Mayday PAC in the Media

Huffington Post: Mayday II

But victory will require more than committed candidates. Voters must turn out at the polls to elect them, something which at the moment and despite Lessig’s optimism, they are not prepared to do. For that to happen the electorate will have to be convinced that publicly funded candidates will be responsive to the needs of the middle class and low income groups in ways that the current cohort of privately funded elected officials are not. To win, reform candidates will have to combine their call for public funding of elections with the promise to enact policies that materially improve voters’ lives by, for example, increasing the income and employment of those who have been most shut out of the country’s economic gains. Such campaigns will require a massive field operation. People will not be convinced by television ads that politics really can be changed. Person to person persuasion will be needed.

Forbes: Lawrence Lessig Shows That Today’s Political Struggle Has Nothing To Do With Democrats Vs. Republicans

A great beneficiary of Lessig’s vision, if its realization properly is structured, is our elected officials. Lessig doesn’t intend to, and does not, undermine their job security. Adopting his plan would improve the quality of our officials’ lives immensely. Lessig isn’t prescribing Castor oil. If he stops treating it like something one has to coax a recalcitrant child into taking “for your own good” he will encounter far less opposition.

If he presents it shrewdly, Lessig’s most enthusiastic constituency well could become … Members of Congress. Our elected officials almost unanimously detest having to spend the majority of their discretionary time dialing for dollars. These lovely people came to Washington to represent their district and make America a better place. Lessig’s plan could make doing that job easier and much more delightful (both to us voters and our Representatives).

The Washington Post: The ‘super PAC to end all PACs’ was supposed to fix money in politics. Here’s what went wrong.

Mayday’s laying its plans right now, and there are a couple of avenues for that. There’s this army of people — almost 70,000 people now — who donated to Mayday in the last round. And they want to basically work with that group to turn them into citizen lobbyists and storm all these members of Congress and ask them to sign on.

Mayday’s constituency, Mayday’s tribe, is made of people who are frustrated by how the system works. And it should be focused on them, and frankly it seems like it’s more a small-dollar community than a big-dollar community. That means there’s going to be more patient, grassroots-focused organizing, but it also means that there’s going to be an army of constituents in all these cities across the country that can do lobbying work. And giving people more avenues to have an impact than just donating is going to be a key part of Mayday’s future.

New York Daily News: His mouth where his money is

What Lessig wants to do is change the calculus of politicians by empowering citizens to give — and candidates to accept — small campaign donations.

People would get a $50 tax rebate via a voucher they could then give to candidates. Candidates would parlay those into potentially very significant matching funds, perhaps in a 6-to-1 ratio.

Huffington Post: Watch: The Bare Knuckle Fight Against Money in Politics

Lawrence Lessig, who teaches law at Harvard, is a well-known Internet activist and campaign finance reform advocate. This election cycle, he started a crowd-funded SuperPAC aimed at reducing the influence of money in politics. Lessig tells Bill: “Our democracy is flat lined. Because when you can show clearly there’s no relationship between what the average voter cares about, only if it happens to coincide with what the economic elite care about, you’ve shown that we don’t have a democracy anymore.”

Bloomberg: The Learned Helplessness of the American Voter

I spoke by phone last week with the political activist and Harvard Law School professor Larry Lessig, who earlier this year launched Mayday, a self-styled “crowd-funded SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs…including this one,” to agitate for campaign-finance reform (although he considers that phrase a euphemism comparable to “liquid-intake problem” for alcoholism). Mayday has raised over $10 million to date, but saw only mixed results in the races that it invested in. Lessig’s sure the public can be rallied, but admits that it’s a long road. “I’m in the camp of people who think it’s not quite fair to criticize” people who wonder what reason there is to vote. He said, “I think it’s pretty reasonable for people not to engage in a system like this.”

The Daily Beast: Why We Won’t Stop Fighting Corruption

While we have data that demonstrates voters in these races did care about the issue, it simply wasn’t enough—in an election of this kind of historic proportion—to make enough of a difference. But that doesn’t mean we can’t and won’t in the future. Those of us who are committed to this issue see it the same light you might if you got a fatal cancer diagnosis for your child. The stakes are just too important. So, despite the odds, you don’t give up.

And we won’t. What particularly pains me in this instance, is not so much the electoral losses, but the apparent glee that some of Lessig’s detractors, and even some of his colleagues in the reform movement jealous of his attention, have expressed over the outcome. Having worked closely with Lessig and many others over the years on these issues, I say this confidently: There is no more passionate, committed, creative and articulate advocate on these issues than Larry Lessig.

Medium: Mayday, Mayday: How Not to Reflect on Campaign Finance Reform’s Disastrous 2014 Election Night

So let’s be perfectly clear about this: The notion that quiet, behind-the-scenes politicking can someday lead to comprehensive campaign finance reform is patently absurd. We’re talking about reversing the effects of the most significant and well-known Supreme Court decision since Bush v. Gore, drastically shrinking a multi-billion dollar industry overnight, and wrenching power away from some of the most power-hungry people in the entire world.

Lessig was not “siphoning off money that could have [been] spent more effectively by existing groups,” he was raising money that otherwise would likely have never gone towards campaign finance reform at all. Maybe the “ivory tower egghead” doesn’t have a “radio voice,” but he’s brought new energy, supporters and ideas to a campaign that sorely needed them. Instead of trashing Lessig in Politico, his ostensible allies should be thanking their lucky stars he joined the team.

The New York Times: Mayday, a Super PAC to Fight Super PACs, Stumbles in Its First Outing

“We need to engage in more primaries,” he recently told his supporters. But figuring out how to appeal to 2016 Republican primary voters on the issue of campaign finance overhaul could be as difficult as winning elections this year.

The right context for Mr. Lessig are primaries that won’t call for voters to cross party lines for the issue of campaign finance. “The data supports the idea that we could move partisan voters toward our issue in safe seats more easily than contested seats,” he said.

The Daily Caller: A Mayday PAC Postmortum: Lawrence Lessig And The Right To Lose

Americans undoubtedly assume their political leaders are on the take. When asked if they favor laws to reduce money in politics, 90 percent say yes. Lessig believed the polling data along with some cherry-picked academic scholarship contained the recipe for a political movement. But his polling said nothing about the public’s passion for campaign finance reform or even good government.

Politico: How to waste $10 million

Embracing the irony of setting up a super PAC that would spend big money in order to fight super PACs and other groups that spend big money, Harvard professor Larry Lessig and GOP strategist Mark McKinnon went all-in on the idea voters would kick megadonors to the curb.

Tuesday, voters shrugged and cast their ballots for business as usual, leaving Mayday and Lessig — who emerged as its public personae — facing questions about the disconnect between its bold predictions and results.

Huffington Post: The Impact Investor: A Modern Day Sisyphus?

Enter Mayday Super PAC, a crowd-funded Super PAC, or political action committee, to end all Super PACs. The Mayday Super PAC uses its investors’ dollars to “elect a Congress committed to fundamental reform in the way political campaigns are funded by 2016.”

You don’t need to think too hard about the value proposition. In fact, don’t even bother modeling the upside of an investment in the non-partisan Mayday Super PAC. See it as a bargain-basement insurance policy against keeping years of your hard-earned social, environmental, and financial value creation from tumbling uncontrollably from its peak.

Interlochen Public Radio: 5 things to watch for on Election Day in Michigan

Michigan 6th Congressional District. Did the Mayday PAC see something no one else did? They’ve recently dumped millions of dollars trying to oust Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan. The Mayday PAC is focused on campaign finance reform.

Not that the trope of PACs barreling into states and informing voters of which candidate is and is not native enough is reserved for conservatives. Mayday PAC, Larry Lessig’s reform group, has focused its ad money in South Dakota on folksy ads starring real Dakotans who are fed up with the insiders and corruption.

Huffington Post: Enviros Tentatively Hopeful About A Potential Upton Upset

The biggest outside spender for Clements has been the Mayday PAC, a campaign finance reform political action committee that has spent more than $2 million on his behalf, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Most national environmental groups have been more restrained in their spending on this race, however.

“It would be the upset of the election cycle if Paul Clement beats Fred Upton, particularly since Upton handily won this seat in 2012,” said one national environmental leader, speaking on background to discuss the race more openly. “It would demonstrate that voters will vote against business as usual if they have the facts linking their representative’s campaign cash to his special interest favors.”

The Hill: 6 questions for weekend before election

With outside money flowing into big races at a record clip, Lawrence Lessig’s Mayday PAC has been one of this cycle’s curiosities. Its stated aim: To elect candidates who will limit big money in politics by spending big money on politics.

While the group has been successful in drawing attention to its unconventional mission and to some of its races, Tuesday will give political observers the first hint of whether the group’s pro-reform message has legs. Mayday’s candidates include independent Greg Orman in Kansas and Democrat Rick Weiland in South Dakota, both of whom are in tight races — but, win or lose, the group has already pledged to compete in 2016.

Grist: Is this House Republican about to lose to a climate hawk?

Despite his rightward lurch in a purple district (and his smaller margin of victory in 2012), the national Democratic Party, somewhat mysteriously, hasn’t put much money into challenging him. But earlier this month, the Mayday PAC — a crowd-funded PAC founded by Laurence Lessig to elect candidates that will help reduce the influence of money in politics — put $1.5 million into the race; this week it announced it’s spending $650,000 more.

Political observers, including environmental groups, have generally regarded the campaign of Upton’s challenger, Western Michigan University professor Paul Clements, as quixotic. LCV hasn’t gotten involved. Tom Steyer hasn’t gotten involved. But with some money behind him enabling him to get his message out, Clements is surging.

MLIVE: Election 2014: Everything you need to know about the 6th District Congressional race

Taking center stage in the race is the role of outside money. Mayday PAC, a crowd-funded super PAC has launched a $2.15 negative ad campaign against Upton. The ads partly accused Upton of taking more than $2.5 million from “big drug, insurance, and related interests — while voting against allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors and in favor of allowing insurance companies to deny care to people with pre-existing conditions.”

Upton’s campaign has denied all of the allegations. In an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board, Upton said some Mayday funders are regretting their decision. He declined to name the funders.

Re/Code: Mayday PAC’s Focus on Defeating Michigan Congressman Riles Tech Lobby

If Upton loses next Tuesday, it would be a major victory for the Mayday PAC, which has been funded in large part by tech executives. Singling him out as the “worst of the worst” is a risky bet for Mayday’s tech industry backers, however, given Upton is the top Republican on the Energy & Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over Internet, media and telecom companies.

Upton’s campaign has been putting out fires since the frustrated candidate told a local newspaper he’d called some of Mayday’s tech funders to complain. (His campaign has since denied either the candidate or his aides called donors.) In an interview, Tom Wilbur, Upton’s campaign manager, would only say that “from Fred’s perspective there’s only two ways to run, unopposed or full-speed ahead.”

Constitution Daily: So what are the D.C. insiders really afraid of?

Despite the fear-mongering, and especially if the states use a “compact” to agree in advance on how the process would work, a serious case can no longer be made that a convention would run wild. An Article V convention has no power to change the constitution on its own. Its only power, as the Constitution plainly states, is “for proposing Amendments.” And evidence now available because of the Internet to every American shows that it was the political bodies closest to the American people, state legislatures, that were meant to use the Article V convention process to propose the necessary constitutional changes.

The framers gave us the amendment by convention procedure to provide a way around a Congress stalemated by its insiders. Americans from across a political spectrum are now working together to use that gift. The insiders will squeal. But that is precisely the point: they have failed to fix the fundamental problems that we now face. We must now use the tools the framers gave us to solve the problems that the insiders won’t.

CNN World: Lessig: What Hong Kong protests should teach U.S.

Well look at what’s going on in Hong Kong. They want to have a two stage election. And in the first stage, a small committee of 1,200 people get to pick the candidate. So 1,200 out of five million is about .024 percent of Hong Kong picks the candidates who get to run in the general election.

So in America, like in Hong Kong, we have a two-stage process. And at the first stage, a tiny fraction of our democracy chooses the candidates who get to run, effectively, in the second stage. And so it’s just like that two-stage process in Hong Kong.

WMUK: In 6th Congressional District, Newcomer Looks for Upset

Clements has criticized Upton’s votes on shutting down the government last year and suing President Obama as playing to the base of the Republican Party. And Clements says Upton’s shift on climate change has been dramatic.

In addition to the money he has raised, the May Day Super Pac has put over $2-million into the race. The group says it wants to change the way political campaigns are funded. Upton says he doesn’t take any campaign lightly.

