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Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the biggest-fish dept.

The Almighty Buck 465

An anonymous reader writes "Lawrence Lessig has announced plans to kickstart a SuperPAC big enough to make it possible to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016. From the article: 'If you can’t beat them, join them. Then take them down from the inside. That’s the basic idea behind a super PAC launching Thursday that wants to destroy super PACs for good. The Mayday PAC, as it’s called, seeks to raise enough money to sway five House elections in 2014 and elect representatives who have committed to pressing for serious reform of the campaign finance system. If that endeavor—a sort of test case—is successful, the PAC will then try to raise an enormous amount of money for the 2016 cycle—enough, PAC organizers hope, to buy Congress."

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what a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46894909)

of time and money, imagine a politician doing what they say they will do.

good luck with that.

Re:what a waste (4, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | about 6 months ago | (#46894957)

Elections are bought. The general public doesn't have the same cash appeal as single, large sources of money. When properly bribed with campaign contributions, politicians will do what they were paid to do.

elections are bought (5, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 6 months ago | (#46894979)

And here's a man trying to BUY THEM BACK. Get off your asses and HELP HIM.

Re:elections are bought (-1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46895117)

This is a stupid idea. Pick up your guns and start a revolution, or don't. Congress is just a building full of people you don't have to listen to. Why would you work like a slave to pay someone millions of dollars to say what you want them to say when you can just ignore them and work on improving your country?

You wanna shut them down? Bush told you how after 9/11. It's simple.

STOP FUCKING SHOPPING.

Destroy the value of currency, get your country back. It's that simple.

Re:elections are bought (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895151)

Right, and HIS idea was the stupid one...

Re:elections are bought (1, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46895235)

Right, and HIS idea was the stupid one...

So what, you can work for money to give to people who screw you over at every turn, but you can't work to meet your needs directly without involving middle men? You can work for money to pay taxes to maintain the infrastructure you rely on, but you can't go work on that infrastructure without the guarantee of cash in your pocket, simply because it's important?

You ever think maybe if you spent less time thinking about all the things that you're entitled to have delivered to you on a silver platter... ...and more time thinking about your natural right to get off your ass and go address the problems in your life directly without middle men barring the way... ... maybe, just maybe, you might be better off?

Re:elections are bought (2)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46895269)

Ever think, maybe, the point of the education system from Day 1 is to interfere in your ability to do this? It seems custom made for such a purpose...

Re:elections are bought (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895165)

When a government becomes a tool to redistribute wealth, it is natural that people will spend money to prevent the products of their lives from being redistributed to someone else. That is the problem with huge government - it is merely a tool to take from one to give to another by the ballot box. Get the government out of that business and you'll get PACs out of the way too.

Re:elections are bought (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#46895207)

This is a stupid idea. Pick up your guns and start a revolution, or don't.

I wonder how many years until the man will hunt down the authors of posts like this and charge them with sedition.
And sad to say, I think that the new millennium government has a track record saying this is likely a "when", not an "if". Today, the tin foil hat wearers are those who believe in the government and agencies.

Re:elections are bought (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46895297)

This is a stupid idea. Pick up your guns and start a revolution, or don't.

I wonder how many years until the man will hunt down the authors of posts like this and charge them with sedition.
And sad to say, I think that the new millennium government has a track record saying this is likely a "when", not an "if". Today, the tin foil hat wearers are those who believe in the government and agencies.

It's less work to wait someone to accumulate a following, then execute a campaign to trash their reputation and leave their followers without a coherent direction. That's how these things are done.

Re:elections are bought (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 6 months ago | (#46895211)

I think that there's probably a way to regain control of our country with destroying the world economy.

Re:elections are bought (3)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46895321)

I think that there's probably a way to regain control of our country with destroying the world economy.

It's only a matter of *who* will crash the Dollar - OPEC, non-aligned petro-states, The Federal Reserve ("neither Federal nor with any reserves"), Germany (gold), bitcoin, Americans, etc. Bretton Woods is no longer meaningful.

