(November 11, 2014) Mayday SuperPAC, Lawrence Lessig’s anti-corruption moonshot, lost nearly all of its races in the 2014 midterm election. Does that mean it failed? Did Politico’s screamer headline, “How to waste $10 million,” tell the whole story? Or does the shadow of money in politics extend beyond mere wins and losses?
Professor Lessig and the Progressive Campaign Change Committee’s Adam Green take us behind the vote tally and into the heart of the campaign-finance darkness for part 3 of The Good Fight’s Mayday 2014 trilogy.
August 22, 2014 – Lessig’s Mayday Super PAC stunned the political world by raising $7 million to fight corruption. Now comes the hard part: using money in politics to kick money out of politics. Lessig returns to the show to bring us inside the battle.
A major part of the effort, which will first take shape in Iowa and New Hampshire, is to fight money with money. The Mayday PAC will begin buying up to a total of $4 million in advertising for both states, where voters are historically receptive to the anti-big-money message, advertising is relatively cheap and any victories are likely to be noticed by both parties’ future presidential aspirants…
Officials said the PAC is expected announce its next three targets in August.
The ultimate goal is to reverse a series of defeats that advocates of tighter restrictions on campaign money have suffered since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. That decision freed corporations and unions to engage in unlimited independent political spending on behalf of candidates. In the past four years, court rulings and regulatory decisions have only expanded the influence and reach of big donors at the federal and state level…
Lessig told TechCrunch this week that while his group pushed for the ambitious $5 million goal in one month because “the urgency is to be able to pick the districts and begin the campaign. (Plus I am a bit of a drama queen).” There wasn’t time to waste.
He framed the campaign finance issue as a problem for the tech industry because corrupt politicians threaten innovation and a fair Internet. “We have no protection for network neutrality because of the enormous influence of cable company’s money in the political system…If NN is your issue, then this is why you should see that politic$ is your issue too” Lessig says.
If the “Super PAC to end all Super PACs” hits its next $12 million goal and succesfully gets candidates elected in its 2014 pilot campaign, it plans to raise orders of magnitude more money to elect an an more pro-campaign finance reform congress in 2016, enact reforms in 2017, and defend them in 2018.
Lessig’s Mayday PAC is crowdsourcing donations in an attempt to revamp the system and change the way campaigns and elections are funded.
Mayday is also dubbing itself the Internet’s Super PAC, ready to defend the Internet from “a steady stream of threats and challenges to a free and open Internet,” according to the site. Those threats include net neutrality, SOPA and PIPA, and other regulatory issues…
By Friday we’ll see if the MayDay PAC hits its $5 million goal and is on track to end all super PACs with this new super PAC.
Here’s the timeline. The goal is to raise $5 million by July 5. The MayDay PAC aims to get campaign finance reform–minded candidates elected in 2016 and then help them get fundamental reforms passed. If the MayDay PAC succeeds, it hopes to have big money and corporate influence out of politics by 2018—and we might need to rename that date America’s New Independence Day.