Holland Sentinel: Conservative super PAC comes to Upton’s aid in MI 6th race

Another Super PAC has jumped into the fray of the 6th Congressional race with a $300,000 television buy this week.

The American Future Fund Political Action Committee released a new television ad supporting Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.

At the same time, the Mayday PAC has called for the American Future Fund to reveal its financial sources. Independent Political Action Committees — Super PACs — such as the AFF are not required to report their funders to the Federal Election Commission.

New Republic: This Michigan House Race Has Become a Last-Minute Battleground for Outside Spending

In Michigan, Fred Upon, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, may be in a tighter race than expected. His Democratic opponent, Paul Clements, released a poll this week showing him behind Upton by just four points. And while media outlets like National Journal and Talking Points Memo have been skeptical, super PACs on both sides are pumping money into the race at the last minute.

Earlier in the race, Lawrence Lessig’s Mayday super PAC promised to spend more than $2 million on anti-Upton ads, including a $650,000 ad buy this week.

The Hill: Upset brewing in Michigan House race?

A recent internal poll from challenger Paul Clements put the Democrat within 4 percentage points of Upton, raising the specter that the powerful Republican could be in a sleeper race.

Smelling blood, ads have poured into the state’s 6th District in the final weeks. MayDay PAC, aimed at ending “money’s corrupting influence in politics,” released its latest ad slamming Upton on Wednesday.

Herald Online: Political Documentary “PAY 2 PLAY” Spotlights Dark Money in U.S. Politics

Appearing in “PAY 2 PLAY” are Robert Reich, John Nichols, Lawrence Lessig, Noam Chomsky, Van Jones, Marianne Williamson, Jack Abramoff, Marge Baker, Jerry Springer, Mark Crispin Miller, Brad Friedman, Lee Fang, Jason Leopold, Thom Hartmann, Jessica Levinson, Rashad Robinson, Bob Edgar, Kathay Feng and Rob Weissman, amongst others.

As a citizen journalist, Ennis embarked on a journey to find ways outsiders can create meaningful campaign reform. Spanning eight years, “PAY 2 PLAY” dissects Big Money’s effects in politics, connecting the dots between the hurdles to fair and open elections. The doc also illustrates how people power has had a provable impact, citing the Occupy Movement and high profile Street Art.

New York Times: In Michigan, Spending Big Money to Stop Big Money

Now, with Election Day nearing, Mayday is pinning its hopes on Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District, where Representative Fred Upton, a Republican who is the chairman of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee and was once deemed a safe incumbent, is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from Paul Clements, a Democrat.

Argus Leader: This is an effective anti-Rounds ad, but is it too late?

When the star of the ad comes off as relatable, they can engender a lot more empathy than the normal style of attacks.

I think pro-Weiland group Mayday PAC manages that in this anti-Mike Rounds ad, featuring Elm Springs rancher Pat Trask. His closing line – “I voted for Reagan, Bush, Thune – but I can’t vote for Mike Rounds” – is quietly devastating.

New York Times: In Michigan, Spending Big Money to Stop Big Money

In a race that was on no one’s radar a month ago, Mayday is now the biggest outside spender. As of Thursday, officials said, the group will have committed more than $2 million to the district, where other outside spenders (not to mention the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) have barely participated. Mr. Clements has said he would support more aggressive campaign disclosure rules, which Mayday has pushed for and which Mr. Upton has voted against.

Politico: First In Score - MAYDAY PAC makes moves in Kansas, South Dakota

The group is launching a TV ad backed by a $500,000 buy that features commentary from Kansas voters — who identify as Republicans — who say GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is a tool of deep-pocketed special interests. The ad is running on broadcast networks in Wichita.

The group is relying on a similar tactic in South Dakota, where it’s up with an ad featuring a Republican rancher and father of 12 who says he can’t support Republican Mike Rounds for Senate because of a controversy over his role in a questionable EB-5 visa program. The rancher, Pat Trask, claims to have voted for Reagan and Bush — he doesn’t say which one — as well as South Dakota GOP Sen. John Thune. The ad, running statewide on broadcast and cable networks, is part of a $2.25 million spend in the race by MAYDAY.

Roll Call: Republicans Join Attacks on Big Money | Rules of the Game

Sullivan is one of more than half a dozen Republican congressional candidates who have made assaults on big money in politics an important campaign theme. Until now, the issue was almost exclusively a Democratic talking point.

“They know that the role of money in politics is part and parcel of why Washington isn’t working,” said Donnelly, of the GOP messaging. Donnelly’s Every Voice super PAC, and another even better-funded super PAC dubbed MayDay PAC, are spending their own unrestricted money to back candidates that support campaign restrictions, helping move the issue front and center.

Think Progress: Senate Candidate Slams His Own Party For Attack Ads On His Opponent

The Democratic Senate candidate in South Dakota wants big money out of politics — a goal he has taken to a new level by distancing himself from his own party, which he accuses of inappropriately using campaign money to attack his opponent.

Weiland’s opposition to campaign finance has earned him the support of Larry Lessig’s Mayday PAC which aims to reshape Congress in the 2016 elections and get legislation enacted to reduce the influence of money in elections in early 2017. Weiland acknowledged that taking money from the Super PAC to end all PACs is ironic, but Rounds was unwilling to change the campaign rules. “I’m not going to tie both hands behind my back,” he said.

Miami Herald: Documents suggest Dems scaling back ad plans in SD

Signs of a reduced investment from national Democrats came one day after Weiland held an unusual press conference, attacking the DSCC’s ad campaign in the state. He said the television spots run by the committee have hurt his campaign, tainting him by making look negative. He also said they were designed to boost the prospects of Pressler, not him.

After the event, Mayday PAC, a political action committee, announced it would invest a further $1 million on Weiland’s behalf, bringing that group’s total spending to roughly $2 million in the race. The group criticized the DSCC saying it had not followed through on its commitment to South Dakota and should have invested earlier in the contest.

Argus Leader: National parties cut back South Dakota investment

Weiland isn’t totally out of luck on the financial side. One of the Super PACs supporting him, Mayday PAC announced yesterday that it would increase its buy to “nearly $2 million” to “(pick) up the DSCC’s slack.”

Mayday PAC originally announced it would spend $1 million on Weiland’s behalf, then increased it to $1.25 million, and now nearly $2 million.

MLIVE: Mayday PAC pours $650,000 more into campaign against Congressman Fred Upton, bringing total to $2.15 million

Mayday PAC, a crowd-funded super PAC aiming to end “money’s corrupting influence in politics,” announced Tuesday that it has increased its total effort against Upton, R-St. Joseph, to $2.15 million with the release of a new ad in support of his Democratic opponent Paul Clements.

The ads partly accused Upton of taking more $2.5 million from “big drug, insurance, and related interests — while voting against allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors and in favor of allowing insurance companies to deny care to people with pre-existing conditions.”

Vox: 3 ways this election could transform money in politics

The good news is that there’s more public engagement and, frankly, anger about money in politics than ever before. And we saw some of it in the election: all the Democratic senators running for reelection, and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, focused on reform in their fundraising emails and messages this year.

And yet, for the first time in decades, there is evidence that a substantial number of citizens, too many to ignore, understand and care about the distortion of democracy by money. When citizens across the political spectrum are fully engaged in the issue, there will be an opportunity to move from a bipartisan, elite cause to a grassroots cause that transcends party and ideology.

Harvard Political Review: Campaign Finance after Citizens United

Organizations like Mayday represent a far better investment for unions and other donors than do Democratic Super PACs; funds contributed to Mayday will be used to return political power to voters, which will directly benefit these broad-based groups. Additionally, if unions and small donors pull funding from Democrats and shift it to Mayday, Democrats will be forced to accept campaign finance reform as an integral issue to their platform in order to receive the money they need to win.

Holland Sentinel: Upton, Clements wage TV ad war in 6th District

Both sides, however, are playing out on the airwaves with Clements spending $271,000 on television advertising on top of the $1.2 million SuperPAC MayDay has spent in an attempt to unseat one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress where he is the chairman of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton, meanwhile, has spent $1 million on TV advertising, according to the Washington Post.

The campaign has $127,000 cash on hand, a fraction of the $1.6 million Upton has left over after raising nearly $3 million this election. It’s in the details where the starkest differences between the campaigns come to light. About $2.1 million of Upton’s campaign war chest came from Political Action Committees.

WMUK: Group Asks for Investigation of Upton

The American Democracy Legal Fund claims that the Republican Congressman violated federal law and House rules by improperly threatening retribution against contributors to a super Pac. The Mayday super Pac recently announced that it was spending $1.5-million on ads in the district critical of Upton, who is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Huffington Post reported that a staff member of that committee contacted donors to the fund to express displeasure.

Politico: Buzz: Upton’s Office Denies Calls To CEOs Affiliated With Mayday PAC

House Commerce Chairman Fred Upton’s office flatly denied that the lawmaker or his office had made “angry calls” to Silicon Valley players with ties to the Mayday PAC, which is spending about $1.5 million in Michigan’s 6th District to blast Upton. “I have never called anybody — donors or CEOs affiliated with Mayday PAC,” said Gary Andres, staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement to POLITICO. “It just didn’t happen.”

The debate over the allegations was heating up on Wednesday, as Mayday PAC founder Lawrence Lessig called the reported outreach “outrageous.” He said: “If news reports are true that he’s using paid government staff to intimidate pro-reform donors with business before his committee, that’s beyond outrageous — it would be unethical and possibly illegal.” The American Democracy Legal Fund also asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Upton violated ethics rules based on the report.

TPM: Can Democrats Actually Pull Off Huge Upset Of Top House GOPer?

Since Oct. 9, MayDay PAC – Harvard professor Larry Lessig’s super PAC to outlaw super PACs – has spent $1.2 million on a TV advertising buy and more than $150,000 on direct mailers to attack Upton, according to the group’s filings with the Federal Election Commission.

“If we’re going to reform the way campaigns are funded, we need to stand up to kingpin politicians at the heart of corruption,” Lessig wrote in announcing the group’s entry into the race. “We need to make an example of them to show that we, the people, want our democracy back.”

Fortune: In Washington, It’s Sean Parker versus Sean Parker

On October 9, Mayday announced it was going after Upton for being the “worst of the worst,” exemplifying “money’s corrupting influence in politics,” and it has since dumped nearly $1.5 million into negative ads in the lawmaker’s southwestern Michigan home base. That’s been enough to put a serious scare into Upton, who won his last election with 55 percent of the vote in a swing district that Obama carried in 2008 and lost, narrowly, to Romney in 2012. Last Friday, Upton told the Kalamazoo Gazette editorial board that he’s tracked down Mayday donors.

Bloomberg: With Rounds on Thin Ice, Super-PAC Ups Its Buy in South Dakota

According to Montgomery, in 2010 the retiring Governor Rounds “knew his Cabinet secretary, Richard Benda, was going to work for an investor in the Northern Beef Packers plant about the time he approved Benda’s proposal to give the plant more state aid,” a total $600,000 in loans.

All the fury and Michael Bay-movie explosions around the story are feeding right into the ongoing work of Mayday PAC, the Larry Lessig-founded group that wants to upend the post-Citizens United campaign finance regime and reform politics. It just upped its commitment to South Dakota to $1.4 million.

New Observer: Upton, Clements swap charges on PAC’s ad campaign

Mayday founder Lawrence Lessig told The Associated Press that the PAC seeks to change campaign financing laws so donors can’t buy political influence. He said Upton wasn’t living up to his claims to be a backer of changing the role of private money in politics.

“We’d love to see Fred Upton support that kind of reform,” Lessig said.

National Journal: Is Michigan’s Most Powerful Republican Really in Political Danger?

Clements’s prowess has garnered interest both inside the district and out, but anyone who wasn’t paying attention before certainly raised their eyebrows this month when an outside super PAC announced plans to pump nearly $2 million into efforts to oust Upton. The group, Mayday PAC, aims to target politicians beholden to moneyed interests. On Oct. 9, it named Upton among its handful of targets for the 2014 cycle.

While Upton maintains the super PAC attacks haven’t changed his strategy—or made him any more vulnerable—his opponents see a candidate on the defensive. Mayday’s first ad targeted the incumbent on Medicare drug prices and failing to protect patients with preexisting conditions. Days later, an Upton ad lamented the “lies” opponents were spreading and touting his efforts to help seniors on Medicare and patients with preexisting conditions. It’s an unusual tack for a Republican who has been one of the most outspoken opponents of Obamacare.

Argus Leader: Mayday PAC launches anti-Rounds ad

The spot, airing tomorrow, features “South Dakota voters” criticizing Republican Mike Rounds over his handling of the EB-5 scandal.