Better for it to be done in an orderly fashion, but if it's not, it'll be done is a disorderly fashion. Oh - don't keep your retirement account in USD, m'kay?

Re:elections are bought (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46895549)

I think that there's probably a way to regain control of our country with destroying the world economy.

It's only a matter of *who* will crash the Dollar - OPEC, non-aligned petro-states, The Federal Reserve ("neither Federal nor with any reserves"), Germany (gold), bitcoin, Americans, etc. Bretton Woods is no longer meaningful.

Better for it to be done in an orderly fashion, but if it's not, it'll be done is a disorderly fashion. Oh - don't keep your retirement account in USD, m'kay?

It's the "command and control" technology for your civilization. But it's been subverted, just like a hacked server that is no longer doing what it was designed to do. If you act intelligently to replace it, most of you will be much better off. If you leave it to foreigners to smash it, you will be frantic to arrange "something" to co-ordinate your affairs, you'll make knee-jerk reactions, and most likely end up with something even worse.

Just a thought.

Re:elections are bought (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#46895325)

well, if you don't listen to them, they'll put you in a building filled with people that have guns -- that will compel you to listen to THEM.

Re:elections are bought (2)

Raenex (947668) | about 6 months ago | (#46895563)

STOP FUCKING SHOPPING.

You go live in your hippy commune. I'm going to live in a modern society where I shop for stuff I like.

Re:elections are bought (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 6 months ago | (#46895191)

And here's a man trying to BUY THEM BACK. Get off your asses and HELP HIM.

But that's the problem. This isn't happening in a vacuum.

At the same time Lessig is trying to buy politicians, a few other organizations who have far more money than Lessig could ever hope to raise, are also buying politicians to do what THEY want.

Re:elections are bought (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895197)

"We're going to end buying politicians by... buying them more!"

I have the feeling this may not ultimately work out the way one might hope.

Re:what a waste (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 6 months ago | (#46895011)

And a PAC groups all the money from these small individual sources into 1 large source of money to pay to politicians with...

Re:what a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46894967)

Like when dear sweet Obama promised to end secret courts and domestic spying.

Re:what a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895111)

Who do you think have bought him? Hint: the same guys that bought Hillary and Romney.

I love the idea, but... (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#46894929)

What about all of the other things they will do? Unfortunately, everyone involved will have different ideas about what else is important. Just saying the word "abortion" will split most of the people who might contribute.

Re:I love the idea, but... (3, Interesting)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about 6 months ago | (#46895023)

The other problem is... does Lessig really think he can go up against the Koch Brothers? How much money does Lessig have that he's willing to throw away on this Quixotic dream?

Re:I love the idea, but... (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#46895157)

None, and that is his point. The majority can outspend them. Sam Walton got rich from lots of small contributions from the middle class.

Re:I love the idea, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895215)

Sam Walton got rich because everybody's gotta buy toilet paper. You won't be able to tap that same reservoir of cash for political purposes. Billionaires are different, because when they finish buying toilet paper, they still have billions of dollars to buy a Congress.

I'd hate to be in the same room with (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46894931)

Blink, Inky, Pink and Clyde. They are not going to be very happy about this announcement.

What is the point? (1, Interesting)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#46894937)

Anytime Congress passes serious reform, it gets struck down by a conservative Supreme Court that has no interest in reform and literally equates money with speech. The ONLY way to have serious reform that sticks is to...

1) Make sure Clinton gets into office in 2016, so she can appoint liberal judges once luddites and philistines like Scalia and Thomas are gone / die off.

2) Focus on an amendment to the Constitution that SPECIFICALLY says money is not speech for purposes of law.

That is it. Nothing else will do, because it will be OVERTURNED. Why is this so hard to understand, Lessig?

Re: What is the point? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895065)

Yeah and here is a better idea, lets make the whole government full of democrats. Won't that be great? Just give the government 50% to 65% of your earnings and 99% of the Koch brothers earnings and let the government decide how to best take care of you and your family. Cause that will work out well for everyone right????

Re: What is the point? (0, Troll)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#46895289)

Probably, yes, because they will do intelligent things with it, like support health care, fund NASA, or provide food stamps.

