has been limited to established politicians and individuals already enjoying significant name recognition. The process should be about surfacing issues of importance to the country and who can best tackle the challenges at hand.

The presidency and administration

  • ((WSS)) What are your thoughts on the job Barack Obama has done as president? Specifically, what would you have done differently?
((Everson)) The president has failed to unite the nation, the government is not operating well in any number of areas, and the world is certainly a more dangerous place than when he took office. My main objection to his term in office extends beyond his policy choices to his unprecedented expansion of executive power. I have a track record of implementing the law as written, not as I might wish it to be. The powers of the presidency are significant, but limited under our constitution.
  • ((WSS)) If elected, what would constitute a successful presidency for you?
((Everson)) The specifics include a rewrite of the tax code to take 150 million Americans off the income tax rolls; holding Wall Street and the big banks accountable to following the law, and taking regulatory actions to increase lending; institution of a program of national service; real, balanced reforms to our entitlement programs to assure their continued viability; rewriting our immigration laws to control our borders and reinforce our tradition of assimilation; and taking reelection politics out of Oval Office decision-making by serving only a single term. More broadly, I would consider an Everson presidency successful if we restore faith in our government at home and abroad, and Americans once again put national interests ahead of self-interest.
  • ((WSS)) Which individuals would you like to see in an Everson administration?
((Everson)) I know many qualified individuals who would do an excellent job serving the nation, but believe it serves no purpose to disclose particular names at this early date.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.