Mayday’s ad is the first appearance in the South Dakota Senate campaign of a “negative testimonial” spot, in which ordinary voters rather than a narrator or candidate criticize an opponent.

Business Insider: Some Democrats Think the ‘Warren Wing’ Of The Party Can Save Them From An Election Day Disaster

The two groups are separate entities. PCCC is focused on promoting a progressive political agenda, while MayDay, which was founded by Harvard Law School professor and activist Lawrence Lessig, is dedicated to campaign finance reform. However, MayDay recruited the PCCC’s independent expenditure team to manage several of its efforts this cycle and, in those races, the PAC’s efforts are clearly aiding the “Warren wing” strategy.

CJ Online: Robert’s camp questions credentials of woman appearing in anti-Roberts ad

In a statement, Mayday PAC co-founder Mark McKinnon said Moffitt supports Orman because he is a reformer.

“Pat Roberts is so desperate to distract people from the truth about his record of supporting Wall Street and the special interests that he’s using a false blog post to attack a 76-year-old woman for speaking her mind,” McKinnon said.

TPM: Orman Gets A Big Investment From The Super PAC Opposed To Super PACs

The PAC reported the spending on TV advertising over the weekend to the Federal Election Commission and released a new ad. The buy is the campaign- finance-reform-focused group’s first spending in support of Orman, who has said that he would support a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Bloomberg: Super-PAC Ducks Fight With Darth Vader

Mayday has backed eight candidates – but not Grimes, even though she is running against the chief antagonist of campaign finance reformers, the man they call Darth Vader. McConnell vehemently opposes public financing of elections, tighter limits on contributions and spending and more public disclosure.

Another super-PAC that supports campaign finance reform, Every Voice Action, is spending $1 million to defeat McConnell. But Mayday, which has raised more than $10 million, has sat out the race, even as it squandered almost $2 million supporting Jim Rubens’ long-shot challenge to Scott Brown in New Hampshire’s Republican Senate primary.

Sioux City Journal: Outside spending in South Dakota U.S. Senate race nears $2M

By 4 p.m. Thursday, outside groups had reported spending $462,529.13 so far this election cycle in support of Weiland and $152,285.77 against him, a net result of $310,243.36 in his favor.

Mayday PAC, a so-called Super PAC (political action committee) that wants to end Super PACs, spent $462,529.13 in support of Weiland.

MLIVE: Congressman Fred Upton discusses Mayday PAC, climate change in Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board interview

Upton said in an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board he has talked to some funders of the PAC who contributed six figures to it under the illusion that the PAC would work on eliminating dysfunction in politics.

The national crowd-funded super PAC launched a $1.5 million ad campaign against Upton accusing him of taking $2.5 million from drug and insurance interests during his time in office. A 30-second ad launched on local and cable television stations this month.

The Wall Street Journal: In Fred Upton’s District, Big Money Makes an Appearance

Mr. Upton is generally considered a safe incumbent. But this year he is nonetheless at the center of a new storm. More opposition money is being dumped in his district, which leans Republican, than ever before in his political career, mostly by the SuperPac Mayday.US.

Huffington Post: Silicon Valley CEOs Get A Warm Washington Welcome To Politics

Silicon Valley executives who gave big money to a super PAC have received angry calls from a top aide to one of its targets, as well as calls from the targeted congressman himself, sources familiar with the situation told The Huffington Post.

According to people familiar with the situation, committee staff director and former super lobbyist Gary Andres personally has been calling the CEOs of major Silicon Valley tech companies, hammering them for coming after Upton and spooking Mayday’s donors, who worry their companies will get rougher treatment when and if Upton survives.

KOTA News: Million here, million there - soon it’s real political money

A lot of big bucks are being tossed around the South Dakota U.S. Senate campaign this month. Now, a super PAC plunks down another quarter of a million dollars in an effort to push Democrat Rick Weiland into the lead less than three weeks from the general election.

This comes nine days after MAYDAY.US announced a $1 million campaign to blunt Republican Mike Rounds’ chances of taking over Senator Tim Johnson’s seat Nov. 4.

Michigan Radio: DCCC pulls plug on four Democrats, but there may still be an upset in Kalamazoo

More than a year ago, a man told me I should get to know Paul Clements, who he said was going to beat Congressman Fred Upton in the Sixth Congressional District, which is based in Kalamazoo. I was polite, but didn’t take him seriously.

And last week, a stunning thing happened. Mayday, a crowd-funded political action committee announced it was going to throw a million and half dollars into this race to try to defeat Upton. Suddenly, this may have turned into a contest.

The Hill: Opinion - Markos Moulitsas: So goes South Dakota

It’s no surprise that former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, who won his two gubernatorial contests by massive margins in 2002 and 2006, is flummoxed, as he watches his once-certain bid in his state’s open Senate contest suddenly endangered. Today, Rounds faces a three-way dogfight for a seat Republicans had long ago notched in the “gain” column.

Senate Democrats announced last week they were engaging in the race, reserving $1 million of TV ad time in this dirt-cheap media state. Larry Lessig’s Mayday PAC committed another million. Republicans shrugged off the sudden outside interest, telling the Washington Examiner that their internals continued to give Rounds an 11- to 14-point lead. Then, they proved how not worried they were by announcing a $750,000 ad buy on Monday.

Indian County: National Eyes on South Dakota

One of the ideas Lessig has brought to fruition is Mayday PAC, a crowdsourced SuperPAC dedicated to wiping SuperPACs off the political map by funding candidates pledged to changing the system. Rick Weiland, the Democrat in the South Dakota race, has promised that his first bill will be a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that made corporate people equal to human people in funding elections.

Because campaign finance reform has become a major issue, and because the outcome may determine which party controls the senate, national eyes are on the South Dakota senate race.

MSNBC: Sleepy South Dakota Senate race gets jolt of money and attention

This week, Weiland has also received a $1 million pledge of support from Mayday PAC, an outside SuperPAC devoted to curbing the role of big money in politics.

The infusion of money into such a sparsely populated state could make a real difference, says Patrick Ruffini, a GOP strategist and co-founder of Echelon Insights. In terms of ad buys, “the relative volume is pretty low, which means there’s an opportunity for an outside spender to make an outsized dent in this race,” Ruffini wrote in an email.

MLIVE: National super PAC launches $1.5 million ad campaign against Congressman Fred Upton

“Fred Upton is the worst of the worst when it comes to crony capitalism and this is a great place to show that voters care about the influence of big money in politics,” said Mark McKinnon, former media strategist for George W. Bush and co-founder of the Mayday PAC. “Using the power of crowd-funding, we’re going to give Fred Upton the fight of his political life and send a message to other crooked politicians that no matter how powerful you are or how entrenched you have become, we’re coming after you and we’re going to take our democracy back.”

MLIVE: Democrat Paul Clements talks PAC money, Obamacare and Congressman Fred Upton’s record in Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board interview

“(The Mayday PAC’s) purpose is to remove the influence of big money in politics,” Clements said. “The reason they picked Congressman Upton is because they think he is one of the most – I’ll use their terms – corrupt in Washington in terms of being influenced by big money. They get their money from 60,000 people around the country, and they … think our democracy is going to work better when it’s representing the people just when our votes, when you and I can make a big difference. The more influence big money has, the harder it is for you and I, the voter, and the citizens to influence politics.”

New Republic: The Senate May Be at Stake in South Dakota

“2016 is a contingent function,” says Lessig. “If we’re successful in 2014 … If we’re able to show up with a convincing brief about the effectiveness about this type of intervention, then it’s easier” to raise the hundreds of millions that will be necessary two years from now. For that matter, regardless of what a South Dakota win would mean for Mayday in 2016, it would send a terrifying message to incumbents and establishment candidates in parts of the country no one previously believed were competitive. Politicians would not only have to worry about crossing their powerful donors; they’d suddenly have to worry about crossing the reformers, too.

TPM: Can Dems Pull Another Crazy Senate Coup In South Dakota?

Some recent polling prompted MayDay PAC to get into the South Dakota campaign, its founder, Harvard University professor Lawrence Lessig, told TPM in an email. A Survey USA poll released on Tuesday found Rounds, a former governor who has been dogged by a scandal about alleged corruption involving immigration visas issued during his administration, at 35 percent, Pressler at 32 percent, and Weiland at 28 percent.

Salon: The Midterm Report: A South Dakota Senate upset?

In a new post on the South Dakota race, Nate Silver gives Pressler a slightly better chance at winning than Weiland, noting that Weiland’s support hasn’t cracked 30 percent in three-way polls of the race. (Silver still considers Rounds the favorite.) But Weiland could get a boost from a planned $1 million blitz in support of his campaign from Mayday PAC, the “super PAC to end all super PACs” that’s backing Weiland on account of his support for campaign finance reform.

Kelo: South Dakota Senate Race Gains Interest of Democrats Nationwide

The Mayday PAC stuck $2 million into the race earlier this week, and Wednesday afternoon the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced a $1 million pledge to help Weiland. Both groups will use most of the money on TV advertising.

South Dakota Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff calls it a missing piece of the Weiland campaign puzzle, saying the Sioux Falls businessman has had a near perfect game plan up to this point, but the one thing he has been missing is the money.

Electablog: BREAKING: Crowd-funded SuperPAC to spend $1.5 million to help Paul Clements unseat Fred Upton

This election cycle, MaydayPAC is testing their belief that they can have an impact on electing people into office who will help bring about significant change in election funding by working with just five campaigns, carefully selected to meet a set of criteria outlined HERE. One of those criteria is that the victory would be both surprising, and understood to be tied to this reform.

Toward that effort, MaydayPAC has chosen to spend $1.5 million to help Democrat Paul Clements get elected in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by the ultra-conservative corporatist Fred Upton, the powerful chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and a shill for Big Oil.

The Wall Street Journal: Crowd Funding Lifts Democrat Weiland in South Dakota

MAYDAY.US, co-founded by Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig and Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, said it is spending $1 million on behalf of Democratic candidate Rick Weiland. The money would dwarf the amount either Mr. Weiland or his main rival had in hand as of the middle of the year. By June 30, Mr. Weiland had $447,919 in cash on hand, compared with $754,800 for Republican contender Mike Rounds, the former South Dakota governor.

Washington Post: The ‘super PAC to end all super PAC’s’ to spend $1M for Rick Weiland in South Dakota

Mayday PAC, a group that is trying to curb the influence of money in politics, is launching a $1 million effort to support underdog Democrat Rick Weiland in the South Dakota Senate race with four weeks to go until the midterm elections, the group announced Tuesday morning.

Mayday PAC is kicking off its effort with a new ad touting Weiland as crusader against “big money.”

Vox: Why campaign finance reformers are pouring millions into South Dakota’s Senate race

This week, academic and campaign finance reform activist Larry Lessig announced plans to spend $1 million on a Senate race in South Dakota, to boost the campaign of Democrat Rick Weiland. The investment will likely be met with some skepticism, coming so soon after a failed attempt by Lessig to help a little-known New Hampshire Senate candidate defeat Scott Brown in the GOP primary. And most Democrats have long written off this open seat — the forecasters view Weiland as an overwhelming underdog, and he hasn’t led in a single poll:

But in an interview, Lessig argued to me that Weiland could win, and that his victory would help prove that voters care about reforming corruption in politics. “Our objective is to demonstrate something that people in Washington don’t believe, which is that voters will vote on the basis of this issue,” Lessig says. “To do that, you have to pick races that are difficult, where nobody expects you to win, but where based on our research we think we can win.” Here’s why he and other campaign finance reformers think South Dakota is one of those races.

Bloomberg: The “Super PAC to End Super PACs” Jumps into South Dakota’s Senate Race, the crowd-funded Super PAC launched by Larry Lessig to back “anti-corruption,” and pro-campaign finance reform candidates is beginning a $1 million ad buy in South Dakota’s heretofore sleepy Senate race. It’s on behalf of Rick Weiland, the Democratic candidate and two-time loser of statewide races who, up until now, has been considered an afterthought.

So, why would Mayday walk onto the field? The PAC points to a new Public Policy Polling survey that shows Republican Mike Rounds, a former governor who easily won two terms, slipping to 35 percent support against Weiland’s 28 percent. Weiland’s favorables have surpassed those of Rounds; in a four-way race with former Senator Larry Pressler and conservative Gordon Howie, PPP suggested that Weiland had the most potential to surge.