I wouldn't mind the token republican or two, preferably from a NE state. Got any ideas?

Re:What is the point? (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#46895119)

The ONLY way to have serious reform that sticks is to...

1) Make sure Clinton gets into office in 2016, ...

If you really believe this is the answer, you are deluded. She is a machine politician all the way. Note that saw was Romney and McCane, so this is not partisan...

Re:What is the point? (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#46895299)

She is a Liberal Democrat, where Liberal = Anything to the left of the most liberal Republican in office today.

Re:What is the point? (3, Interesting)

atriusofbricia (686672) | about 6 months ago | (#46895145)

Anytime Congress passes serious reform, it gets struck down by a conservative Supreme Court that has no interest in reform and literally equates money with speech. The ONLY way to have serious reform that sticks is to...

1) Make sure Clinton gets into office in 2016, so she can appoint liberal judges once luddites and philistines like Scalia and Thomas are gone / die off.

2) Focus on an amendment to the Constitution that SPECIFICALLY says money is not speech for purposes of law.

That is it. Nothing else will do, because it will be OVERTURNED. Why is this so hard to understand, Lessig?

Sorry, you're wrong on many points but for the moment I'm only going to answer the cash != speech point. Money is speech when it is used to promote a political view. There simply is no other rational way to say it. The only reason the Left, of which you would appear to be one, are butt hurt about Citizens United is that the case has the effect of putting the Right on more equal footing with the Left's propaganda machine in the form of the majority of the media.

It was all good when Unions and various Left wing groups and causes could scream in the echo chamber but once CU broke the echo chamber and everyone could play now it is a bad thing. I'd think true Liberals, in theory those in favor of liberty one would imagine, would have cheered the ability for anyone to band together and form a PAC to promote their interests.

Re:What is the point? (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 6 months ago | (#46895279)

... so bascially you're saying that you want to live in a system where our politcians can be legally bribed. I don't think most people agree.

Re:What is the point? (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#46895327)

No, it isn't speech. It's used to provide you with a podium, but a podium is not speech, and has never been seen as such since the beginning of the US.

It's amusing that the Supreme Court has said on numerous occasions that the government has the right to regulate the means, location or time of speech (see: Anti-abortion protest laws, regulating where a mob can protest a convention, or better yet, limiting where someone can protest a speech by PRESIDENT BUSH) and yet you teatards have an issue with the Supreme Court regulating the MONEY used to make the speech. It's stupid.

Re:What is the point? (5, Interesting)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 6 months ago | (#46895173)

If you think Hillary Clinton is going to do anything beyond furthering the status quo, you're dreaming. Even if you wanted liberal judges, there are lots of people who would do a far better job than Hillary Clinton.

She is a dishonest person willing to lie, and mislead for personal gain. Remember when she circulated pictures of Obama in a "muslim outfit" to get racist democrats to vote for her in the primary? Remember when she claimed that she was under sniper fire in bosnia to try to inflate her foreign policy credentials?

I am not religious, but I will be praying that she does not win the democratic nomination for 2016.

If we want real change, we'll stop voting for the lesser of 2 evils, and break out of this democrat vs. republican false dichotomy. Surely this is easier than a constitutional amendment to stop people from spending their own money how they see fit.

Re:What is the point? (2, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#46895357)

She's gonna be president. Deal with it. She's going to slaughter any Democrat stupid enough to enter the primaries against her, and the teatard party is preparing to send out idiots like Rick "Hipster-Glasses" Perry and Rand Paul against her. Or maybe they might do something even sillier like have Jeb Bush run. That will be amusing.

No, our next president is almost certainly going to be Clinton.

Re:What is the point? (0)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 6 months ago | (#46895509)

She was going to be president in 2008 too. Luckily enough voters saw through her race baiting tactics the first time around. She might be president in 2016, but I don't think it's a sure thing. It's possible voters may actually elect an honest liberal with integrity as their nominee instead.

Re:What is the point? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895433)

it's long past time to give the Alternative Parties the same chance we've give the R&Ds for decades.

