Harvard law professor and public intellectual extraordinaire Lawrence Lessig has a bold idea: raising money in order to take money out of politics. He's here to answer your questions about his plan to start a super PAC with the express purpose of destroying super PACs, and saving democracy.
"Our democracy is held hostage by the funders of campaigns," Lessig says. "We're going to pay the ransom, and get it back."
Rich people, special interests, and corporations use well-funded political action committees to lobby politicians, influence elections, and bend democracy to their own will. They've been so successful at this that academic studies have deemed America an oligarchy, responsive to the wishes of the rich rather than the wishes of the average citizen. Lessig's plan is to use a PAC—funded by the public—to destroy the power of PACs, by raising enough money to elect members of Congress who will vote for meaningful campaign finance reform.
Lessig's PAC, called MAYDAY, is starting out on that most American of fundraising platforms: Kickstarter. Last month, Mayday raised $1 million on Kickstarter, and that amount was matched by donors. Now, the group is seeking to raise another $5 million from the public, which will also be matched. That would give them a meaningful war chest with which to wade into the political arena in the next election cycle. Their goal for the upcoming election cycle, Lessig says, is to change the results in five House districts.
"We want to spend big money to end the influence of big money," Lessig has said. "Ironic, I get it. But embrace the irony. Because with enough of us, we can easily build a Super PAC bigger and more effective than the Super PACs of the billionaires."
Lawrence Lessig is here at noon today, to answer all of your questions about money in politics, campaign finance reform, and how to fix our broken democracy. Ask your questions in the discussion section below now!
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