Argus Leader: PAC to spend $1 million for Rick Weiland, a big-money foe

Rick Weiland’s number one issue as a U.S. Senate candidate is assailing the role of “big money” in politics. He promises his first act in office would be introducing a constitutional amendment to reinstate campaign-finance regulations overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Like the rest of us, South Dakotans are tired of seeing Congress crippled by its dependence on campaign cash and the cronies who supply it,” said Mayday PAC co-founder Mark McKinnon in a news release. “The only way to take our democracy back is to elect reformers like Rick Weiland.”

Huff Post: Unlikely South Dakota Senate Race Attracts Big Money From Campaign Finance Reformers

Mayday PAC, founded by Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, made the investment as Weiland has failed to take advantage of troubles for the frontrunner in the Senate race, former Gov. Mike Rounds (R). Rounds’ poll numbers have dropped as he faces questions about a contract his administration gave to administer a foreign visa program.

The $1 million expenditure is part of planned $2 million campaign by a coalition of groups that includes Mayday, Communications Workers of America, Every Voice Action, Democracy for America and Progressive Campaign Change Committee. The multi-million dollar advertising contribution may have a big impact on a race that has been largely ignored by the two major political parties and major donors.

Argus Leader: New Super PAC backing Weiland tomorrow

A new well-funded “Super PAC” is buying ads to back Democrat Rick Weiland’s campaign.

Local television documents show Mayday PAC will likely run ads across the state starting Tuesday Oct. 6. A purchase form from statewide cable provider Midcontinent Communications shows around $12,000 in ads over the next week. Broadcast stations KELO-TV, KSFY-TV, KDLT-TV and KCLO-TV also have forms online indicating Mayday PAC is purchasing ad time.

Re/Code: Mayday PAC Pledges $1 Million to Help South Dakota Democratic Senate Hopeful

The tech-funded Mayday PAC announced plans Tuesday to spend $1 million to help Rick Weiland, a pro-campaign finance reform Democrat facing an uphill battle to win the Senate seat in South Dakota.

The Weiland race pitting a “reformer against a corrupt politician in South Dakota could determine control of the Senate this year,” said Mark McKinnon, a former media strategist for President George W. Bush and co-founder of Mayday with Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig.

Ozy: Larry Lessig: How to Fix Democracy

The candidates that Americans get to choose from of course have been selected by voters in primaries. But to be able to run in a primary, or in a general election, those candidates must secure an extraordinary amount of campaign cash. The providers of that cash aren’t all of us. And they are certainly not even a representative sample of us. They are instead a tiny, tiny fraction of the 1 percent (arguably the same proportion of America as 1,200 is of Hong Kong), which, as a massive empirical study by Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Ben Page suggests, produces a government that is responsive to the “economic elite and organized business interests,” but not at all to “the preferences of the average American.” We have, like Hong Kong would have, a biased filter at the first stage of our democracy. And that bias produces a government that is not responsive to us.

The New Yorker: Embrace the Irony

As all of us look back at that history, we wonder: How could they have thought like this?” He asked, “Are there things that will make our kids look back on us and say, ‘Seriously?’ . . . How could we believe that the thickness of one’s wallet is the metric of citizenship?” He sketched a dire portrait of American politics. More than ninety-nine per cent of Americans are excluded from the access that large campaign donations afford, he said. And yet people have accepted this state of affairs. He cited a poll in which ninety-six per cent of Americans said they believe that it’s important to reduce the influence of money in politics but only nine per cent believe that it is likely to happen. The Mayday PAC, Lessig said, was intended to elect a Congress that would pass reform and demonstrate to Americans that change was possible. “This is the moral question of our age,” he said. “Can we reclaim our democracy?”

Politico: A Crowd-Funded Experiment In Saving Democracy

Politicians spend somewhere between 30 percent and 70 percent of their time raising money for campaigns, according to “Republic, Lost” by Lawrence Lessig. This doesn’t leave enough time for thinking deeply about the real problems our nation faces: fighting terrorism, creating jobs, educating our children and much more. We won’t make enough progress on major issues until we change the way campaigns are funded. We need to take our democracy back.

Huff Post: We Should Be Protesting, Too

The pattern has been common in America’s democracy too. Across the Old South, the Democratic Primary was limited to “whites only.” That bias produced a democracy responsive to whites – only. The battle for equal rights was a fight to remove that illegitimate bias, and give African Americans an equal say in their government.

Today there’s no “white primary.” Today, there’s a “green primary.” To run in any election, primary or general, candidates must raise extraordinary sums, privately. Yet they raise that money not from all of us. They raise it from a tiny, tiny few. In the last non-presidential election, only about .05 percent of America gave the maximum contribution to even one congressional candidate in either the primary or general election; .01 percent gave $10,000 or more; and in 2012, 132 Americans gave 60 percent of the superPAC money spent. This is the biased filter in the first stage of our American democracy.

Time: Larry Lessig Compares America’s Democracy to Hong Kong’s

American democracy is controlled by a tiny minority of moneyed funders, Lessig believes, much as New York politics were controlled by political bosses during the 19th century. He likened Super PACs’ impact on Congress to that of Boss Tweed, the nineteenth-century New York senator who said he doesn’t “care who does the electing as long as I get to do the nominating.”

The Hill: ‘Star Trek,’‘Seinfeld’ stars join with anti-super-PAC super-PAC

Two TV stars — “Star Trek’s” George Takei and “Seinfeld’s” Jason Alexander — are joining forces with a crowd-funded super-PAC that aims to “end all super-PACs.”

The pair is among the celeb judges of a video ad contest being held by the Mayday PAC. The contest calls on participants to create 30-second ads about campaign finance reform that could air on national TV.

Grist: How should funders and foundations deal with polarization?

The second option for institutional philanthropy is to fund efforts to de-polarize the system through procedural reforms — “open primaries, nonpartisan redistricting, changes to Senate filibuster rules, campaign finance reform,” and the like. This kind of thing has always had a strong pull among the intelligentsia; every generation produces another wave of good-government types, “goo-goos” in the lingo, trying to fix the system. You can see Lawrence Lessig gaining some traction going after money in politics.

Chicago Talks: Progressive Media Makers Help Take Money Out of Politics

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Make a 30-second ad to wake up America to the crisis of big money in our politics.

Inspired by MoveOn’s “Bush in 30 seconds” video ad contest from a decade ago, we’re asking citizens to create 30-second video ads that could be aired on national TV. Our all-star panel of judges – George Takei, Jason Alexander, Shepard Fairey, Zephyr Teachout, Marianne Williamson, Baratunde Thurston, Anna Galland and Cenk Uygur – will review the top entries and select the winners.

Bill Moyers: Record for Midterm Dark Money Already Broken - and a New Anti-Super PAC

In 2009 and 2010, the Supreme Court used a series of cases — Emily’s List v. FEC, Speech Now v. FEC and Citizens United v. FEC — to effectively gut most limits on “independent expenditures” in elections. And a flood of dark money followed. As Harvard law scholar Lawrence Lessig told back in April, “if money always finds its way in, we wouldn’t have seen that. The rules changed and the amount of money and the size of the influence of large contributors went up dramatically.”

Times-Call: Brian Litwin: Stop the D.C. - private sector revolving door

But not all is lost. New York’s most recent gubernatorial race saw Zephyr Teachout win more than half of all counties in New York, strictly running on a platform of removing money from politics (though Andrew Cuomo still won). Lawrence Lessig runs the May-Day Super Pac, which is designed as the Super Pac to end all Super Pacs by financially supporting candidates who want to remove money from politics. The best news of all is that this is a bipartisan issue. According to a recent poll by the Global Strategy Group, 90 percent of Americans believe it is important to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Washington Post: Inside the bizarro super PAC that hates super PACs

This is the thing about Mayday, as Harvard law Prof. Lawrence Lessig, one of the co-founders of the group, explained to the Post by phone: 2014 is, for them, the equivalent of poking an anthill with a stick to see what happens. Granted, they’ve got better analytical tools than sticks, and they’re being more thoughtful about what gets poked, but the analogy is generally accurate. By investing in a variety of races in 2014, Mayday hopes to learn if voters are sufficiently receptive to a campaign finance reform message to justify a bigger and better-funded push in 2016.

“The interventions that we’re picking, we’re kind of picking to fill out the various corners of the data matrix,” Lessig told us, calling the New Hampshire results “pretty interesting and confirming.” You see a 27 point loss. Lessig sees more numbers in the matrix. Ants running in a particular direction.

Tech President: First POST: The Lessig of Two Evils

On the plus side, Lessig argues that the money MayDay spent in New Hampshire backing longshot Jim Rubens against frontrunner Scott Brown (which Slate reported at a whopping $1.6 million and Re/Code put at a still substantial $600K) had an impact in raising attention to the issue of money in politics. He writes that 37% of primary voters surveyed said “reducing the corrupting influence of politics [sic] was a major or deciding factor in their vote for Senate.” (I think Lessig means reducing the influence of private money in politics, but does no one proofread his emails for him?) That said, a large chunk of that group apparently gave their votes to Brown (or, as Lessig put it “among that 37%, our candidate beat the Republican nominee by 18 points!”) which shows just how hard it is to impact voters’ opinions in a meaningful way.

Concord Monitor: Mayday PAC’s campaign finance reform goal: End big money with money

This is just the beginning of Mayday’s involvement in New Hampshire. Lessig and the PAC are targeting the first-in-the-nation primary state to be the catalyst of campaign finance reform for the entire nation.

“It’s such conventional wisdom the world doesn’t care about this issue. We want to make it so it’s not,” said Lessig, a Harvard Law professor and activist. “We think it’s essential New Hampshire lead.”

National Journal: The Future of Campaign Finance Reform May Rest With Silicon Valley

Wozniak represents a growing tide of Silicon Valley leaders who have been applying their vast resources and network of followers to promote campaign finance reform. Other prominent Mayday supporters include PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, and Union Square Ventures’ cofounder Fred Wilson.

“Silicon Valley is an incredible resource for this movement because it’s got both the means and the motive,” Lawrence Lessig, MaydayPAC cofounder and Harvard law professor, told National Journal.

Huffpost: Sulu Hears Mayday, Tweets Call to Battlestations, Saves World

Our story begins with a super PAC gone rogue. A super political action committee to literally end all super PACs. Mayday super PAC, started by Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, has the goal of electing candidates to push for public funding of elections in order to end the corrupting influence of big money in American politics.

Their goal was to raise $5 mil by July 4. If they didn’t do that they were going to return all the money they raised back to the donors. By 10 a.m. on July 4 they were still more than a million dollars away! Then out of no where they got a notification that George Takei (aka Sulu) was going to tweet about the Mayday PAC. Lessig believes that Tweet was worth about $750,000.

It started Sunday, when New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown threatened to sue Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig after a outside group he runs called him a “lobbyist” in a campaign mailer, despite the fact that Brown has never registered as a lobbyist. “If you fail to immediately cease the mailer in question, we are leaving all our legal options on the table,” wrote Colin Reed, the campaign manager of New Hampshire for Scott Brown.

Lessig has defended his mailer by saying that the legal definition of “lobbyist” under Senate rules was not the one he referenced in the mailer. “According to the Senate, Scott Brown isn’t a ‘lobbyist,’” Lessig wrote in a blog post after receiving the legal threat from Brown’s campaign. “But I submit to anyone else in the world, a former Senator joining a ‘law and lobbying firm’ to help with Wall St’s ‘business and governmental affairs’ is to make him a lobbyist.”

Bloomberg Businessweek: A Harvard Professor Learns a Little Money Isn’t Enough to Beat Big Money

Earlier this year, Lessig announced the creation of MayDay, a super PAC that would take advantage of newly loosened campaign finance laws to spend lots of money supporting candidates who commit to tightening those same campaign finance laws. The big bet was New Hampshire, where MayDay spent $1.6 million supporting long-shot candidate Jim Rubens in the state’s Republican Senate primary.

The result: Rubens was pummeled by his opponent Brown, losing by 27 percentage points. “We lost. Badly.” Lessig wrote in an apologetic note on his Tumblr feed. “There’s no spinning this.”

Re/Code: Tech-Funded Mayday PAC’s Candidate Loses Big in New Hampshire

Mayday PAC, a campaign finance reform group funded by several high-profile techies, suffered a major loss Tuesday night, when the group’s $600,000 bet on an underdog Republican candidate in New Hampshire went sour.

Tech Dirt: Upstart, Anti-Corruption Campaigns In NY, NH Don’t Win, But Do Show Growing Anger Over Political Corruption

Early on, Rubens was basically a complete nobody. While he’d been in NH politics in the past, he hadn’t actually occupied a political office since the 1990s. He was basically roadkill for the political machine of Scott Brown. However Larry Lessig’s Mayday PAC noted that Rubens was the only Republican candidate running on an anti-corruption platform to limit the influence of money in politics. Mayday PAC spent heavily on campaign ads for Rubens, and he ended up getting around 24% of the vote, with Brown pulling in less than 50%.

