In Part 1, we saw that ever since 1907, 2/3 or more of the States have had at least one active application on record asking Congress to call a convention under Art. V. And if Congress is hoodwinked into validating all non-rescinded applications by passing H.R.8419 or its 2023 counterpart, Congress will likely trigger the first constitutional convention since 1787.
So why wasn’t Congress deceived into calling a convention 50 or 100 years ago? Perhaps it’s because the PR industry hadn’t come of age yet! To justify a “call,” Congress, whose priority is getting re-elected, would require considerable constituent pressure—or the appearance of such—before casting a vote that would risk our Constitution.
Enter Mark Meckler, President of the Convention of States (COS), who has been waging a PR war with millions of dollars in dark money for almost a decade. COS is creating the impression that Americans are demanding a “convention of states” under Article V, while most Americans have no clue what an Article V Convention (A5C) is.
“Grassroots”—From the Top Down?!
In 2011—while Meckler was still with the Tea Party and just getting involved in the convention deception, he joined Eric O’Keefe’s John Hancock Committee of the States (JHCOS) as a Director and President. O’Keefe is known as the front man for the Koch brothers’ money. He is also Chairman of the Board and co-founder of Meckler’s Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG)—parent to COS.
In its 2011 IRS filing signed by Meckler, JHCOS reported over $1.8 million in anonymous contributions (pg. 1), and almost one million dollars in expenses to public relations & lobbying firms (pg. 8). At least 38% of the contributions can be traced to Donors Trust, the “dark money ATM” of the Right.
Hmmm—right out of the gate, almost $2 Million in seed money; pricey PR and lobbying firms; and $180,000 per year for Meckler by 2013, which appears to have started in mid-2012—well before Meckler introduced his first A5C application. Moreover, two members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)—Robert P. George and C. Boyden Gray—have been on Meckler’s Legal Board of Reference since its inception in 2014. That isn’t exactly how a grassroots organization gets started!
An “Army of 5 Million”
Petitions. A sophisticated computer has been spinning numbers representing alleged signers of COS petitions for years. But when Meckler was confronted with fake signatures in Idaho a few years back, he admitted (@ 1:28:00) that he can’t guarantee who signed, whether they remember that they signed, or whether they changed their mind since they “signed.” Indeed, it’s a mystery why half of Meckler’s “army” hasn’t bothered to sign at all!
Nevertheless, Meckler gets away with claiming he has “an army of 5 million” supporters nationwide and boasting about tens of thousands of supporters at each Legislature he visits. That’s twice the size of China’s army! And Meckler doesn’t bother to prove his numbers; nor is he usually questioned about them publicly.
Polls. COS commissions polls which proponents claim show bipartisan support for a “convention of states”—a complicated, little-understood issue—from data collected in a one- to three-minute robo-call, text, or phone survey. But COS polls don’t measure public opinion. COS commissions “push polls” to sway public opinion. PR firms and private pollsters design polls to get the response their clients pay for. The result is often published as News. Outcomes are manipulated by the questions asked.
For years, COS has routinely released official-looking poll results showing close to 2/3 support or more from voters responding to trick questions. Yet contrary to being a popular issue, A5C legislation is a hot potato, drawing bipartisan opposition nationwide from grassroots constituents defending the Constitution. To pass these controversial applications, it often takes years of false narratives, wining & dining, pressure from leadership, backroom deals, empty promises, threats, stifling the opposition, dirty tricks, smear tactics, contributions, wearing down legislators, and more.
Meckler simulates pressure from below by touting his “army” and convincing Republican legislators that they’re putting their jobs on the line, should they oppose his “grassroots” legislation. In addition, pressure from above, exerted by lobbyists and leadership, can be intense—including threats of running primary opponents against incumbent holdouts. This leaves too many Republicans shaking in their boots with visions of Meckler’s army knocking on doors to defeat them at the next election.
