Frequently Asked Questions
- What’s the plan here?
- Why is this so important? What’s wrong with the Status Quo?
- What do you mean by “Citizen-Funded, Kick-started” Super PAC?
- Is the Mayday PAC partisan?
- What kind of “PAC” is the Mayday PAC?
- So you want to use big money to fight big money?
- What will you spend the money on?
- Will the contributors to the Mayday PAC be listed?
- What does “fundamental reform” mean? What specific proposals do you support?
- The reforms at Reform.to are just statutory. What about constitutional change?
- Is campaign reform the only “screen” that will be used to decide which candidate(s) to support?
- Isn’t it possible that otherwise “awful” candidates could say they will support campaign reform and then not actually do so once elected? How can you deal with this?
- Which candidates are you planning to support? Both Democrats and Republicans are recognized on your web page, but there is a huge difference in philosophies about fair elections between the two major parties.
- The options of “Whatever Helps,” “Republicans Only,” and “Democrats Only” do not leave room for an “Independents/3rd Party” option. Why have you chosen to exclude independent candidates?
- Is there a physical mailing address where I can send my donation in the form of a check? I don’t give money over the Internet.
- Can I make a montly donation?
- How do I change or cancel my monthly recurring donation?
- How do I cancel a recurring donation made through democracy.com?
- Do you accept Bitcoin contributions?
- What percentage of my contribution is eaten up by overhead?
- What payment processor do you use? Are my money and information safe?
- What if my question isn’t answered here?
- Questions related specifically to our picks:
- Why are you supporting a Republican?
- By supporting Rubens, are you opposing incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), a champion of reform?
- You’re giving candidates a chance to inoculate themselves by pledging for reform. What happens if a candidate claims to support reform, and then doesn’t?
- My candidate supports reform, but you don’t have their stance listed!?
What’s the plan here?
This campaign will occur across at least two election cycles. We have launched an experiment to see whether we can kick-start a campaign for fundamental reform. With over $7,000,000 in donations, the first stage of that experiment has succeeded.
In 2014, we will are launching independent campaigns in at least five congressional districts. Our goal: To elect five members of Congress who support strong reforms of the way candidates fund elections.
This is just the pilot program, Based on what we learn in those 5 districts, we will launch a much larger campaign in 2016 to get us to 218 votes in the House, and 60 votes in the United States Senate.
Why is this so important? What’s wrong with the Status Quo?
This article by Lawrence Lessig, entitled “What’s So Bad About a Superpac?” explains in detail exactly why the way candidates raise money for elections needs to be reformed, and the dynamics that the creation of Super PACs have produced.
What do you mean by “Citizen-Funded, Kick-started” Super PAC?
Mayday PAC was funded by two kick-started crowdfunding rounds. The first, in May, met it’s $1M goal in 13 days, and the second, from June 4th to midnight, Independence Day. We met that goal thanks to a great last-minute rally nine hours before the deadline. Over 50,000 citizens have contributed to the Mayday PAC, making it truly a citizen-funded PAC. So far as we know, no Super PAC has ever had more contributors.
Is the Mayday PAC partisan?
No, and in fact, during our crowdfunding rounds, we allowed our donors to earmark their contributions to help “Democrats Only,” “Republicans Only,” or “Whatever Helps.” The vast majority – between 70-80% – chose “Whatever Helps.” We’re not interested in pushing policies for the Left or the Right, but to free Congress to lead on issues that the Left and the Right care about.
What kind of “PAC” is the Mayday PAC?
The Mayday PAC is a 501(4)(c), or “Super PAC.” That means that so long as the PAC is not seen as “coordinating” with any candidate or candidate’s committee, we can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money.
However, the ultimate aim of this super PAC is to end the dominance of super PACs in our elections. We want fundamental reform that will change the way elections are funded. The first step towards that goal is to elect a Congress that will enact fundamental reform. Once we have elected that Congress, we will then consider the constitutional reform that will secure fundamental reform.
So you want to use big money to fight big money?
Yes. We want to use big money (collected from the many) to fight big money (collected from the few). Ironic, we understand. But embrace the irony. Everyone recognizes that politics costs money in America. And we don’t imagine a future where campaigns are free. But if we can pull together a large enough pool of money through this campaign, we can convince Americans that they can change the way money matters in politics. We can create a system in which it isn’t the influence of a few that matters. Instead, as any democracy should, it would be the influence of a majority that matters.
What will you spend the money on?
We will use the money to win elections in which we’ve made fundamental reform a key issue.
As part of this effort, we will hire professional campaigners who will craft interventions in targeted districts to make fundamental reform the issue in that campaign — and to make the reform candidate the winner.
In 2014, these interventions will serve as prototype for a much larger round of funding in the 2016 cycle. Our aim this year is to learn what works, and to prepare for the much bigger fight in the next election for a majority in Congress committed to reform.
100% of the money that came from our pledgers will be used to fund campaigns. Any expenses we have to build and operate the MaydayPAC — and there will be some — will be paid for through other donations.
We hope you’ll give us the freedom to run the most effective campaign for fundamental reform that we can. But if you’d like to target your contributions, you can indicate whether your money will help only Republicans, or only Democrats.
Will the contributors to the Mayday PAC be listed?
The names of all contributors above $200 will be reported to the FEC. We will list the names of large contributors prominently on our site. We will not accept anonymous contributions, or contributions from anonymizing entities.
What does “fundamental reform” mean? What specific proposals do you support?
We want to reform the way campaigns are funded. As we see it, the critical problem in American politics today is that a tiny fraction of Americans are the effective, or relevant, funders of congressional campaigns. We want to spread that influence in order to include the greatest number of citizens as the effective funders of campaigns.