The Nation: How Zephyr Teachout Taught Democrats a Lesson in Democracy

No, Teachout didn’t beat the incumbent governor with the $35 million war chest, but she took nearly 35 percent of the vote Tuesday night, enough to leave a sizable gash in his left flank and do some permanent damage to his hopes of running for national office one day.

As Harvard law professor, activist and Teachout supporter Larry Lessig pointed out, over the course of the campaign Cuomo recalled no one so much as Richard Nixon: hunkered down, refusing to debate, dodging public appearances, an ethics scandal hovering over his office.

Washington Free Beacon: Campaign Finance Reformers Admit Crushing Defeat in New Hampshire

Rubens’ poor showing was a black eye for Harvard University professor Larry Lessig and his Super PAC, called Mayday. The group backed Rubens with more than $1.6 million in independent expenditures.

“Our first poll found our candidate with 9 percent of the vote,” Lessig explained. “I knew we had to take on some unwinnable races—and win them. But by failing now, we have made the others harder. I should have accepted the advice not to take on that risk.”

The Daily Beast: The New War on Big Money in Politics

If the Democracy for All amendment has a chance to become the 28th amendment, there will have to be a lot more grassroots activity, the equivalent perhaps of a prairie fire sweeping the nation. A growing number of activists are working to make that happen. The pro-reform Mayday PAC, founded by former Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, is targeting five to eight races this election. And after gleaning the data from those races, they “plan to scale up and go big in 2016,” says McKinnon. Asked what he thinks of the constitutional amendment, he replied via email, “I think we have to battle this issue on every single front every single day.”

Yahoo News: In New Hampshire, quixotic super PAC shaking up Republican primary

But when a quixotic, out-of-state super PAC with a million-plus bucks to burn suddenly backs you, the atmospherics change.

“I would not have a chance without the super PAC,” Rubens acknowledged. “Now I do.”

“This is exactly why we’re in there — to effect change and change how he’s doing,” said Larry Lessig, the Harvard Law School professor who founded Mayday PAC: “We’re optimistic we’re going to be effective.”

Washington Post: Scott Brown wants us to discuss whether or not he was a lobbyist. So we did.

There is a super PAC called Mayday PAC, which has the paradoxical goal of rooting out big money from our political system. To that end, the PAC has endorsed the long-shot candidacy of Jim Rubens, Brown’s opponent who has pledged to back campaign finance reform. Rubens is touted on Mayday mail pieces as a “small business owner and entrepreneur.” Brown is described as “Former Washington lobbyist and Massachusetts senator.”

That’s the ill-advised fight Brown decided to pick. His campaign manager, Colin Reed, sent a letter to Mayday PAC’s Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard. “Scott Brown is not nor has he ever been a lobbyist. Ever,” Reed writes. “We call on you to immediately cease and desist with the mailer in question, and to use one of your various media appearances as a purported authority on ethics to retract your falsehood.”

Slate: A Few Minutes With Scott Brown’s Primary Opponent, As Brown Tries to Stop the Super PAC Supporting Him

Yes, according to the Senate, Scott Brown isn’t a “lobbyist.” But I submit to anyone else in the world, a former Senator joining a “law and lobbying firm” to help with Wall St’s “business and governmental affairs” is to make him a lobbyist. Because to anyone else in the world, when you sell your influence to affect “business and governmental affairs,” you are a lobbyist. By contrast, Jim Rubens has promised not to be a “lobbyist” after he leaves government (if indeed he is elected). I take it, by that, Mr. Rubens means he would not accept a position like Scott Brown did either.

Time: Scott Brown Threatens Lawsuit Over Being Called a ‘Washington Lobbyist’

At issue is the federal government’s definition of the word “lobbyist” versus the popular one, i.e. “one who influences government official’s decisions.” The federal government considers only individuals who lobby 20 percent or more of his or her professional time serving a client as a “lobbyist.” In 2013, Nixon Peabody law firm hired Brown to advise in business and governmental affairs matters, focusing on the financial services and commercial real estate industries.

Lessig responded to the letter quoting the words of Clint Eastwood’s character “Dirty Harry” Callahan — “Go ahead; Make my day” — and offered to openly debate whether Brown was a “lobbyist.” Lessig also asked Brown if it was better to call Brown a former Massachusetts senator “who sold his influence to a DC lobbying firm.”

Tech Dirt: Former Senator Scott Brown’s Staff Sends Larry Lessig A Letter Demanding He Stop Referring To Brown As A ‘Lobbyist’

Larry Lessig’s new SuperPAC must be making a few people in Washington nervous. That’s the only thing that could explain former Sen. Scott Brown’s office sending a little hate mail demanding an apology for calling the former politician a “lobbyist.”

As Lessig points out, Brown not being a lobbyist largely depends on what a normal person would think a lobbyist is. He quotes The Hill, which details Brown’s post-Senate employment.

“Brown has joined Nixon Peabody, a law and lobby firm, as counsel in the firm’s Boston office. The Massachusetts Republican, also a former state senator, will concentrate his practice on “business and governmental affairs as they relate to the financial services industry as well as on commercial real estate matters,” according to the firm.

Concord Monitor: MayDay, Stark360 form unlikely partnership to back Rubens

What do a Harvard professor who wants to get big money out of politics and a New Hampshire super PAC that backs some of the state’s most conservative candidates have in common?

They really don’t like Scott Brown, and they’ve formed a partnership aimed at defeating him in today’s primary election. Instead, they’re both backing Jim Rubens, albeit for very different reasons.

“We literally are only collaborating on this particular area of overlapping interest, which is Scott Brown and Jim Rubens,” Stark360 Chairman Aaron Day said. “While we may not agree with where (MayDay) is on campaign finance, we agree that cronyism and corruption is a problem that, frankly, people of all political views are deeply concerned about.”

LA Times: Heated primary races Tuesday in New Hampshire and New York

But one of his GOP opponents, former state Sen. Jim Rubens, received a last-minute boost from the MAYDAY super PAC—the super PAC whose goal is to lessen the influence of super PACs. And Brown’s opponents, including Shaheen, have attacked him relentlessly as an outsider who is too close to Wall Street interests.

Over the weekend, Brown threatened to sue the super PAC over a mailer that claimed he was a lobbyist. In a letter to Harvard professor Larry Lessig, the founder of the group, Brown’s campaign manager said that Brown had never been a lobbyist. In 2013, he worked as a business and governmental affairs advisor at the Nixon Peabody law firm, but did not register as a lobbyist.

Associated Press: Brown tells group to stop false mailer

Mayday PAC spokeswoman Allison Bryan said Brown was a lobbyist in practice, if not in name.

‘‘For most people, common sense dictates that a former senator who joins a lobbying firm and sells his relationships in order to affect business and government is a lobbyist. We’re not talking about legal definitions,’’ she said.

VOX: Scott Brown: I’m not a lobbyist. Larry Lessig: Yes, you are.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has attempted to revive his political career by running for Senate in New Hampshire.

Lessig writes: “Yes, according to the Senate, Scott Brown isn’t a “lobbyist.” But I submit to anyone else in the world, a former Senator joining a “law and lobbying firm” to help with Wall St’s “business and governmental affairs” is to make him a lobbyist.”

The Daily Caller: Scott Brown Campaign Issues ‘Cease And Desist’ Letter To Harvard Prof

In the letter, Reed demands that Lessig retract the claim and writes he is leaving all legal options on the table.

In a telephone interview, Lessig acknowledged that Brown hadn’t been a registered federal lobbyist, but he said the PAC was not going to be controlled by Congress’s definition of lobbyist.

Boston Globe: Scott Brown objects to mailer calling him a ‘former Washington lobbyist’

“Your actions are not clever, Professor Lessig; they are dishonest,” Reed writes.

In a telephone interview, Lessig acknowledged that Brown hadn’t been a registered federal lobbyist, but he said the PAC was not going to be controlled by Congress’s definition of lobbyist.

Concord Patch: Brown vs. MayDay PAC, Who’s Partying Where on Tuesday; Plus, Gordon Humphrey hits the airwaves for Rubens.

Former Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who previously held the seat and is backing Rubens, also cut an ad urging Republican primary voters to back the former state Senator calling him, “real,” and adding that Massachusetts didn’t need a third Senator.

Scott Brown’s campaign manager Colin Reed sent a cease and desist letter this morning to Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig of MayDay

NH Union Leader: Brown demands PAC cease ‘lobbyist’ claim

Lessig, on his Tumblr account, responded with a quote from Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry”: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Brown, a lawyer, went to work for the law firm of Nixon Peabody after losing his U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.

NH Union Leader: Dan Tuohy’s Granite Status: Mr. Sulu gives Jim Rubens a plug

“The Mayday PAC was funded in large part by fans here who, like me, want to stand up to big money in politics–by fighting fire with fire,” Takei begins his post to his more than 7.6 million Facebook followers.

Takei’s status update includes a photo of Rubens (which, by the way, is a Union Leader file photo by correspondent Meghan Pierce), and it shares a link to the Mayday PAC

BoingBoing: Mayday anti-super-PAC backs anti-corruption senate candidate in NH GOP primary

Mayday PAC founder Prof. Lawrence Lessig defended his PAC’s payment to a New Hampshire group with links to the Free State Project.

Miscellany Blue: Mayday PAC faces backlash over payment to Free Stater group, Lessig defends action

Lawrence Lessig’s anti-corruption Mayday PAC has just launched an online tool where supporters of campaign finance reform across the nation can call voters on the phone and urge them to come to the polls and vote for reform. Its first test is this Tuesday, September 9th.

“Am I accused of working w/ people I disagree w/ on an issue we agree on?” Lessig asked. “Guilty. That’s the premise of democracy.”

Crowdfund Insider: Mayday PAC Aids Rubens Senate Campaign, Polls Show Candidate Closing Gap

The final weeks of the New Hampshire Senate campaign show a rapid improvement in voter interest to support Rubens.

The bi-partisan movement was the genesis of ongoing frustration with the broken political system where politicians are elected but do little to move the country forward.

Southern Studies: How can we curb Big Money’s corrupting influence?

Election Day 2014 is more than eight weeks away, but one winner is already clear: Big Money

There’s another reform approach that’s gaining steam: Using money to change the money-drenched political system. The most visible of these efforts is Mayday PAC,

Talking Points Memo: The Price Tag For The Super PAC That Wants To Kill Super PACs: $700M

Their stated goal is by 2017 to have a Congress that would introduce fundamental reform, defined as some kind of publicly financed campaign system.

The plan, which has drawn plenty of skeptics, even sympathetic ones, starts with a pilot program in 2014. They have selected eight candidates who they want to elect this fall

Politico Magazine: The Politico 50

Lessig has set aside his life’s work to tackle the political problem he believes is at the heart of all others: the outsized role of money in campaigns.

After courting Silicon Valley tech moguls to match funds raised by small donors, Lessig announced on July 4 that his group was on its way to spending $12 million this year’s midterms.

Daily Kos: Mayday PAC moves the needle: Campaign spending update for week of 9/3

Lawrence Lessig, let it be known that between online grassroots donations and matching funds from its megadonors Mayday would be a $12 million force in the 2014 cycle.

Five million bucks split five ways is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but it’s hardly the kind of spending that will enable Mayday to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Koch brothers, or even lesser lights among current SuperPACs

The Hill: Sen. Coburn: Let’s change Constitution

Sen. Tom Coburn is pushing for a national convention to amend the Constitution.

“If the convention is set up in a partisan way, you can be certain that whatever the convention does will fail because it takes 38 states to ratify any amendment,” said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School and a self-described Democrat who supports holding a convention to reform the Constitution.

Daily Kos: What’s Eating Lawrence Lessig? Mayday PAC’s early reviews are in, and they’re not good.

It’s this: objective data are beginning to accumulate suggesting that Mayday PAC’s experiment in electoral intervention isn’t going well at all. I line out those data below the fold.

So much for Mayday’s thesis that Mayday PAC, with its puny $7 million, can seduce avaricious Republicans away from the seductive charms of the likes of the Kochs’ Big Dark Money.

Republican National Lawyers Association: Larry Lessig and the limits of progressive reasoning

Mr. Lessig, through his Mayday PAC, is on a quixotic crusade to end corruptible government through changes in the federal campaign finance system.