Re:What is the point? (-1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | about 6 months ago | (#46895239)

Hillary Clinton? You mean the one that lied about Benghazi, and is a part of one of the most corrupt administrations in US history. Genius idea.

Re:What is the point? (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 6 months ago | (#46895307)

Yikes.

12 years of Clinton in the White House got us here (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 6 months ago | (#46895367)

Clinton spent 12 years in the White House and this is where we ended up. No thanks. I hear that another Bush may be running - I think I'll pass on the too.

As to CU, so your proposal is that citizens can speak orally, as long as they don't use amicrophone, but cannot make Xerox copies of anything or make a web site, signs, etc. without prior government approval, correct? If you had a blog and paid $35 / for hosting, that would be money, not speech, right? CU was making videos. The government claimed that because they bought supplies to make the videos (which cost money), it's not free speech.

Understand, your proposal (no spending money on free speech), Martin Luther King's speech "I have a dream" would be illegal - the stage he stood on and the sound system costs money.

For those of us not in the US (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46894947)

What's a PAC? It sounds like it's a way of buying politicians, but surely that can't be it.

Re:For those of us not in the US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895013)

Google is your friend...in searching

Re:For those of us not in the US (5, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 6 months ago | (#46895049)

PAC is short for Political Action Committee and it is a way of buying politicians. What is boils down to is a way for many people to combine their political contributions into one entity. (sarc) If the PAC supports your issues then that's ok. (/sarc)

Re:For those of us not in the US (1)

knarfling (735361) | about 6 months ago | (#46895055)

What's a PAC? It sounds like it's a way of buying politicians, but surely that can't be it.

Yes, it really can be a way to buy politicians, and stop calling me Shirley.

OpenSecrets.org defines a PAC like this:

Political Action Committee (PAC) — A popular term for a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. Most PACs represent business, labor or ideological interests.

Re:For those of us not in the US (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#46895057)

What's a PAC? It sounds like it's a way of buying politicians, but surely that can't be it.

It's exactly what it is. "Campaign contributions" is just another word for money. PAC stands for Political Action Committee and is a way to legally handle the outright bribery.
And the American public has proven over and over again that they're gullible enough to vote for those with the biggest coffers, possibly through some cargo cult mechanism in the brain thinking that wealth will rub off.

Re:For those of us not in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895187)

And the American public has proven over and over again that they're gullible enough to vote for those with the biggest coffers

This is the conventional wisdom, but it's false.
Just as one example, Romney outspent Obama.

Re:For those of us not in the US (1)

machineghost (622031) | about 6 months ago | (#46895301)

You can't just pick one example and claim it proves a point. If you look across a large sample size of elections, I HIGHLY suspect you will find that the candidate with the most money wins a disproportionate amount of the time.

Re:For those of us not in the US (1)

j-beda (85386) | about 6 months ago | (#46895571)

You can't just pick one example and claim it proves a point. If you look across a large sample size of elections, I HIGHLY suspect you will find that the candidate with the most money wins a disproportionate amount of the time.

That may be true, but it might not be causal. It is also true that the person with the best chance of being the winner finds it easier to raise money - people tend to want to support the winning side, and are not as enthusiastic about being involved with the side that they think is going to lose.

There are certainly MANY candidates that are unelectable no matter how much money they raise and spend in comparison to their opponents.

Re:For those of us not in the US (5, Informative)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 6 months ago | (#46895063)

That's exactly what it is. It stands for Political Action Committee and large corporations can donate to PACs or super-PACs, allowing them to get around contribution limits, which then turn around and use that money to buy millions of dollars in advertising to destroy or help someone during election time. We aren't allowed to call it bribery because money has been ruled to be free speech but it is basically used to by corporations to buy politicians or punish those working against them.

Are they hiring? (2)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 6 months ago | (#46894949)

I volunteer to determine how much handing an individual unused to wealth a couple billion dollars will affect his moral and ethical judgments. I don't even need the billions.. just a couple million. And I can do this from home.