Name-dropping. For lack of a sound argument, Meckler resorts to reckless name-dropping when he’s among Republicans:
“And this is an irrefutable fact. In the United States of America today, every single nationally-known conservative, law professor, talker, politician, who has taken a position–nationally known–on the convention of states is in favor. There are no exceptions. Rush Limbaugh, God rest his soul, Levin, Hannity, Beck [since reversed], Shapiro, all the professors I’ve named on our legal advisory board; there are NO exceptions…” —Meckler, Roundtable discussion, Harrisburg, PA Nov. 8, 2021
COS has courted big name endorsements since 2014, and Meckler has admitted he’s willing to pay for them. In this 30-second clip from 2019, Meckler tells his fans that he tried unsuccessfully to get Rush’s endorsement, knowing it would have cost $2.25 million just to start negotiations!
Apparently, Meckler has managed to convince—or buy—a few dozen well-known politicians, pundits, and public figures. And we don’t know if COS endorsements are a result of direct payments, payroll, paid advertising, or something else, because COS expenses are lumped together on financials in broad reporting categories like “advertising and promotion” and “fees for services,” with most recipients anonymous.
Still, from the little COS must disclose, we know that COS Action (COSA) bankrolled former US Senator Tom Coburn (turned COS lobbyist) to the tune of $240,000 annually for a combined total of almost one million dollars in 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019. The 2017 link also shows former US Senator and COS endorser Jim DeMint as a paid COS lobbyist, raking in $140,000. Former US Senator Rick Santorum, who replaced Coburn, admits he was formerly opposed to an A5C. Not surprisingly, Santorum’s appearance as an endorser on the COS website coincided with his being added to Meckler’s 2021 payroll.
Posthumous Endorsements. Meckler apparently conjured up Justice Antonin Scalia’s support after Scalia’s death. Scalia’s opposition to a constitutional convention was a matter of public record from a 2014 interview. But Justice Scalia’s body had scarcely gone cold when Meckler broadcast that Scalia supported an Article V Convention, based on law professor Scalia’s published comments from 1979. That was seven years before Justice Scalia’s 30-year tenure on the bench, during which he changed his mind. Neither Rush’s nor Scalia’s support for an A5C appeared on COS’s endorsement page while they were around to speak for themselves.
Smoke and Mirrors
As it turns out, the “grassroots momentum” behind COS is smoke and mirrors. The total number of States with non-rescinded applications on record today, is the same as the 2012 total (39). So, if we were to judge by the validation scheme built into H.R.8419, COS has made no progress in the past decade! That’s because as many states rescinded their applications as passed new applications since 2012.
Nevertheless, the deceptive PR campaign and misleading validation schemes complement each other. Without the PR campaign, the validation schemes lack the appearance of public support. And without the validation schemes, the PR campaign would have no quick path to victory. The con-con lobby, backed by both the globalist Right and Left, is hoping to turn their bluff into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And they need only one convention to impose their preferred Form of Government.
But bluffing works only by deceiving the uninformed. Please share this article and PART 1 with your State Legislators and members of Congress.
 The 2023 bill# will change, but the content will probably remain the same.
 Later Forms 990 show JHCOS DBA (doing business as) CSG with the same tax ID#.
 CFR sponsored “Building a North American Community,” which promotes integrating Canada, the US, & Mexico politically and militarily. To move the US into the North American Union, they need a new constitution.
 At this writing, Meckler claims an “army” of 5 million while his computer shows 2.4 million “signatures.”
 See e.g., “How the ‘COS’ Cheated Utah.”
 E.g., after 7 years of trying, NE passed the COS application in 2022 by suspending a Senate rule and trading votes: “I’ll vote for your bad legislation, if you’ll vote for mine.”
 Among Democrats, he’s bipartisan!
 Form 990 requires that only the 5 highest-paid independent contractors receiving over $100,000 be reported.
Bio: Judi Caler is a citizen activist working to defend our Constitution from those who would risk it at an Article V constitutional convention. She serves as Article V Issues Director for Eagle Forum of California.
Sound the alarm!! We are closer than ever before in our nation’s history to Congress’s calling a convention under Article V of the US Constitution, where we would likely lose our Constitution. And it’s because of yet another deception from the con-con lobby.