Mr. Lessig forecasts his exploits this cycle as a primer for an expansive 2016 program. His success may depend on his ability to reason beyond well-worn argument strategies, which only sustain the progressive echo chamber.

The Fix, Washington Post: People hate politics. So why is nobody talking about campaign finance reform?

Even as Americans profess an increasing amount of unhappiness with Congress and the political system, almost nobody is talking about campaign finance reform.

Some candidates think their constituents don’t really care about campaign finance reform – something polls back up. Others might think that it’s hopeless to even entertain the idea of fixing it. Most of them, however, have probably grown to like the current state of money in politics, or are at least able to deal with the current regime. Lawrence Lessig’s Lesson to Louisiana: Broadband, Bobby Jindal, Corruption, Campaign Finance, and a Revolution

I encourage you to watch Professor Lessig’s recent speech on this issue at TED, which was very similar to what we heard in Lafayette.

Lessig never mentioned this, but I encourage those in Louisiana to think about it: Where did the higher-ed money go? And the health care money? Medicaid Expansion? What about the broadband money?

Crowdfund Insider: Mayday PAC Helps Candidate Win Primary in Arizona

Mayday stated that, “by supporting Ruben Gallego, voters made it clear that they want to fundamentally change the way elections are funded.

Mayday PACMayday was founded with the recognition that 95% of US citizens believe it is important to reduce the influence of money in the political system. Politicians spend an estimated 70% of their time raising funds the other 30% of their time – no quite one knows.

Concord Monitor: Editorial - GOP should Choose Rubens for Senate

Scott Brown may be dominating the headlines and the airwaves in the GOP’s quest to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. But Jim Rubens is the candidate who offers New Hampshire Republicans the clearest view of where he stands and where the party should be going.

The Rubens campaign is also being supported by the bipartisan Mayday PAC, which aims to help elect candidates who are likely to push for campaign finance reform. The rising influence of money in politics has an ever-tightening grip on both parties, and it’s a hopeful sign to have a candidate who is serious about meaningful reform.

Salon: “It shocks people, but it’s important”: Lawrence Lessig on the “radical” shift in American politics

I calculated the number of relevant funders in American politics today; it’s something like 150,000 Americans, which is about the same number of people named Lester in the United States.

When I say this statistic, it sort of shocks people, but it’s important to keep this in mind: When Ronald Reagan ran for reelection, he attended eight fundraisers. When Obama ran for reelection, he attended 228 fundraisers

Re/Code: Tech-Funded PAC’s Race for Legitimacy Runs Through New Hampshire

Jim Rubens is an unlikely political savior, but the tech-funded Mayday PAC is betting the unknown New Hampshire Republican can pull off a miracle.

Mayday’s focus on New Hampshire and Iowa — both states that hold early, influential presidential primaries — is a deliberate attempt to get campaign finance reform on the radar screens of local activists

Vice: Jim Rubens and the Lonely Republican Crusade to Get Money Out Politics

Rubens appears to be bridging the gap between right- and left-wing populism. Last month, Mayday PAC, the “anti-Super PAC Super PAC,” …pledg[ed] to spend upward of $1 million on his primary campaign against Brown.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: ‘Paying it backward’

Lessig said New Hampshire has a “unique opportunity to set the tone and progress” for the 2016 presidential elections. New Hampshire’s Republican primary election is on Sept. 9.

On Saturday, when asked about what New Hampshire can do in the upcoming elections in September and November, Lessig said the public can ask “tough questions” and support candidates who are for reforming the system. If these candidates sweep the elections, Lessig said, that will carry over to the 2016 presidential election. New Hampshire has the first presidential primary in the nation.

Politico Magazine: The PAC to End All PACs Is a Farce

Oddly enough, Gallego’s website does not highlight campaign reform as one of his major issues, although if you stare hard enough you can find a small link to his support for a federal matching-fund program for small donations

Even though Mayday PAC has not yet started advertising on behalf of Shea-Porter, she unquestionably measures up to Lessig’s criteria. Her campaign website, for example, lists “Campaign Finance Reform” as her top issue as she details her backing for measures ranging from full disclosure of Super PAC donors to public financing of campaigns. Lessig inveighs against money in politics at Top 50

There are 144,000 people in the United States named Lester — or .05 percent. That’s also the percentage of affluent Americans who gave the maximum amount allowed to a federal candidate — hence Lesterland equals the American federal election system.

It’s a conceit used by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig in a book, in well-received TED Talks and, this week, in the keynote address at the annual ABiz Top 50 Luncheon held in the Cajundome Convention Center. Lessig’s message: money corrupts the electoral process and it’s past time for regular citizens to reclaim the power. Opinion: Anti-corruption act takes hold in Princeton as MayDay PAC provides hope

With $12 million raised and matched, the MayDay PAC has launched a test this summer to win at least five and, perhaps, as many as eight congressional races in 2014. Its initial goal was five races – two Republican candidates and three Democrats all pledged to reform campaign finance laws.

In Princeton, the council’s resolution calls upon the 12th Congressional District representative and the 16th District state legislators to support and introduce anti-corruption legislation to the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Statehouse, respectively.

SF Gate: Tech mogul tackles ‘dark money’ in political campaigns

Some other tech-inspired reform ideas are catching fire, like one led by longtime Stanford Professor Lawrence Lessig, who is now teaching at Harvard. This year Lessig started the Mayday PAC, which he described as a “citizen-funded, kick-started super PAC to end all super PACs.”

Lessig has talked about reforming the role of money in Congress for nearly a decade - even exploring a Silicon Valley run for the House in 2008. He’s finally got traction with Mayday, raising $7.8 million from more than 55,000 individuals since launching - including an endorsement from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Concord Monitor: Mayday PAC releases satirical ad in support of U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens

The Mayday PAC, a group aiming to get big money out of politics, released its first television ad in support of U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens. And it recruited the satirical candidate “Honest Gil” to do it.

“You see me and my buddy, Scott Brown, we want to take your tax dollars and hand them out to the cronies and lobbyists who bankroll our political campaigns,” Fulbright says. “But this Jim Rubens guy, he wants to stop corruption in Washington. He thinks it’s his job to help the people of New Hampshire.”

Politico: ‘Honest Gil’ this New Hampshire airwaves

Also on the attack: Mayday PAC, a super PAC aimed at ending super PACs and reducing the influence of money in politics. It’s set to start airing a strange TV ad on Friday boosting one of Brown’s longshot GOP opponents, former state senator Jim Rubens, ahead of the Sept. 9 New Hampshire primary.

The PAC, launched by Harvard Law School professor, author, and activist Lawrence Lessig, is supporting both Democratic and Republican candidates this cycle. The group is “working to fundamental change the way elections are funded” said a spokeswoman, Allison Bryan.

Boston Globe: Super PACs take aim at N.H. Senate hopeful Scott Brown

Also on the attack: Mayday PAC, a super PAC aimed at ending super PACs and reducing the influence of money in politics. It’s set to start airing a strange TV ad on Friday boosting one of Brown’s longshot GOP opponents, former state senator Jim Rubens, ahead of the Sept. 9 New Hampshire primary.

The PAC, launched by Harvard Law School professor, author, and activist Lawrence Lessig, is supporting both Democratic and Republican candidates this cycle. The group is “working to fundamental change the way elections are funded” said a spokeswoman, Allison Bryan.

CNN: The ‘Honest Politician’ strikes again

The satirical Senate candidate, who also made an appearance earlier this year in Kentucky, is pretending to run for office under the banner of the anti-corruption group Represent.Us. He will appear in a television ad airing across New Hampshire starting this Friday.

The ads are funded by MayDay PAC, an organization which backs campaign finance reform. Last month, MayDay PAC endorsed former New Hampshire state Sen. Jim Rubens over former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in the state’s upcoming GOP Senate primary.

Valley News Editorial: Fight Money With Money — Rubens Bucks a Political Trend

Mayday is backing Rubens because he supports campaign finance reform. A New York Times story noted that he favors giving voters a $50 tax rebate check every two years to be spent on candidate contributions. He has also called for a searchable database of contributions…

Rubens is correct about the public’s disgust with the money virus that has infected our democracy. The cure won’t be easy, since, as the Times noted, Republican leaders such as Sen. Mitch McConnell and conservative legal scholars “deeply oppose’’ proposals that would restrict money in campaigns, “arguing that they are an infringement on free speech and healthy political competition.”

The Conway Daily Sun: U.S. Senate candidates talk money in politics

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate shared their thoughts on the influence of money in politics with a reporter at the end of last week’s debate in North Conway. asks people to “embrace the irony” in their message. When asked about the race, Lessig said the important question is if a candidate has “committed to fundamental reform.” “Shaheen and Rubens have,” said Lessig. “Brown and Smith have not. That’s why we’ve endorsed Rubens in the GOP primary.”

Think Progress: Can A SuperPAC Really End All SuperPACs?

A 2012 poll found nearly 7 in 10 Americans would prefer that super PACs — political committees that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money for or against federal candidates — were banned entirely.

“To us, we’ll be looking for how we moved the dial between before our intervention and after and whether we can show through the data that a significant proportion of that movement was because of us. We’re creating the conditions to make that possible, by having the right kind of data collected, the right kind of ongoing process to do that,” Lessig observed.

Huffington Post: Money in Politics: Rising in Intensity as a 2014 Election Issue

There is more and more evidence that Democrats and progressives are discovering the power of taking on big money in politics as a central issue in their campaign strategies

These kinds of grassroots videos are the latest sign that candidates all over the country, in red states as well as purple and blue, are taking up the fight against money in politics

National Journal: Why One PAC Is Succeeding at Fighting Money in Politics Where Others Fell Short

Much of the coverage of Mayday PAC treats its core idea as though it is entirely novel. It’s not. Mayday is just one of the latest initiatives to join a burgeoning coalition that is collectively hacking away at what its advocates see as big money’s corrosive effects on democracy.

“I’m fortunately picking this up at a point in time when America is really ripe to do something,” Lessig says. “If I were doing this five years ago, there would be two orders of magnitude difference in the pickup from the very same message. So, yes, I’m doing my part, but I’m doing my part in the middle of a tinderbox. It doesn’t take much to get people going on this.”

WMUR 9 ABC: Mayday PAC endorses Shea-Porter, begins radio ads for Rubens

A new well-funded political action committee that advocates for campaign finance reform has endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s re-election campaign and has begun spending money to back up their endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens.

The endorsement of Shea-Porter may end up being a bigger deal. While Rubens has a lot of ground to make up in his Republican primary, Shea-Porter is in a big fight for re-election.

News Observer: Mayday PAC endorses Rep. Walter Jones

Mayday PAC announced Monday it is endorsing incumbent U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

The PAC considers this year’s efforts part of its test program with the aim of launching a bigger campaign in 2016.

Concord Monitor: Mayday PAC will back Rep. Carol Shea-Porter for her campaign finance reform stance

The Mayday PAC, a super PAC created to get big money out of politics, announced it will jump into a second New Hampshire race. The group said yesterday it will back U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, in her re-election bid against Republican Frank Guinta because she has co-sponsored bills that aim to reform campaign finance practices.

New Hampshire Public Radio: Shea-Porter Gets PAC Money For Opposing PAC Money

A political action committee on a mission to overhaul how campaigns are financed is putting its weight behind first district Democratic Congresswoman, Carol Shea-Porter. Porter is one of 8 candidates to be endorsed by Mayday, which expects to spent $13 million dollars this campaign season.

In The Capital: Mayday PAC Announces Support of 3 Candidates in Fight For Campaign Finance Reform

The Mayday PAC received a lot more media attention than most political action committees when itburst onto the political scene this past spring. Created by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, the PAC was dubbed the “Super PAC to End Super PACs” for its unique goal to fund political candidates who are fighting to reduce to influence of money in politics.

On Monday the Mayday PAC announced three candidates that they feel fit the bill of the campaign finance reformers we’ve all been waiting for.

Reuters: Lawrence Lessig’s Mayday PAC endorses three House candidates

A political action committee, formed this year with the goal of drastically reducing the role of big-money donors in politics, on Monday endorsed three candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives for their views on campaign finance reform.

The group plans to pick three more candidates in the coming weeks to throw its financial clout behind.

Washington Post: A leading ‘anti-super PAC’ just backed three more candidates for Congress

Mayday PAC said it now plans to target eight congressional races in the midterm election. Its initial goal was five races.

Mayday PAC has already raised more $7.8 million, a surprisingly high number. It’s one of several groups that have emerged this year as a force in the campaign finance reform movement.