I signed up (5, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 6 months ago | (#46894955)

Lessig is amazing. I signed up. The question is, will all of you? Everyone here likes to complain about politics and politicians. Everyone agrees there's a problem. Here's a guy we know isn't bought trying to fix it. Put your money where your mouth is, or never open it again.

It's really easy to complain and do nothing. It's really not that difficult to actually do something...

Re:I signed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895029)

Here's a guy we know isn't bought trying to fix it.

How do you know this? This could just be a long con.

Re:I signed up (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 6 months ago | (#46895045)

no, I won't. It's the same reason I don't vote.

Re:I signed up (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 6 months ago | (#46895099)

And the powers that be are glad you don't vote. The fewer people who vote, the more who are cynical about the process the more power they end up wielding. I personally refuse to let them make me that cynical.

Re:I signed up (1)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about 6 months ago | (#46895183)

Ignoring reality makes you less powerful, not more. If you want real political power in the US, you'll have to do more than vote.

Re:I signed up (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 6 months ago | (#46895259)

And I do do more than vote but casting a vote is the only thing where everyone has the same amount of power.

Re:I signed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895335)

And I do do more than vote but casting a vote is the only thing where everyone has the same amount of power.

Heh heh heh. Ha ha ha. You have a vote. Awww, that's cute. I have a vote and a few million dollars. Let's see if we have the same amount of power when it comes to politicians.

Re:I signed up (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46895331)

you'll have to do more than vote.

Like give money to, say, some kind of organization dedicated to reform?

questionable axiom (5, Funny)

fche (36607) | about 6 months ago | (#46894961)

Lessig appears to implicitly accept the idea that "money in political campaigns" = "corruption". Can it not be that the wealthy love their country enough to volunteer their own hard-earned wealth to improve it (as they see it)? The theory that every money-related act is necessarily self-interested (let alone corrupting) is naive.

Re:questionable axiom (5, Insightful)

grimJester (890090) | about 6 months ago | (#46895061)

Yes, the wealthy love their country more then the poor do, exactly proportionally to the wealth they have. One dollar, one vote!

Re:questionable axiom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895329)

So anyone who owns anything more than anyone else is automagically greedy in your mind? You're a fucking loon.
 
It's about as logical as what you said.

Re:questionable axiom (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 6 months ago | (#46895067)

It's not that money itself is the problem. The problem is that the money is overwhelmingly held by a small minority of the population. That minority then effectively gets more representation than they should.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

EvolutionInAction (2623513) | about 6 months ago | (#46895101)

Except because that rich guy can pay more than 90% of the population put together, he's got more say than that 90%. That's kind of antithetical to the basic tenets of democracy.

Even if you want to say that the politicians are unswayed by huge donations (ha!) it would still be a problem. It's well known that if you don't advertise you aren't going to win anything. So the politicians who are likely to win are all the ones who agree with one rich guy or another. You have to see why this introduces a rather frightening bias to even an uncorrupted system.

Re:questionable axiom (1, Interesting)

fche (36607) | about 6 months ago | (#46895177)

"he's got more say than that 90%"

More "say"? Equality of "quantity of speech" is a ludicrous standard. Electorally, the rich are way dis-empowered compared to the masses, whether based on simple capita counts, or contributions to the treasury, or indeed receipts from the treasury.

"It's well known that if you don't advertise you aren't going to win anything."

Then work on that problem: make people less gullible (if that's what you think all those proles really are).

Re:questionable axiom (3, Insightful)

machineghost (622031) | about 6 months ago | (#46895333)

Then work on that problem: make people less gullible (if that's what you think all those proles really are).

Of all the many stupid ideas that have been suggested in this discussion, that has to be the stupidest. Until we can engineer a massive virus that alters the DNA of everyone on the planet (or at least in the USA) good luck changing human nature.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

fche (36607) | about 6 months ago | (#46895541)

OK, if that's how low you think of your fellow citizens, why do you believe in democracy? (I get the sense that all this decrying of the teeeerrible influence of the rich is just about wanting to replace that influence by the self-designated less-rich elite. No thanks.)