There are a range of proposals that would do this — some better than others, but all which would achieve fundamental reform. Lawrence Lessig’s campaign finance reform group Rootstrikers has listed five specific proposals at reform.to, and that list may evolve.
But as a first step, any candidate for Congress who has pledged to co-sponsor one of these reforms will be safe from the Mayday PAC. At this point, we will only target candidates who have not already committed to co-sponsoring fundamental reform.
That standard may change. The requirements for “safe harbor” may need to evolve. But at this point, the simplest way for a candidate or incumbent to avoid the Mayday PAC is to commit to fundamental reform.
Here is a great video made by one of our supporters which explains “citizen funded elections” and what we mean by “fundamental reform.”
The reforms at Reform.to are just statutory. What about constitutional change?
The work of the Mayday PAC will not be finished until we have secured constitutional reform. But that change is next on the list. It is not the focus of our work now. And we do not view a commitment to constitutional reform without a commitment to statutory reform as sufficient.
Is campaign reform the only “screen” that will be used to decide which candidate(s) to support?
Yes. Support for fundamental reform in the way campaigns are funded is the essential filter now. There will always be issues that we, as individuals, will feel passionate about. But the one and only thing that our pledgers and volunteers are unanimously united on is the need to reform the way we fund elections in the United States.
Isn’t it possible that otherwise “awful” candidates could say they will support campaign reform and then not actually do so once elected? How can you deal with this?
Yes, that’s possible, but we will carefully screen candidates to minimize that possibility (by selecting people who otherwise seem trustworthy and reliable), and make as public as possible any commitments they make.
Which candidates are you planning to support? Both Democrats and Republicans are recognized on your web page, but there is a huge difference in philosophies about fair elections between the two major parties.
In 2014, we will spend the money to learn and to teach — to learn what works best, in winning seats on the basis of reform, and to teach that this is an issue all Americans care about, whether Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. That should make the candidates in 2016 at all levels of government pay attention.
That campaign will be most effective when it can launch fully and effectively. If we pre-launch it — by announcing candidates now — it will not be effective.
In 2016, we will spend money to win a majority in Congress committed to fundamental reform.
The options of “Whatever Helps,” “Republicans Only,” and “Democrats Only” do not leave room for an “Independents/3rd Party” option. Why have you chosen to exclude independent candidates?
In 2014, our objective is to win seats on the basis of reform, and to show that we can win seats on the basis of reform. We don’t see any independent candidates on the federal level who could win this election cycle. Spending our donors money to support independent candidates doesn’t advance our objective. However, if that changes, we will reconsider.
Is there a physical mailing address where I can send my donation in the form of a check? I don’t give money over the Internet.
Yes, there is:
P.O. Box 380444
Cambridge, MA 02238
Please include your name, address, occupation, and employer along with your check. According to FEC rules, we will be unable to accept your donation without that information.
Can I make a montly donation?
Yes. As of Nov 14, 2014, we have full support for monthly donations. Please select the ‘Donate this amount every month’ checkbox on our pledge page.
How do I change or cancel my monthly recurring donation?
Please contact us and let us know the email used to set up the donation.
How do I cancel a recurring donation made through democracy.com?
Please contact us and let us know, and we will cancel it for you.
Do you accept Bitcoin contributions?
Thanks to a PAC called MakeYourLaws, which has gotten approval from the FEC for 501(4)(c) organizations to accept up to $100 from individuals in Bitcoin, yes. You can now donate bitcoin - up to $100 worth - at mayday.us/bitcoin
What percentage of my contribution is eaten up by overhead?
None of the money raised through this citizens-up campaign will be spent for overhead or other indirect costs. 100% of that money will be devoted to campaigns.
This doesn’t mean there is no overhead in this project. It means we will cover the costs of that overhead — including even the payment processing fees from your contributions — from other sources. Those costs will be as small as we can keep them. None of the directors of the Mayday PAC will be paid. And we will keep the costs of building and maintaining Mayday.us as low as possible. But whatever costs this organizing site incurs, we will cover them independently of the money raised through the two pledge campaigns.
What payment processor do you use? Are my money and information safe?
We have decided upon using Stripe as our payment processor. Stripe has offered us a very competitive rate (for which we thank them), and Stripe is compliant with PCI requirements and no sensitive data hits our servers. When you enter in your credit card information, it is not stored on the Mayday.us site and goes directly to Stripe via the Stripe.js API.
Or in short: Yes, your money and info are safe.
What if my question isn’t answered here?
You can ask us through our Contact Page. Please send us your feedback.
Questions related specifically to our picks:
Why are you supporting a Republican?
In the New Hampshire Republican Senate Republican Primary, we are supporting two-term State Senator Jim Rubens, the only Republican U.S. Senate candidate in the nation who has openly endorsed fundamental reform to the way campaigns are funded.
Better yet, he’s made political reform his central issue. While most Republicans in Congress oppose reform, this is a race where reformers can show that we will have the backs of those brave Republicans who buck special interests and do the right thing.
By supporting Rubens, are you opposing incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), a champion of reform?
The campaign we announced is in the Republican Primary in New Hampshire. In that race, we’re supporting Jim Rubens against Scott Brown.
If Jim Rubens wins the primary, then both candidates in the NH Senate race will be for public funding of elections. Our work will be done. We have no reason to be supporting one pro-public funding candidate against another.
We will wait for the results of the primary before deciding whether to take further steps in the NH Senate race.
You’re giving candidates a chance to inoculate themselves by pledging for reform. What happens if a candidate claims to support reform, and then doesn’t?
Those candidates could be on our target list for 2016.
My candidate supports reform, but you don’t have their stance listed!?
Great! Send us a press release or public statement, and we’ll make sure it gets posted.