Debra Cleaver, founder of Vote.org and CEO of VoteAmerica, files lawsuit against Vote.org’s Board of Directors, current leadership
“I’ve devoted my career to protecting our Democracy – we can’t let a small group of privileged insiders advance themselves at its expense.”
San Francisco, California – Yesterday evening, Debra Cleaver filed a complaint in the Superior Court of California. Ms. Cleaver is bringing this suit against Vote.org, its Board of Directors, current leadership, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and Insperity PEO Services.
Ms. Cleaver’s complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief for wrongful termination under California’s whistleblower statute, and breach of charitable trust. The complaint further seeks reconstitution of the Vote.org board of directors. You can read the full complaint here.
Specifically, Ms. Cleaver’s counsel, Philip Andonian, elaborated in the complaint: “This case is about a vengeful board of directors retaliating against one of its own when she threatened to expose fiduciary malfeasance at a prominent California nonprofit, and that board’s ongoing mismanagement, private inurement, and wasting of charitable resources in the name of self-interest over the public good.” Mr. Andonian is a nationally known litigator with decades of courtroom experience. He currently represents Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in the Congressman’s lawsuit against former president Donald Trump for his actions on January 6, 2021.
Ms. Cleaver echoed Mr. Andonian in her own statement: “I’ve devoted my career to protecting our democracy and years of my life to building vote.org. While it pains me to bring this suit, our democracy is fragile, and we can’t let a small group of privileged insiders advance themselves at its expense.”
Debra Cleaver has been working at the intersection of technology and democracy since 2004. She is a serial founder whose organizations include FutureVoter (2022), VoteAmerica (2020), ElectionDay.org (2018), Vote.org (2016), Long Distance Voter (2008), and Swing the State (2004). Debra is an alum of Pomona College and Y Combinator, and a former Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship. She speaks frequently on issues impacting voter turnout, with appearances at SXSW, Harvard Law, the Harvard School of Government, and University of Michigan. Debra’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, C-SPAN, WIRED, Bloomberg, The BBC, Forbes, and more.