Re:questionable axiom (1)

EvolutionInAction (2623513) | about 6 months ago | (#46895395)

The fuck are you on about?

The idea behind "one man one vote" principles is EXACTLY equality of speech. Nobody is supposed to have more or less say.
Right now the rich have far more power - hell, there was a study posted just the other week about that. You know, the metastudy that concluded that the policy records of the government correlated with the will of the top couple percent quite strongly, and with the will of everybody else quite poorly? Yeah.

The "problem" with advertising is human nature. It works on you. It works on me. The more you think it doesn't work on you the better it works! It's horrifying, but it's true. The way to deal with it is at the source.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 6 months ago | (#46895521)

The idea behind "one man one vote" principles is EXACTLY equality of speech. Nobody is supposed to have more or less say.

You are conflating two related, but not identical issues.

In an election each legal voter has but a single vote.

During the other 364.9998 days of the year when you are not voting, we have a good bit more freedom of speech.

  1. Some speak more than others
  2. Some speak more eloquently than others
  3. Some speak louder than others
  4. Some speak to more easily influenced people
  5. Some speak to people whose influence carries more weight

If you do not like what others are saying, you are free to disagree, just as I am doing with you here. If you do not think you are being heard, you may use other mediums to get your message out, don't whine because someone is more eloquent than you, speaks louder than you or is seen/heard by more than you... as by doing so you demonstrate that you only seek equality of outcomes.

Re:questionable axiom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895115)

Absolutely, because if you are wealthy that means you're smart and you can make better decisions than poor who are not smart enough to be rich.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 6 months ago | (#46895201)

"volunteer their own hard-earned wealth"

That's called bribery when the money they are 'volunteering' goes to a politician.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

fche (36607) | about 6 months ago | (#46895253)

We are talking about money to support a political campaign/idea, not money to be used as income by a politician.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 6 months ago | (#46895227)

I think that people rich and poor donate money to political campaigns for the purpose of making this country better. Thinking that the vast majority of money spent in politics isn't self interested is naive.

I personally think the influence of money over politics is a symptom rather than a cause for the problems we have. But it's pretty clear that some huge percent of the money spent in politics is basically corruption.

Re:questionable axiom (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 6 months ago | (#46895247)

Can it not be that the wealthy love their country enough to volunteer their own hard-earned wealth to improve it (as they see it)?

The problem is that, as far as the ultra-wealthy go, the improvements that this country needs are the ones that allow the ultra-wealthy to keep or make more money, at the expense of everyone else. Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule, but in general that is the reason why 196 people donated 80% of the money to super PACs in 2012.

Re:questionable axiom (2)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | about 6 months ago | (#46895447)

Let's start with the two assumptions that

Government should be functioning in the best interests of their Citizens.
and
If there needs to be a subset of the group of Citizens, then Government should side with the one that benefits the most Citizens.

The Wealthy love their country enough to volunteer their own money to improve it as they see it. Do they necessarily have the same objectives as the two above? If so, then the Wealthy are not a corrupting force.

If the Wealthy use their influence to deviate the Government from the two above assumptions, then the Wealthy are a corrupting force. and should be examined closely with the second assumption in mind.

Who has the biggest Koch? (4, Insightful)

sir_eccles (1235902) | about 6 months ago | (#46894995)

I'm not sure people realize how much money is needed.

Re:Who has the biggest Koch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895359)

The top three campaign contributors are unions that have never endorsed a single Republican. Get your head out of Harry Reid's ass, right next to his head, where the Kochs have a strangle on the government because of their campaign contributions.

Public Financing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46894997)

As long as the end goal is public campaign financing, then fuck it, go nuclear.

Can't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895007)

They'll just happily take all your money and then get nothing done. This is the way of it. There are no actual consequences for failure in politics and that's the real problem. Nobody is bound by law to do much of anything resembling the will of the people.

One Issue, or Many? (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 6 months ago | (#46895039)

Thatâ(TM)s the basic idea behind a super PAC launching Thursday that wants to destroy super PACs for good. The Mayday PAC, as itâ(TM)s called, seeks to raise enough money to sway five House elections in 2014 and elect representatives who have committed to pressing for serious reform of the campaign finance system.