Article V says that “The Congress…on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States [now 34], shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments [to the US Constitution] …”
There have been approximately 450 applications passed by 49 State Legislatures since 1788, the year our Constitution was ratified. So, whether or not a constitutional convention has been triggered depends upon the criteria Congress uses to determine which of the 450 applications are valid. Only then can Congress count the States that submitted those applications to find out whether or not the 34-state threshold was reached.
On July 19, 2022, US Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), introduced H.Con.Res.101 and H.R.8419. The former is a purported “call” for a convention. And the latter directs the Archivist of the United States to “authenticate, count, and publish” all non-rescinded applications and notify Congress of its duty to call a convention, if those applications were passed by at least 34 State Legislatures.
Of the 450 applications passed since 1788, about 230 have since been rescinded—leaving about 220 non-rescinded applications from 39 States. So, if H.R.8419 becomes law, Congress will all but guarantee that the first constitutional convention since 1787 will be triggered—simply by establishing “all non-rescinded applications” as the only criterion by which Congress would authenticate applications!
H.R.8419—A Validation Scheme Too Big to Fail
Although counting states from the set of “non-rescinded applications” seems reasonable on its surface, it’s a trick. Every application passed since the 18th century that states hadn’t bothered to rescind would be considered valid under H.R.8419 (or an updated 2023 bill #). And almost 80% percent of those “valid” applications were passed before the 21st Century.
Rep. Arrington would combine all relatively recent applications with applications passed by at least 24 State Legislatures asking Congress to call a convention to propose amendments on obsolete topics, including directly electing US Senators (resolved by the 17th Amendment ratified in 1913); averting the Civil War (ended in 1865); prohibiting polygamy (now outlawed in all 50 states), repealing prohibition (resolved by the 21st Amendment ratified in 1933), prohibiting slavery (resolved by the 13th Amendment ratified in 1865), averting the Nullification Crisis of 1832–33, and adding a Bill of Rights to our Constitution (ratified in 1791).
In fact, we hit the 2/3-state threshold for Congress’s calling a convention per H.R.8419 in…(drumroll)… 1907, and we’ve NEVER dropped below the threshold in the 115 years since! The number of states with non-rescinded applications gradually grew from 34 states in 1908 to 48 & 49 States during the 3 decades between 1970 and 2000; and stands at 39 states today due to rescissions. That’s more than enough States to trigger a convention. (See graph).
Raise your hand if you think the Framers envisioned giving the states centuries in which to reach the 34-state threshold—so that by the time Congress called a convention, the American People would no longer remember or care about the issues that triggered the call!
Common Sense Validations
There are common sense ways for Congress to validate applications that would yield markedly different results than H.R.8419. In addition to considering all rescinded applications invalid, Congress could add the following criteria:
Validation by Obsolescence. Common sense dictates that if the purpose for calling the convention has been resolved (i.e. the Civil War, etc.), the applications should automatically expire.
Validation by Age. If a crisis could be remedied by altering or overhauling our founding document, then 34 States should be able to pass applications within, say, a five-year timeframe. Consider that 46 States enacted COVID-19 legislation within just 10 months in 2020; and all 50 States did so within the 2021 calendar year.
Validation by Type (limited or unlimited). Yale law professor Charles L. Black Jr. (1915–2001) was one of the leading constitutional law scholars of the twentieth century. Black considered all applications asking Congress to call a convention limited by subject, null & void—and that would include most of the applications passed by State Legislatures in the last 45 years. Other scholars agree:
“I believe that, in Article V, the words ‘a Convention for proposing Amendments’ mean ‘a convention for proposing such amendments as that convention decides to propose…’[thus] a State application for a convention limited to one or more proposals or subjects is not an application for the ‘Convention’ denoted by the words in Article V…
“…[I]f thirty-four States may put Congress under a certain obligation by, and only by, requesting X, and thirty-four States request Y instead, then no congressional obligation arises6. —Charles L. Black, “Amending the Constitution: A Letter to a Congressman”
Depending upon which criteria Congress chooses, there are currently valid applications submitted to Congress from NO states, 39 states, or somewhere in between! Change the criteria, and you’ll change the result.
