Larry Lessig's Anti-SuperPAC SuperPAC Already Halfway To $1 Million Initial Target

from the into-orbit,-next-stop,-the-moon dept

Last Thursday, we wrote about Larry Lessig launching the MAYDAY Citizens' SuperPAC, an attempted "moonshot" to crowdfund a SuperPAC with the long term goal to elect politicians to Congress who will be dedicated to ending the power of money in politics. It is, as we noted, the SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs. The structure of the plan is interesting in that it's a staged approach explained on the Mayone website. The first two "test" stages happen this year, with the first goal being to raise $1 million by the end of May, at which point Lessig will get someone (who almost certainly is already lined up) to donate another $1 million. Then they launch stage 2 for June, which is an attempt to do the same, but at $5 million (with a further matching $5 million). If both of those work out, the SuperPAC will then have $12 million, which it will use in 5 races for the mid-term elections this year. And, with that in place, the goal will be to launch a much bigger crowdfunding effort for 2016. Many people seemed to misunderstand the original plan, thinking that this $12 million part was the moonshot. It's not. It's a test flight.

Anyway, the first stage of the test flight is just to get to that $1 million mark, and it's worth noting that here we are on May 6th, just five days into the effort, and the MAYDAY Citizens' SuperPAC is already more than halfway to its goal. That is, they've already hit the $500,000 mark less than a week into the effort. Will that be enough to hit both of the 2014 goals? That's tough to say, but as an initial effort, it sure seems like a very nice start, and almost certainly goes way beyond what many people expected would happen. Still, this is just the start. A moonshot is inherently risky, but the first week has been tremendously encouraging.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 7:59am

    whatever, color me skeptical...

    NOT that i don't agree with the aims, but the means are disturbing: OUT-BRIBE fat cats to restore 'our' (sic) system of governance ? ? ?
    out-bribe them to stop the bribery ? ? ?
    good luck with *that* fundraising: fatcats can buy kongresskritters 10 times over with their SOFA CHANGE...
    we 99% have to cut DEEP into our NECESSITIES to not even be able to out-bribe them...
    i just don't see it happening: power NEVER devolves voluntarily, and we are NOT going to out-bribe the puppetmasters...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:07am

    Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    Unless you have enough money and a lack of ethics to fund a violent coup, I don't see much else that will change American politics. It's worth a try.

     

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  3.  
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    Beech, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    Hmm...I bet $12 million would arm a lot of revolutionaries...

    And i don't see why it would require a lack of ethics, how do you think this country got started in the first place? A game of no - limits poker with King George? What's more, the founding fathers firmly felt that the people should revolt frequently to prevent tyranny.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    I would not call it out-bribe. It looks like more of an out advertise strategy.

    If they actually try the lets build a Super-PAC to sway the current PolyTicks then it will be a meaningless failure and I will not support it.

    There will be only 1 way to get reform in. You get a group of people to run, and to run only 1 thing... a manifesto of removing corruption and improving the life cycle of politics. They must only work to do things like terms limits, budget transparency, campaign reform and stuff like that. They should absolutely make it clear they will avoid the left/right con/lib dem/rep morass of political agenda BS.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    Granted, it was probably a lot easier at the time to revolt against a government whose leader(s) were on the other side of an ocean ;)

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    Hench the 1st and 2nd amendments.

    If you practice just the 1st like most you usually get a police barricade that pepper sprays you and fire-hoses you.

    If you back up your 1st with the 2nd... Officials become concerned and as scared of us as they believe we should be of them.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    I'm all in favor of keeping money out of politics, but not if it means curtailing free speech like before Citizens United.

     

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  8.  
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    Martin, May 6th, 2014 @ 9:06am

    I wonder why foreigners can't contribute. The money/corruption in the US political system affects us too...

    Btw. when comparing amounts, please note that it should be easier to advertise a message that already has a natural tendency to resonate with people.

     

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  9.  
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    Deimal (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 9:17am

    No, no, no, no, no

    This is a complete misapplication of logic. If you want to reduce the impact that money can have in politics, politicians need to have less POWER (and this goes across the board, legislative, executive, ESPECIALLY regulatory). The less they can do, the less they are worth.

     

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  10.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 9:52am

    Re: No, no, no, no, no

    Agreed. I don't see how Lessig hopes to get anywhere by taking "money" out of the system. As long as politicians have the power to rig markets, keep out competition, etc., people will FIND ways to get those goodies.

    If they can't bribe with money openly, they'll do it under the table.

    I'd rather have it in the open.

