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Lessig's Anti-SuperPAC SuperPAC Raises First $1 Million In Just 12 Days

from the off-to-a-great-start dept

We're a little late on this (past few days have been quite busy...) but Larry Lessig's SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs has hit its first target way early. As you hopefully remember, the goal was to reach $1 million in 30 days, which would then be matched by an (as yet) unknown donor, followed by a second campaign to raise $5 million in June -- again matched by a donor. The plan then would be to use the $12 million to work on a few specific Congressional races to prove that it can have an impact, and then kick off in 2015 with a much bigger campaign to have an even larger impact. There's still a long way to go, but this seems like a great start:
Hopefully Lessig and the organization he's putting together will release some more data as well. $85 average is good to see, though I'd love to see more information on the breakdown of donations, including some sense of the distribution and median donations as well.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Charles (profile), May 15th, 2014 @ 8:56pm

    I donated

    I donated $10.00 which was all I felt I could afford, but I was happy to do it. I will be following this campaign to see how it goes and grows.

    I have the utmost respect and much admiration for Mr. Lessing and he certainly has my trust.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2014 @ 10:19pm

    Money...Politics...Oil...Water

    If this movement is good enough to change the dynamics in congress, then I am all for it. If, however, it fails to change congressional dynamics then it fails.

    Determining failure is about whether the next congress actually gets something done for the people and not their contributors.

    It fails on a misdirected objective. That misdirected objective is 'competing with 'Citizens United' style money' vs. removing money from the campaign trail. The former is nice, the later is necessary.

    There are numerous ways to take the money out of politics. Just like a fire, you remove the fuel to put it out.

     

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    saulgoode (profile), May 15th, 2014 @ 10:32pm

    Re: Money...Politics...Oil...Water

    It fails on a misdirected objective. That misdirected objective is 'competing with 'Citizens United' style money' vs. removing money from the campaign trail. The former is nice, the later is necessary.
    The whole point of this exercise is that candidates will only receive this Mayday SuperPAC funding if they agree to work towards "removing money from the campaign trail".

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2014 @ 10:43pm

    Re: Re: Money...Politics...Oil...Water

    I do understand that. The issue I see is that it will take a great deal of money to overcome the 1%, and the 99% just don't have it. To actually make a real difference, we need an amendment to the constitution. Now you have to buy all the state legislatures as well. Just how much do you think that will cost, and, do you really think the 99% can or will come up with it?

    Don't mistake my pessimism with dislike. I like the idea. I just don't think it will go, where Mr. Lessig, and I, would like it to go.

    Money fighting money. What are the Vegas odds on that?

     

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  5.  
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    David, May 15th, 2014 @ 11:05pm

    Let me get that right:

    Democracy is being kept hostage by the moneylenders and Lessig wants to buy it free?

    A bidding war against those running the money presses?

     

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  6.  
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    ECA (profile), May 15th, 2014 @ 11:19pm

    Are we..

    ARE WE REALLY, paying someone to help BUY BACK our government?

    Cant we just FIRE THEM??(this isnt easy)
    How about SCARE them? (they doubled and tripled ammo and gun prices)
    COULD we post all the bills they have voted on and SHOW who paid for the VOTE??(kinda easy)
    HOW about Black mail??

    Its funny that long in the past, someone went to the Banker at the Congress, where these people pull money out to PAY for stuff, and Got the listing of how much they had been GIVIN, over their PAY.

    Is it that HARd to TRACK how much money they get paid, and compare it to how much they have SPENT? and how much is is ALL their accounts?

     

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  7.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 12:14am

    There is another PAC that has already shown some movement in getting the constitution amended to fix the issue by getting States to call for a convention.
    http://www.wolf-pac.com/

     

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  8.  
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    Andypandy, May 16th, 2014 @ 2:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Money...Politics...Oil...Water

    All it takes is to show that money buys laws and change for everyone to understand the lies about superPAC's are really that just lies, it is a way to legally bribe Politicians, my thought is to go for one regulator ...Wheeler. He is in the process of destroying the internet, a big issue. Now imagine if he was promised all the money the PAC had collected if he made the internet title 11 and did it in a way that completely destroyed the monopoly that exists in broadband access control.

    If they could get to Wheeler and pay him off by putting this money in an offshore account, or even if they agreed to pay all politicians to support real title 11 internet neutrality by paying them in offshore accounts that would show everyone that the laws are up for sale and the people just need to start buying them.

     

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  9.  
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    Andypandy, May 16th, 2014 @ 2:48am

    Re:

    If only they had millions instead of thousands supporting them, maybe they should contact Lessing and try to work with him a little , then their members and their proposed action could be used in conjunction with all the money they collect and all the people that understand the real issues could get together and create one big entity that is much stronger.
    Damn Lessing could let the politicians know that if they do not change the laws regarding bribery in politics they would use their base to create a convention.