TIME: The ‘Super PAC to End Super PACs’ Backs 3 New Candidates

Mayday PAC, the political action committee determined to spearhead a revolution in the way elections are funded in America, announces Monday three candidates it’s supporting in 2014, plus the news that the Super PAC will deploy resources in three additional races.

… incumbents Rep. Walter Jones (R—N.C.) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D—N.H.), and Ruben Gallego, a Democrat running for his party’s nomination in Arizona’s 7th congressional district

Sunlight Foundation: Questions remain for Mayday PAC

The group’s founders want to stamp out corruption of the campaign finance system, starting with five races in the midterm elections. The goal is to elect candidates committed to campaign finance reform, regardless of party.

From what we have seen in the group’s FEC report, Mayday has had some success in attracting small dollar contributions. Of the $2,091,015 in itemized contributions it received from April through June, $481,269.88 came from donors who gave less than $1,000 total. An additional $1.2 million came from donors who gave less than $200. None of the itemized money came from other PACs or corporations.

Time: Few Candidates Fear Mayday, The ‘Super PAC to End Super PACs’

The Mayday Super PAC, which is bankrolling pro-campaign finance reform candidates and targeting those it sees as barriers to change, recently gave politicians the chance to “inoculate” themselves from the PAC’s wrath by pledging to support reform. Not many took the medicine.

Just 35 of the roughly 2,500 candidates running for House and Senate seats in 2014 (many of the 2,500 are not serious contenders) made the Mayday PAC pledge to support at least one proposal to substantially change the way campaigns are financed…

Tech Dirt: Another SuperPAC Trying Another Approach To Getting ‘Dark’ Money Out Of Politics

As bad as it is, Lawrence Lessig has no reservations about using a bad, unjust — some say corrupt — campaign finance system to change the way campaigns are funded.

So Mayday is using the rules that allow super PACs to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals and spend it to overtly advocate for or against political candidates, to test its message and strategy in a handful of races this year. Among them is the open seat Iowa 3rd Congressional District race where Mayday is backing Democrat Staci Appel.

Quad City Times: Campaign finance reformers test ‘moonshot strategy’ in Iowa congressional race

As bad as it is, Lawrence Lessig has no reservations about using a bad, unjust — some say corrupt — campaign finance system to change the way campaigns are funded.

So Mayday is using the rules that allow super PACs to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals and spend it to overtly advocate for or against political candidates, to test its message and strategy in a handful of races this year. Among them is the open seat Iowa 3rd Congressional District race where Mayday is backing Democrat Staci Appel.

The Washington Post: Yet another super PAC is using big money to take on big money

Mayday PAC, which was started by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig this spring, has amassed an arsenal of $12 million that it plans to use to bolster five congressional candidates who have committed to backing measures that elevate small donors.

The boomlet in anti-big-money super PACs comes as Democrats have sought to make the influence of wealthy individuals on politics a prominent issue in this year’s elections. While the issue animates the liberal base, it remains to be seen how the new groups will demonstrate their impact amid a deluge of political spending.

All Gov: New Super PAC Spends Big Money to Fight Big Money in Politics

If you can fight fire with fire, as the saying goes, then why not fight big money with big money in the world of elections?

First off, the group is plunking down $4 million to support candidates in New Hampshire and Iowa, where voters tend to like campaigns that are anti-big money.

Yale Alumni Magazine: Lawrence Lessig ’89JD - ‘Embrace the irony’

“Inside-the-Beltway people don’t think this issue matters,” Lawrence Lessig ’89JD tells the New York Times. “We think this issue does matter, and we want to prove it.”

Lessig, a Harvard law professor, is talking about the way big money dominates national politics. His solution: Mayday PAC, “a crowdfunded Super PAC to end all Super PACS.”

The Des Moines Register: How ironic - Mayday PAC wants to end all PACS

Embrace the irony. That’s the slogan of a new super PAC that has budgeted $2 million to spend in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District race. It’s a special-interest organization, but Mayday PAC is not like others lined up to influence voters.

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig co-founded Mayday PAC with Republican strategist Mark McKinnon. Lessig says he’s not bothered by the idea of using super-PAC tactics to fight against a system he considers a menace to American democracy.

The New York Times: Spending Big to Fight Big Donors in Campaigns

For context, for the last year Rubens has only raised $588,000 and loaned his campaign another $500,000. Further, Brown has raised $2.6 million for his campaign though he is expected to raise much more and he has his own Super PACs to help his effort.

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.

Concord Monitor: Mayday PAC backs Rubens in Republican U.S Senate primary

A national PAC aimed at curbing the influence of money in politics announced yesterday it will throw its support behind Jim Rubens in the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate.

“The race is for Scott Brown to lose. We want to make sure this is an issue so there is reason for him to get back on the right side,” Lessig said.

Bloomberg TV (VIDEO): Mayday PAC’s Campaign to Get Money out of Politics

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig discusses money in politics and his crowdfunded PAC’s election strategy. He speaks on ‘Market Makers.”

The Cato Institute: Second Verse, Same as the First

It quoted Lessig saying, “Inside-the-Beltway people don’t think this issue matters, they don’t think voters vote on the basis of this issue, and they advise their politicians not to talk about it.”

…I learned that Lessig’s reform plan is not direct public funding, in which taxpayer money goes from the Treasury to campaigns, but indirect. He would rebate $50 in taxes in the form of a “democracy voucher.” The Super PAC to End Super PACs Gets Started

The Mayday PAC will be backing Democrat Staci Appel in her campaign to win an open US senate seat for Iowa, and Republican Jim Rubens, a former state senator, in his bid to defeat former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary.

Last January, Lessig and others concerned about the influence of money in politics marched across New Hampshire to raise awareness about the issue.

UALR Public Radio: The New SuperPAC That Spends Big So That Others Spend Less

The Mayday PAC’s goal is to take candidates like Rubens - candidates who are behind in the polls or in close races - and make their support for changing campaign finance a central part of the election. The idea is to prove that this is an issue that can change the way people vote.

LESSIG: I’m not promising utopia. I’m not promising fixing politics so people love it or want their children to marry politicians. All I’m addressing is a tiny slice, but I think the critical first slice to solve…

WMUR ABC Local: Jim Rubens has biggest day in his U.S. Senate campaign

Both candidates have passed Mayday PAC’s two-pronged litmus test for support. The informal test requires candidates who might benefit from the super PAC to endorse what Mayday PAC has called “fundamental reform” to campaign finance

“Voters are fed up to their eye teeth with career politicians who go to Washington to collect campaign cash rather than solving the nations’ problems and serving the people they represent,” Rubens said.

The Washington Post: The super PAC to end super PACs leaps into New Hampshire and Iowa

Both candidates have passed Mayday PAC’s two-pronged litmus test for support. The informal test requires candidates who might benefit from the super PAC to endorse what Mayday PAC has called “fundamental reform” to campaign finance

“If a candidate for Congress wants to be inoculated from being on our target list, there is an easy way to do so: get on the right side of reform,” Lessig told supporters in an e-mail Tuesday.

CBS News: Super PAC “to end all super PACs” opposes Scott Brown in New Hampshire

In the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary, the group is supporting state Sen. Jim Rubens over against former Sen. Scott Brown. Brown is most likely to win the primary and challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, one of the founders of Mayday, said in a statement the group chose a Democrat and a Republican to support to send a message.

The Boston Globe: Super PAC to end all super PACs targets New Hampshire Senate race

The New Hampshire US Senate race is one of two in the crosshairs of the super PAC to that hopes to end all super PACs.

The PAC, according to its website, supports Rubens because he supports public financing for elections and an act that would give taxpayers up to $200 vouchers, which would be signed over to the candidate they support.

The Gazette: Super PAC to end super PACs chooses Iowa race

“We started with these two races to be crystal clear — it doesn’t matter who you are, what your party is, or what powerful friends you have,” Lessig said Tuesday morning. “If you are standing in the way of fundamental reform, if you are supporting what has become a fully corrupt system of money in politics, then you should watch your back.”

A fact sheet on each candidate’s record on reform can be found online at

Time: The ‘Super PAC to End All Super PACs’ Is Backing These Candidates

Mayday PAC has said it will support a total of five candidates in this year’s midterms. However, it has left three of the five candidates it will ultimately support unannounced as a “warning shot,” as the group calls it, to other politicians.

Mayday PAC says candidates have until 5 p.m. eastern time on August 5 to meet the group’s requirements or else risk being named a target.

Vox: Larry Lessig backs a long-shot Republican in his campaign to clean up money in politics

Today Lessig announced the first two candidates who will receive support from the Mayday PAC. The choices illustrate just how difficult it is to find credible Republican candidates who will support public financing of elections.

His campaign needs broad bipartisan support if it’s going to overcome the entrenched interests opposing publicly-financed elections. And Rubens may have been the most promising Republican candidate the Mayday PAC could find.

Newsmax: Campaign Finance Reform Groups to ‘Fight Money with Money’

The groups want to create common ground between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans who agree that big money has become a problem in campaigns. Mayday PAC will back candidates of either party that support reducing the influence of major donors.

Mayday and other PACS such as Every Voice— which will work the issue on the state level— is not seeking to restrict spending but rather promoting ways to prompt more small donors to enter the fray and in this way lessen the impact of big contributors.

Daily Kos: Mayday PAC’s first two candidate choices - Does the left hand know what the right hand’s doing?

Mayday PAC, which seeks to reform campaign finance by promoting candidates of either party who will support reform legislation to end the overwhelming influence of PAC money in U.S. elections, is faced with the challenge of walking a tightrope in choosing precisely which candidates it will support in 2014.

In short, with its decision to back Iowa’s Appel, Mayday has given liberals some reason to smile upon it. But then there’s the little matter of Mayday’s other Anointed One, New Hampshire Republican Jim Rubens.

Aljazeera America: Walking for Office - Taking steps (many of them) to counter political cash

“Larry was particularly interesting to me because here I am, a systems guy, and he’s talking about this as a system of legalized corruption,” explained Skarin

…when Lessig announced plans for the first New Hampshire Rebellion walk — 185 miles in two weeks — in January, Skarin signed up

Kelo Radio: Pressler Calls for Campaign Finance Reform

Pressler praised Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig for continuing the fight for campaign reform when many others have just given up or just washed their hands of it.

A second idea that Harvard Professor Lessig has put on the table has been by George W. Bush’s ethics czar, Richard Painter, which would be called the Taxation Only with Representation Act, which would give every voter a $200 voucher to fund small campaigns.

The Guardian: The problem with the Koch brothers isn’t their politics. It’s their copycats

According to Gallup, fully 50% of the country would support a federally funded campaign finance system with no private contributions whatsoever; 79% would vote for a law limiting contributions in some way.

Lawrence Lessig – who launched Mayday Pac to blow up big money in politics by raising big money – just surpassed his initial fundraising goal of $5m by raking in $7.6m in small donations.

Washington Post: Larry Lessig’s super PAC to end super PACs raised $2.5 million in just 2 days. Here’s what comes next.

With more than 50,000 contributors, the average donation works out to about $140. No matter what side you’re on when it comes to campaign finance, this was a triumph of grassroots organizing, with small donations leading the way.

First it has to convince people that campaign finance is an issue worth voting on at all. Then it has to persuade people to vote its way.

Daily Kos: Mayday PAC Speaks: “Nothing guaranteeing [we] will spend the money as we have committed to”

On their face, these are mostly soothingly reassuring answers…But at their heart, these assurances are all of the “oh, you can trust us” variety.

Washington Post: The techies are jumping into the super PAC game … to fight super PACs

Employees of Google donated a total of $131,087 to Mayday… …23 Apple employees gave $11,250 …a dozen people employed by Microsoft gave $3,650 …two Adobe employees gave $1,250

Roll Call Opinion: Reforms May Fade, but Voter Anger Won’t

But the latest campaign finance push, however impractical or constitutionally suspect, has tapped a well of voter anger that politicians ignore at their peril. Public disgust with Congress, which according to Gallup now enjoys a record-low 7 percent approval rating

Some campaign finance experts cast the uphill amendment drive as an ill-advised distraction from more pragmatic changes. Lessig’s Mayday PAC, for one, is focused not on amending the Constitution but on such changes as matching small-dollar donations with public funding

The Daily Beast: George Takei Sets Phasers to Reform

“I’m a person who believes in the ideal of one man, one vote—a true democracy, as opposed to a plutocracy where lobbyists can control the result of an election with their money, so I support campaign finance reform,” he said.

MSNBC: ‘Super PAC to end all super PACs’ rakes in donations

Lessig has stressed that the group is non-partisan, and its rhetoric calls out the corrupting influence of money on both parties. Still, given the difficulty of finding Republicans who are willing to commit to genuine campaign finance reform, it seems likely that Mayday would mostly support Democrats.