     

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  11.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 9:55am

    While some may not agree it's worth a shot. At the very least the corporate moguls will have to give some profit up to out-bid the public. This could get interesting fast.

    I do hope it makes a difference. Being half-funded that fast seems some major win for me. And a strong message to the politicians everywhere: people got fed up and are up for action.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    New (voluntary) tax?

    So - do I understand it correctly - the plan is to have a (voluntary) tax for financing politicians?
    Just wondering how long it will take for them to pick up on that and start making modifications...

     

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  13.  
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    PRMan, May 6th, 2014 @ 10:40am

    Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    Exactly. What makes them think they can actually buy TV time once they get the money?

    Do they honestly think they will get airtime from the same Hollywood companies that are the problem?

     

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  14.  
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    Trussert, May 6th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    OK, so YOU don't see it happening.
    Why must you post a negative on the very first REAL opportunity the majority has to end special interest influence, using the very same methods they do?
    You're not seeing it work does not mean it will not work. If you instead used your time to get those you know to support this, it would be a better investment than whining about how things cannot be changed.
    Can't say anything good? Then say nothing at all.

     

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  15.  
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    GnSThI, May 6th, 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Curious.

    While I commend the overall goal of this Superpac. I am curious as to why it's getting so much coverage on Techdirt yet Wolfpac (Which aims to pass an constitutional amendment to remove corporate person-hood, overturn Citizens United and remove money from politics as much as possible through the method of a Convention of the States) hasn't gotten a peep. IMHO, Wolfpac (Which isn't a SuperPac) would do far more good than this Superpac in creating the changes we want to see. I am dubious that creating a Superpac will do much of anything to curtail Superpacs. What we need is a constitutional amendment passed at the state level where real effect can still be obtained.

     

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  16.  
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    TRussert (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    The "means" are exactly the same ones used by special interests to shanghai our Democracy.
    What better means than to fight fire with fire?
    How can this work if you don't try?
    Instead of whining about how it can't work, you would be better served getting everyone you know to support this.
    There's a bunch of folks out there who have so far pledged over $525,000 that put their money where their mouths are.
    Come on, join the group.

     

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  17.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Curious.

    "What we need is a constitutional amendment passed at the state level"

    What do you mean by this? Do you mean amending the Constitutions of the various states? All federal Constitutional amendments must be passed by 2/3rds of the state legislatures in order to be ratified.

    A Constitutional amendment is desperately needed here, I agree. The problem is that this is an agonizingly slow process -- decades long, if the purpose of the amendment isn't controversial, even longer if it is. So while we work to that end, we also have to find solutions that, while they may be imperfect or temporary, can be put into action more quickly.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Citizen United to you...

    Oh, you mean like the Unions and Legal organizations only having access to "free speech"?

    Heavy Hitters: Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2014 / Top 25

    https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

    ** = Union and Union run
    1 ActBlue = $102,652,175 / 99% Dems - 0% GOP
    2 American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees** = $61,819,629 / 80% Dems - 1% GOP
    3 National Education Assn** = $58,970,590 / 56% Dems - 4% GOP
    4 AT&T Inc** = $57,024,350 / 41% Dems - 57% GOP
    5 National Assn of Realtors = $55,558,528 / 41% Dems - 44% GOP
    6 Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers** = $45,572,151 / 91% Dems - 2% GOP
    7 Goldman Sachs = $45,254,315 / 53% Dems - 44% GOP
    8 United Auto Workers** = $41,920,628 / 71% Dems 0% GOP
    9 Carpenters & Joiners Union** = $41,577,299 / 71% Dems - 9% GOP
    10 Service Employees International Union** = $38,699,798 / 84% Dems - 2% GOP
    11 Laborers Union** = $38,401,420 / 83% Dems - 7% GOP
    12 American Federation of Teachers** = $37,271,575 / 89% Dems - 0% GOP
    13 Communications Workers of America** = $36,472,773 / 86% Dems - 0% GOP
    14 Teamsters Union** = $36,355,957 / 88% Dems - 5% GOP
    15 JPMorgan Chase & Co = $35,116,206 / 47% Dems - 51% GOP
    16 United Food & Commercial Workers Union** = $34,173,003 / 86% Dems - 0% GOP
    17 United Parcel Service** = $32,685,942 / 35% Dems - 64% GOP
    18 Citigroup Inc = $32,493,212 / 48% Dems - 50% GOP
    19 National Auto Dealers Assn = $32,267,410 / 31% Dems - 68% GOP
    20 EMILY's List = $31,891,545 / 98% Dems - 0% GOP
    21 American Bankers Assn = $31,629,002 / 36% Dems - 63% GOP
    22 AFL-CIO** = $31,594,825 / 60% Dems - 3% GOP
    23 Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union** = $31,399,047 / 98% Dems - 1% GOP
    24 American Medical Assn = $30,175,387 / 40% Dems - 59% GOP
    25 Microsoft Corp = $29,710,808 / 55% Dems - 43% GOP
    -
    -
    59 Koch Industries = $18,445,223 / 8% Dems 91% GOP
    60 American Assn for Justice = $18,337,608 / 80% Dems - 3% GOP
    61 American Postal Workers Union = $18,033,408 / 86% Dems - 2% GOP