     

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  10.  
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    DerivedVariable, May 16th, 2014 @ 3:29am

    And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    I really wonder about Lessig's judgement if he thinks that his act of pissing into the ocean will actually change the system.

    5% of the population hold over half of the US wealth and since they only need to keep a smaller proportion of it on hand to maintain financial security they can also deploy more of their 61.9% of the nations wealth (looking at 2007 numbers) than someone who has their wealth tied up in illiquid assets like a house or in essential savings like a college fund for their kids. Given how much access and influence that money gives and how quickly lobbying gets mobilized once a threat to moneyed interests emerges I am certain that they'll get outspent if they ever manage to raise a significant amount of money or simply ingnored if they don't scale up to something significant.

    This is not even going into the fact that after the McComish, Citizen's United and McCutcheon rulings you'd need to get a constitutional amendment passed to do anything about campaign finance. The Supreme court has gutted any restriction on campaign financing as unconstitutional on 1st amendment grounds and any matching fund systems also as unconstitutional. Getting any constitutional amendment passed, let alone one which would be opposed by every lobbyist out there, is nigh on impossible.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 4:15am

    MayOne is a great project. I hope he can keep expanding on it.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 4:45am

    Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    I really wonder about Lessig's judgement if he thinks that his act of pissing into the ocean will actually change the system.

    I question whether you've followed what Lessig has been up to the past few years, or the details of this plan. Because it appears you are unaware.

    5% of the population hold over half of the US wealth and since they only need to keep a smaller proportion of it on hand to maintain financial security they can also deploy more of their 61.9% of the nations wealth (looking at 2007 numbers) than someone who has their wealth tied up in illiquid assets like a house or in essential savings like a college fund for their kids. Given how much access and influence that money gives and how quickly lobbying gets mobilized once a threat to moneyed interests emerges I am certain that they'll get outspent if they ever manage to raise a significant amount of money or simply ingnored if they don't scale up to something significant.

    Are you aware that it's Lessig who has been the one spreading news about those very stats? He knows what he's up against.

    This is not even going into the fact that after the McComish, Citizen's United and McCutcheon rulings you'd need to get a constitutional amendment passed to do anything about campaign finance.

    Lessig knows that too. It's why he started the ConCon -- Constitutional Convention -- a few years back to kick off some thinking in that direction.

    Either way, he admits this is a moonshot, but I'm sick of cynical people insisting nothing will work when someone is making a real go of it. You're just guaranteeing that nothing changes. Sad.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 5:28am

    $12 million isn't that much money

    In politics, 12 million isn't that much money. Obama and Romney both raised over half a billion dollars in the last election.

    Plus, as a lot of rich candidates show up, people who pour tons more of their own money into campaigns then their opponents lose far more often than they win.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    Interjecting with info.

    I'd love to see more information on the breakdown of donations, including some sense of the distribution and median donations as well.

    Ask him Mike... http://lessig.tumblr.com/ask


    Also... agree btw. Lessig is trying and it needs more than an initial Constitutional Convention to "get the money out". Lobbying, revolving door is also part of the problem. The issue needs a multi-pronged approach and your own politicians. It's good to see you all finally do something and can't understand some cynicism for effort.

    I am not even American but I care because this issue clearly affects the rest of the world too.

     

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  15.  
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    DerivedVariable, May 16th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    I am not saying nothing will work. I am just seriously questioning the wisdom of attacking an enemy head on on their home turf and also have about a 100 fold the resources you have.

    It is like a bunch of rag-tag rebels forming a proper of battle to face a professional army instead of engaging in asymmetric warfare.

    Now as a campaigning and awareness raising measure I have some respect for it. I also appreciate the attempt, even if I do think it is tilting at windmills, since it will give us a data point and case study to guide actions in the future. I am very interested to see exactly how this will play out. I also do think it will work out better overall than Americans Elect for example, which was a previous attempt at trying to induce a paradigm shift in the current US political system.

    The way to challenge the status quo though is not by mobilizing money (where the field is very strongly tilted against the general population of this great democracy) to mobilizing people where you might say we have a 19 to 1 advantage...

     

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  16.  
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    Doug (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    At one point the stats you ask about were posted, average 10th and 90th percentile. At the time I posted there were somewhere around 9000 supporters. Actually, perhaps that info was on the page you get after pledging money. Anyone pledged recently and seen this?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    "Stacking the deck" (even just partially) makes your odds of winning the game greater.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    Re: $12 million isn't that much money

    In politics, 12 million isn't that much money. Obama and Romney both raised over half a billion dollars in the last election.

    I can't believe people keep bringing this up after we've explained over and over again.

    The $12 million is not the goal. It's the test. They're using $12 million in a few races where it *will* make a difference to prove the point, and then will seek to raise MUCH more for the big campaign.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    I can't donate. Not American. Don't want to muddy the waters for you guys. It's a hard enough task that you have to get a "persons democracy".