Is that the only issue that they will press for? Or will they also be required to support Lawrence's position on gun regulation, or any of his other issues? I am all for campaign finance reform and would happily give large to the cause, but I don't support everything Mr. Lessig does, and I'm not sure I believe he has the self-discipline to keep his other issues out of his PAC. I'd love to see five campaign finance reformers elected, but despite my respect for him, I would not want five Lawrence Lessig clones.

Re:One Issue, or Many? (5, Informative)

MayOne.US (3638889) | about 6 months ago | (#46895441)

This is the only issue that the PAC will press for.

And indeed, you can direct your pledge to be used only to support members of one political party if you wish. We don't get as granular as issue-by-issue, but when you pledge, there is a targeting dropdown menu. That targeting dropdown menu allows you to choose from { Whatever Helps, Democrats Only, Republicans Only }

If you pledge your money to Republicans only, it is statistically very unlikely that they would be for gun control.

I don't agree with Prof. Lessig on all the issues either, but that's the point. No matter what side of the debate you fall upon, you have to make sure that this issue is fixed first, otherwise the decisions made will be those that are in the funders' best interests, not the peoples' best interest.

— Brian Boyko
—CTO, MayDay.US

Soo... (3, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | about 6 months ago | (#46895051)

He's going to use the, so-called, corrupt system to change the laws to prevent himself from ever doing this again?

I dunno... why not kickstart a super-PAC that would buy candidates that does something productive? Like hire candidates who will restore our rights per the 4th amendment, stop the drug war, stop punitive taxation...yadda, yadda...

No no... gotta use the loophole to close the loophole..

Re:Soo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895143)

Fight fire with fire.
One big concentrated push to end it all. Instead of many tiny pushes that are tougher to get funded, agreed upon, and might fail.

Asking the wrong questions (4, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | about 6 months ago | (#46895079)

Anybody who wants to ban corporate political speech needs to carefully study similar reforms in India, where about 1/3 of national political candidates are under criminal indictment (and 3% of sitting members of their congress) for campaign finance crimes. Despite what some will claim here, that is notand improvement.

The problem isn't corporate money in campaign finances, the problem is stupid, lazy voters who can't be bothered to find out what or what they're voting for, and just doing what the Magic Box in their living room tells them to. And no amount of campaign finance reform will ever fix that.

Re:Asking the wrong questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895315)

I think if 1/3 of our current congress was randomly thrown in prison, we'd do pretty alright.

Re:Asking the wrong questions (5, Interesting)

MayOne.US (3638889) | about 6 months ago | (#46895491)

I think you would be surprised at what we would need to do to get real reform. By no means are we *against* speech. We just want to change the *incentives* of our politicians. In short, we want politicians to have to worry about what the voters think first, and right now they have to worry about what the funders think first.

We can do this without banning anyone from speaking or spending money to speak, by creating viable alternatives to fundraising that don't involve members of Congress and candidates for Congress spending 30%-70% of their time on the phones raising money from a pool of about 150,000 Americans, who represent private interests. We're interested in reforms like the ones passed in Connecticut where no speech was restricted, but an alternative viable method of fundraising through small-dollar donations was implemented.

-- Brian Boyko
-- CTO, MayOne.US

Brilliant ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895087)

Only situationist strategies like this, have a chance to fix the political circus;
or make it onerous enough to precipitate the structural faults that drag it

Good thing wind power has gotten more popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895089)

Because it's provided plenty of windmills for Lessig to go tilt at. /me breaks out the popcorn

Sounds suspiciously like the current system (1)

bazmail (764941) | about 6 months ago | (#46895129)

So they are going to influence policy by writing big checks? And this is change? Am I missing something.

I'd like to know actual details, please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895221)

The Distributions page makes no mention of what specific elections or candidates they plan to influence.