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:58pm

    Re: No, no, no, no, no

    Sorry, they are now in charge of your ability to get help from a particular doctor / hospital. We're screwed...

     

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  20.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 6:37pm

    There is another PAC less focused on raising money but is laying the groundwork to amend the constitution. WolfPAC

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2014 @ 6:35am

    Re: No, no, no, no, no

    i'd say it goes both ways; they need to have less power, and money shouldn't be an incentive i.e. they should not regulate on anything that directly benefits them, say, for instance, to name something, a politician involved in the tax rate on capital investment should not be allowed to have any capital investment. That is direct conflict of interest, and IMO should be a one-way ticket to jail. The money==advertisement==win should be the next to go. Fixed budgets seems the easiest answer there. Then it is cushy after-term jobs that need curtailing. Make politics about politics again. Reduce their power, reduce their incentives.

     

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  22.  
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    Pragmatic, May 7th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: whatever, color me skeptical...

    You guys still aren't getting the "treated as terrorists" part of my warnings, are you? The 2nd Amendment is all about well-regulated militias. The idea of it as a right of individuals to bear arms - in case of revolution, break glass - is a recent thing.

    The idea was to protect the nascent Republic.

    Now that the Republic has been around for a while, now that only six major media conglomerates own the major media outlets and therefore control the news for the bulk of the population, now that it's been made legal to disseminate propaganda to our own people, if anyone actually TRIES to go and start a violent revolution, he will quickly find himself branded a terrorist and flung into prison for a very long time.

    Don't believe me? Try it.

    *Crickets*

     

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  23.  
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    Pragmatic, May 7th, 2014 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    They do, using shell companies and lobbying groups.

     

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  24.  
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    Pragmatic, May 7th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: No, no, no, no, no

    OldMugwump, the point of getting the money out of politics is to limit politicians' ability to rig markets, keep out competition, etc. People may FIND ways to get those goodies, but it'll be harder.

     

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  25.  
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    GEMont (profile), May 7th, 2014 @ 7:24pm

    public lobbying....

    hmmmmmm...... could it be that easy?

    Could the answer to corporate bribery - known as lobbying - be as simple as Public Lobbying??

    Imagine a public institution that gathers public funding in order to bribes politicians - to NOT take bribes from corporations - to not make laws that ruin people's lives - to not create laws that aid corporations in robbing the public... and instead bribes politicians to make morally responsible laws, that advance public safety and welfare....

    Gads, it staggers the imagination!!

    Corporations would have to start pooling their resources in order to bribe politicians with enough cash to outdo public bribery.... it'd be a bribery war.... and politicians would love it, becoming millionaires in months....

    Of course, it would be far simpler to just make bribery illegal again.

     

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  26.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: No, no, no, no, no

    How does "getting the money out" (assuming that is even possible) limit politician's power to rig markets?

    I don't get the logic.

    I realize people don't want politicians to be bribed to act against the public interest, but I don't see how moving the bribery under the table is an improvement. Isn't transparent bribery better?

    I think we need more constitutional limits on the ability of legislation to rig markets - it ought to be unconstitutional to pass a law that limits competition or restricts economic freedoms (directly or indirectly) without a clear public benefit that exceeds the public costs. Those who think a law has crossed the line ought to be able to take it to court.

     

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  27.  
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    GEMont (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, no, no, no, no

    Lobbying - private interests, paying public officials to pass laws that eliminate public protections - should be considered a crime.

    At one time, it was indeed a crime.

    It is no longer a crime because private interests paid public officials to pass laws that eliminated protection from bribery of politicians by private interests, renaming it "lobbying" and making it part of business as usual.

    So just who is the law working for these days?
    Sure as hell aint the public.

    Personally, I'd like to see any politician who takes a bribe while in public office, hung in a public place by the neck for a week, for the crime of willful treason, because they weaken the nation by allowing criminal acts to become business as usual.

     

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