    Would be interesting to see. $85 average seems a little high as a median. I reckon the median is about $10 or $20 with quite a few "big donors" considering who Lessig is and the influence he has. Wouldn't be surprised to see a few $10,000 donations in there somewhere.

     

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  20.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 6:09am

    The fact that it was funded alone should speak tons in a very loud volume just by itself. People are fed up.

    Maybe it's not a moonshot after all. Maybe people just needed someone to start the engines.

     

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  21.  
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    The Wanderer (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 6:21am

    Re: $12 million isn't that much money

    While $12 million isn't a huge amount in these contexts, no, A: the figures for a Presidential race are much higher than those for most individual Congressional races, so there's much more of a chance for the smaller amount to make a relatively large difference, and B: as the article notes, even the $12 million is only a "first, see if we can do it" precursor to a much larger attempt in 2015.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Money...Politics...Oil...Water

    Money needsto be based on success. What we can do is offer campaign money to politicians that vote for a law to substantially reduce copy protection lengths only provided the law passes. One problem with that is that there maybe laws against publicly buying laws (whereas corporate interests illegally do it in private with politicians and secretive back door dealings). However, with the supreme court ruling on political adds being free speech we may be able to find indirect ways around these laws. We can crowdfund our own political adds. In fact we should just crowd fund adds criticizing copy protection laws and informing the public about them more.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: $12 million isn't that much money

    "I can't believe people keep bringing this up after we've explained over and over again."


    I can. Unfortunately, that's the way it is. Not everyone knows or has researched the issue properly and the same questions will always be asked. You need to keep saying the same thing over and over and over and over again.

    Same thing exploited: (with repetitive "soundbites", "slogans" and "talking points")
    They are so affective that they are used to imply the opposite of the actual facts. Like Orwell's Ministry of truth.

    Just the way it is.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    So did you donate any money, Mike?

     

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  25.  
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    The Wanderer (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: $12 million isn't that much money

    It's less explicable when the thing being re-explained is already pointed out in this very same (short) article, though...

     

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  26.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: $12 million isn't that much money

    "In politics, 12 million isn't that much money"

    Which is a HUGE part of what's wrong with our political system.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 9:31am

    fight fire with fire.

     

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  28.  
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    limbodog (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Ok, that's what I was waiting for.

    I'll do it. I'll donate.

     

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  29.  
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    Rocco Maglio (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 10:09am

    What is meant by removing money from politics?

    Let's say that no money was allowed to be spent on campaigning. Then the media Comcast/NBC would have even more power by being able to chose their coverage of a candidate. Political speech would be limited to media companies. So we say ban the media from choosing the candidate. You throw the influence to the labor unions, NRA, AARP, and other groups with large member bases that can be mobilized. You are playing wack a mole with political influencers when what you really need to do is find a way to educate the public on the candidates and let them decide. We need a way to cut thru the half truths and false implications.

     

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  30.  
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    GEMont (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 10:10am

    Capitalist Democracy is Oxymoron

    Dunno. While I think anything that will counteract in any degree, the legalized corporate bribery that has become the political norm in America, I can't help but see this whole thing as confirmation that democracy is nothing more than money in action. That should be the description of capitalism, not democracy, but I guess it is the best description of Capitalist Democracy.

    It tends to point out that beyond the lip-service about one-person one-vote, democracy American Style is nothing more than who "they who have the gold get to decide everything".

    Regardless though, I'm very interested to see where this will lead. I sincerely hope it is not simply the beginning of the Politician's Best Gravy Train Ever.

     

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  31.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: What is meant by removing money from politics?

    "Then the media Comcast/NBC would have even more power by being able to chose their coverage of a candidate."

    Not really -- they have that power either way. Right now, they can decide for themselves which ads will or won't run, and choose the coverage given to the various candidates.

    Removing money from politics (which I don't actually advocate -- I take a slightly more nuanced approach) isn't about correcting the coverage. It's about removing the need for such extreme amounts of money in order to run for and remain in office. Most legislators spend more of their time doing fundraising every single day than they spend actually doing their jobs. It also makes it much easier to corrupt and bribe them. That's the problem.

     

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  32.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: And there you have people talk about how left wingers are naive

    I also appreciate the attempt, even if I do think it is tilting at windmills,

    I do not think that means what you think it means. In the original story, Don Quixote charged a windmill thinking it was a giant that was a threat to the people, when in fact it was simply a harmless (and even beneficial) piece of machinery.

    What Lessig is attacking is a very real, very threatening giant.

     

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  33.  
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    Rob McMillin (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 8:26pm

    Beyond naive

    Lessig proposes a Constitutional Convention that would almost certainly, given the current political climate, put an end to the First Amendment. Because the First basically puts a blanket proscription on Congressional interference with free speech, but the left is utterly opposed to free speech, at least, from people of whom they do not approve (cough people who have organized themselves in corporations for tax purposes cough).

    This is a terrible idea, and in complete opposition to everything TechDirt claims to favor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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