I checked the site before it was slashdotted, and all of the board members have actively contributed to Democrat campaigns. Every single board member, (except for maybe Mark McKinnon, arguably) have actively supported Democrat candidates and platforms. Of the top 10 SuperPACs in OpenSecrets.org, 6 are 'liberal' and 3 are 'conservative'.
  So... explain to me how this won't end up being another Democrat SuperPAC?

I'm going to go on a limb and say this PAC will be used to disrupt the possible Republican takeover of the Senate, and I'll even wager that their donations will be steered towards Democrats only.

Yah, let's fight SuperPACs by supporting the candidates that benefit the most from them.

Sample Legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895233)

Is this as effing retarded as Wolf-Pac that wants to finance campaigns with tax dollars?

I really don't care what (Constitutional) limits are placed on holding elected office. Make chastity a requirement for all I care. Driving is a right. Owning firearms is a right. Speech is a right. Running my life is the fucking privilege!

Anyway, I don't need more TV ads, junk mail, telemarketing or whatnot, so if you are going to end the influence of money in politics, then END IT ALL! Don't replace Koch/Soros dick-waving money with tax dollars taken with force. Just end it.

Take them down from the inside? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46895245)

No, once you are "inside" you are assimilated and become them.

Super PAC... (1)

Vylen (800165) | about 6 months ago | (#46895255)

-MAN? As a non-American, I saw a lot of PAC but still had no idea what this was talking about. Until I Wiki'd what PAC could have possibly stood for.

Yay! Everyone's arguing! (1)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 6 months ago | (#46895343)

Everyone's arguing (uselessly) instead of doing anything. Armchair generals, all of you.

I actually lobby. It's not that hard. Talk accomplishes nothing.

For those that don't know Lessig, here's a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] Here's his TED talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Stop arguing (uselessly) with each other and HELP.

End Corporate Personhood as well. (2)

DMJC (682799) | about 6 months ago | (#46895439)

End Corporate Personhood while you're there Mr Lessig, It's about time that more power was allocated back to the Voters of the United States. Where the USA leads, other countries will follow. Don't bother trying to amend things like gun laws, or drug laws etc in the constitution. Just focus on smashing corporate personhood. Hell a Constitutiional amendment to end it needs to happen.

How does this fix anything? (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 6 months ago | (#46895529)

Once you buy them out, then what? How will you change the law? They will balk at not being able to receive such funding in the future, esp if your success hinged on the biggest buyout in history. The moment your funding is spent and they're back to business as usual, congress will undo those laws just enough to let funding trickle through again.

The fundamental problem with washington politics (and really, world politics) is that it is more interested in compromise than it is in making correct decisions. Not rocking the boat and risking their 'careers' is of higher concern than treating their positions as duties like they're supposed to. As a result, few politicians nowadays have the testicular fortitude and backbone to LEAD; to make unilateral decisions when the situation calls for it. It's the only way to break the vicious cycle of passive aggressive fallacious attacks that make up the bulk of the 'political process.'

Good luck. You'll need it. The mention of TED however makes me wonder this is just another left wing power grab, same as it might be a neocon power grab if this came from the heritage foundation.

Wait... they are forming a PAC (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 6 months ago | (#46895559)

To kill off PACs?

Somehow, I doubt that, what they mean is PACs they don't like.

Meanwhile OFA 401(c) which should endorse no political candidate, can post from Obama's personal Twitter account... but they don't get their tax status pulled. (Who Lawrence supported in both elections)

Just another endrun around the 1st amendment to shut down the opposition.

Universal Representation (1)

belg4mit (152620) | about 6 months ago | (#46895565)

What we really need is universal representation. I just finished a brief booklet—"Reinventing Congress for the 21st Century" (1st ed. [worldcat.org] , 2nd ed. [worldcat.org] )—that makes a compelling case, depsite some quaint notions about CDROMs and video cassettes.

A logical flaw (5, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | about 6 months ago | (#46895569)

If the RIAA, for example, spent $10 million last year on lobbyists, it wasn't because they only had $10 million to spend -- it's because they only needed to spend $10 million to get the results they wanted. If they have to spend more, they will.

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