The Convention Deception
Mark Meckler, President of “Convention of States (COS),” and the other special-interest lobbyists have been falsely assuring legislators for nearly a decade, that a “runaway convention” is next to impossible. That’s because, they say, only when Congress receives 34 identical or similar applications on the same subject or subjects can Congress call a convention; and, they say, that convention would be limited to the subject of the 34 applications.
But the proponents’ own Article V experts contradict their lobbyists! Attorney and Article V scholar John Cogswell, who admittedly bends over backwards to ensure Congress’s calling a convention, made the following points in a 2018 report to the American Constitution Foundation (ACF)7:
“Congress has a duty to call a convention for proposing amendments without any limitations on the agenda of the convention…” p. 2
“There is no such thing as a ‘limited’ constitutional convention because a convention by definition and practice is a free agency and may propose whatever it likes…” p. 18
“…a convention for amendments could easily amend the Constitution in its entirety and replace it with some other document…” p. 27
“…it is unanimously understood by all scholars that the rules of the convention are to be decided by the convention.” p. 28.
Proponents bury the “too-big-to-fail” validation scheme in one bland adjective—“non-rescinded”—in §106c(b) under §1(a) of H.R.8419 and in §1(a)(2)(A) of H.Con.Res.101. But the accompanying press release, including legislative summaries and comments by Rep. Arrington pretend to promote a “Fiscal Responsibility Amendment” and “Article V Accountability.”
H.R.8419 & H.Con.Res.101 are in-your-face evidence that proponents are attempting to manipulate the 34-state count to trick Congress into calling a convention which is inherently illimitable. This is not surprising, coming from the same folks that misled State Legislatures into passing applications for a “limited” convention.
Coming soon: Part 2: Link to Part 2: http://campconstitution.net/bluffing-their-way-to-an-art-v-convention-part-2-the-best-pr-money-can-buy/
 But since applications from 34 States need to be authenticated before Congress calls a convention, H.Con.Res.101 appears to defy the Constitution.
 Only 10 States passed applications in the past 5 legislative years (2018–2022).
6 Yale Law Journal, 199 1972–1973
7 ACF’s goal is to facilitate a “general” convention, where no amendment is declared off-limits in advance by language in the applications. In 2018, John Cogswell conducted a study for ACF and found valid applications from 36 States.
Judi Caler is a citizen activist working to defend our Constitution from those who would risk it at an Article V constitutional convention. She serves as Article V Issues Director for Eagle Forum of California.
|Friday night (April 8) Illinois—possibly the most partisan state in the country— rescinded all their previously-passed applications asking Congress to call a constitutional convention under Article V!!! The Rescission resolution was introduced on Wednesday and passed both houses by Friday!|
|Illinois is the 7th Democrat state since 2016, to rescind all their outstanding applications. It joins DE (2016), MD (2017), NM (2017), NV (2017), CO (2021) & NJ (2021). It’s sad, and indeed ironic, that grassroots conservatives have had to depend upon the Democrats to save our Constitution!|
|Illinois mercifully rescinded 15 applications on assorted subjects, that passed between 1861 and 2014. Because the 1861 application failed to mention that its purpose was limited to averting the Civil War, the con lobby has been trying to convince Congress to aggregate it with other “unlimited” applications and single-subject applications ostensibly for the purpose of balancing the federal budget—to get to the requisite 34 states needed to trigger an Article V convention (A5C).|
|Also among Illinois’ applications that are now history, is a 2014 application sponsored by the radical Leftist group Wolf-PAC which purports to ask Congress for a convention to overturn the Citizens United decision and take money out of politics. During the past year, WolfPAC has been cohosting seminars on Article V at ALEC events and openly working with ALEC of the phony, globalist Right, to push A5C applications and oppose rescissions. In the last 4 months, two of WolfPAC’s five applications (40%) have been rescinded.|
|And although the Illinois rescission resolution passed in an abbreviated timeframe, it was legal and honest, especially when compared to the vote-trading, dirty tricks, propaganda, smear tactics, arm-twisting, false arguments, and attempts to circumvent State Constitutions that proponents regularly practice in order to pass their applications. And their success has been largely limited, despite spending tens of millions of dollars battling citizens with no resources but truth, logic, and passion for their Constitution.|