Huffington Post: Senate Dems Step Up to Take On Two Outrageous Supreme Court Decisions

In the final hours of the most recent FEC reporting period, 51,533 donations came in to this PAC, totaling over $6.2 million, which has helped Mayday secure a grand total of over $12 million in its coffers.

The Real News (VIDEO): Hedges and Lessig on Money and Politics

Chris Hedges interviews Lawrence Lessig about his plans to break the hold of big money over American elections

Truth Out: Crowdsourcing Our Way Out of the Crisis of Democracy

Have we reached that point? Many think so. A recent poll found 74% of Americans agree the broken political system needs to be fixed first.

Lessig…met the first hurdle this week when he raised $12 million for his ‘PAC to end all PACS.’ Now he has to show the campaign can elect politicians who will effectively confront the problem. The plan is for the tactic to grow in the next election after testing it in 2014.

Tech President: How to Raise $5 Million Online For Campaign Finance Reform: Why Mayday PAC Succeeded

Some classic online fundraising best practices, executed beautifully An outstanding media strategy Thinking really hard, and trying and failing over and over—and then idea meets timing

VOX: Lawrence Lessig and George Takei have a plan to save American politics

But with mere days to go Lessig was millions of dollars short of his goal. Then George Takei got involved.

Lessig, who has far less campaign experience than Rove, needs to win a lot more races while spending a lot less money than American Crossroads. And for his plan to work — for 2014 to be the proof of concept Lessig needs for the massive push he envisions in 2016 — he needs to win those races convincingly.

VOX: 68% of Americans think elections are rigged

A new Rasmussen poll finds that 68 percent of Americans think elections are rigged in favor of incumbents. And they’re basically right.

The term “rigged” might go a tad far. The problem here isn’t fraud. In elections, like in so much else, the scandal is what’s legal.

Center for Research on Globalization: The Illusion of Democracy in America. Rebellion Across the US against “Phony Democracy”

“Eighty-six percent of all voters believe political leaders are more interested in protecting their power than in doing what’s right for the American people.

Eighty-three percent believe the country is run by an alliance of incumbent politicians, media pundits, lobbyists, and other interests for their own gain.

Hundreds marched in the New Hampshire Rebellion organized by Lawrence Lessig. In addition to marches to raise awareness, his approach to getting money out of politics includes raising millions to elect candidates that will work to end the ‘rule of money.’

Seacoast Online: Seacoast Samaritans’ good deeds on display

Thumbs up to the hundreds of concerned citizens who joined the 16-mile New Hampshire Rebellion walk on July 5 from Hampton Beach to Fort Constitution in New Castle.

It was a long walk for a good cause, and your protest against the corrupting influence of unrestrained money in politics was amplified by media outlets nationwide.

Tech President: Lawrence Lessig’s Public Q&A on How His $12 million Super PAC Will Fix Campaign Finance

The candidates selected will need to take a position on hard issues, like the five outlined at, which provide concrete plans to create a small donor system for campaign financing: matching citizen contributions and providing voters with vouchers.

Lessig explained that candidates will be held accountable by committing to co-sponsoring a reform on campaign finance. The reason, said Lessig, is “if you get a majority of members [of Congress] who sponsor a piece of legislation, you have a tool to leverage that legislation on the floor.”

ON the Media (RADIO INTERIVEW): The Super PAC to End Super PACs

The PAC now has 12 million dollars to try to elect a Congress committed to campaign finance reform. Bob speaks to Lessig about Mayday PAC’s next steps.

Daily Kos: Are Mayday PAC’s Online Donors Red, Purple, or Blue?

Long story short: the color of Mayday’s small-online-donor money is distinctly blue. Actually, this may not be too surprising a result (though it’s still worth quantifying): I suspect liberals today tend to feel persecuted by PACs, and probably for good reason, whereas conservatives tend to like rampant big-money-in-politics just fine, thank you very much.

Chicago Tribune: Democracy - No longer for sale?

Money has the potential to commodify everything we value. It eats the human commons. Not only is its heedless pursuit wrecking the planet, it is devouring all that remains of American democracy.

Pushing back against this possibility is MaydayPAC, founded by Harvard Law School professor, author and long-time activist Lawrence Lessig.

Motherboard: Five Candidates the Internet’s Favorite Super PAC Should Spend Its Money On

Mayday PAC explicitly says it wants to select five races that are tight enough so that it can claim that its campaign finance reform agenda made an impact. That’s where things get tricky. For one thing, most Congressional races aren’t even competitive, as Derek Willis notes at The Upshot, and the vast majority of incumbents win reelection. For another, campaign finance reform is not top-of-mind when most voters go to the polls…

Lessig wants to change that.

Sacramento News and Review: Small money strikes back with the 99Rise movement

That’s why the “small money” proposals for public funding of elections put forward by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig are so intriguing. Lessig suggests government-matching funds for candidates who rely on small donors, as well as small individual “vouchers” for voters to give to the candidates of their choice.

The Young Turks (VIDEO): Mayday PAC Scores HUGE Win In Fight For Democracy

The PAC raised $1 million in its first month and reached another $5 million by Friday. A storm of donors posted on social media on the Fourth of July about getting “big money out of politics” and ending political corruption.

La Gaceta: ‘Crowdfunding’ para acabar con la corrupción

Distintas iniciativas de crowdfunding llevan años financiando pequeños proyectos en todo el mundo. Ahora, el micromecenazgo abre las puertas de la financiación colectiva a propuestas que buscan cambiar la sociedad. Mayday PAC es el ejemplo perfecto de este tipo de campañas.

International Business Times: Lawrence Lessig-Backed Super PAC, Mayday.US, Raises $7M, Moves To Next Step

The political action committee raised $1 million in its first month alone, another $5 million by July 4 and inspired donors to join in the social media onslaught by promising to “get big money out of US politics.”

Reader Supported News: The Mayday PAC – the Super PAC to end all Super PACs

The Mayday PAC would emphasize small donors but when multiplied by our numbers (the so-called 99 percent of Americans), our funds could rival the amounts spent by Super-rich big donors (less than 1 percent) who have purchased the government they want.

Upstart: The ‘last’ SuperPAC: Aaron Swartz’s $7.3 million legacy to change U.S. democracy

By its Independence Day deadline, the “SuperPAC intended to end all SuperPACs” destroyed its $5 million goal, to elect politicians committed to overturning laws that allow unlimited campaign contributions.

NPR’s Marketplace (RADIO): Mayday PAC - The end of the Super PAC era?

This past weekend, the Mayday PAC reached its fund raising goal of $5 million. Lessig plans to start the anti-Super PAC campaign for this year’s House of Representative election.

Monadnock Ledger: Another win for our ‘Granny D’

Started in May and June of 2014 as an experiment, the PAC has become a wild success, with fundraising goals — $5 million by July 4th — demolished in startling time.

New York Times, Upshot Blog: Money Is Raised - Now Lessig’s Super PAC Must Win

The “super PAC to end all super PACs” reached its fund-raising goal in just over two months, but now comes the hard part: winning elections.

Washington Post: Meet the anti-super PAC that is raising big bucks on deadline

What do you get when you form a super PAC that opposes the overwhelming power of super PACs in campaigns? You get Mayday PAC

Mayday PAC…surpassed its goal of raising $5 million by July 4. As of Monday afternoon, it said on its Web site that it raised more than $7.3 million.

Daily Dot: Lessig’s Mayday PAC smashes $5M crowdfunding goal

Fighting big money in politics was never going to be cheap. But that hasn’t stopped Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School from fighting fire with fire.

His grassroots Mayday campaign to bankrupt big money in politics has surpassed its $5 million crowdfunding target, and is eyeing a major upheaval in the 2016 congressional elections.

Slate: One Super PAC to End Them All, and Why It Could Beat Scott Brown

Another slogan might be “oh, wow, we’re pulling this off.” I talked to Lessig and McKinnon slightly before they succeeded in hitting their second-round goal of $5 million in donations and pledges.

ABA Journal: Law prof’s super PAC reaches fundraising goal; aim is new campaign-finance system

A super PAC created by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig has reached its $6 million fundraising goal.

Ring of Fire: End-All Super PAC hits fundraising goal, looks to end all Super Pacs

Through a letter on the website, the founder of and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig announced that the Super PAC had reached its goal of $5 million, despite public skepticism that the effort could do so.

Venture Beat: Anti-super PAC fund Mayday PAC hits its $5M crowdfunding goal

With all the excitement (or craziness) happening over the holiday weekend, you may have missed that the “super PAC to end all super PACs” MAYDAY.US successfully hit its $5 million funding goal.

Huffington Post: The Super PAC To End All Super PACs Reaches Major Fundraising Goal

In an Independence Day letter, Harvard professor and founder Lawrence Lessig announced that the super PAC had reached its $5 million grassroots goal with 49,490 supporters.

TIME: ‘PAC to End PACs’ Hits $5 Million Funding Goal

The upstart Mayday PAC that seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics has crossed its fundraising goal of $5 million

Vox: Larry Lessig raised $5 million to reform campaign finance. Now he needs GOP support.

On July 4, Harvard law professor Larry Lessig successfully completed a $5 million crowdsourced fundraising drive for his Mayday PAC to promote public financing of elections.

TechCrunch: Lessig’s Mayday Hits $5M Fundraising Goal To Elect Pro-Campaign Finance Reform Politicians

Lawrence Lessig’s just raised a lot of money…to help get the money out of politics by campaigning to elect five politicians who will enact campaign finance reform.

re/code: Campaign Reform Group Backed By Tech Heavies Hits Fundraising Goal

A political action committee created by Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig to back candidates opposed to cronyism in campaign finance, reached its $5 million crowdfunding goal on the last day of its campaign

Mediaite: Super PAC to Get Rid of Super PACs Raises $5M

Today, reached its second milestone: a crowdfunding campaign raised over $5 million in less than a month.

VentureBeat: Q&A with the Harvard law professor raising millions to end financial political corruption

On the eve of his potential victory, I had some questions about why Lessig thinks he can overturn one of the most pervasive aspects of American democracy.

Inquisitr: George Takei Urges Massive Fan Base To Donate To Mayday PAC

Social media superuser and Star Trek alum George Takei has departed from his usually humorous banter to give fans on Facebook and Twitter an uncharacteristically serious message about politics and democracy.

Washington Post: How to use a super PAC to kill super PACs

Whatever your politics, chances are you’re among the vast majority of Americans who believes there’s too much money in the whole business.

The case for Mayday PAC…is that your preferences inevitably wind up getting distorted by money in ways that ultimately don’t serve your interests

Bloomberg TV (VIDEO): Can Mayday PAC Reduce Money Influence in Politics?

Megan Hughes reports on the Mayday Super PAC launched by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig.

TechCrunch: Lawrence Lessig’s Campaign Reform Push Comes To A Head This Friday

I caught up with Lessig via email to ask him a few questions about the effort, especially in regards to how lowering the influence and heft of money in our politics would impact the technology industry. Lessig’s Real Goal - Change the Entire Constitution

This year, in the name of truly celebrating and preserving our precious democracy, some of the country’s leading minds and celebrities are asking Americans to get excited about campaign finance reform.

According to Lessig, a Harvard Law scholar, our government is broken because of the money in politics and its sources.

The New American: Lessig’s Real Goal - Change the Entire Constitution

Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig has been beating the drums for a Constitution Convention for many years.

Once he succeeds with five new members of Congress, he expects to raise more money to finance more candidates willing to carry out his plan.

Boing Boing (VIDEO): Larry Lessig explains how Mayday.US can win the fight on corruption

Slashdot recorded a must-watch video with Lawrence Lessig about the Mayday.US anti-PAC that is raising money to elect politicians who’ll enact meaningful campaign finance reform.

Tech Dirt: One Last Chance To Join With Thousands Of Others To Help Limit The Influence Of Money In Politics

Okay, we’ve written about Larry Lessig’s Mayday PAC a bunch of times already, including when it launched, when it hit its first target of $1 million

No one knows for sure if Lessig’s plans will have any real impact, but I know of no one who has put as much time, thought and effort into tackling the problem of the corrupting influence of money in politics.

WIRED: Open government is vital, but beware the deep state

Back in January, Lawrence Lessig, a leader of the free-culture movement, spent two weeks marching the length of New Hampshire…trying to spark a national movement

Lessig hoped to galvanise citizens to demand campaign-finance reform, to free our representatives from their dependence on private money to run their campaigns.

Coin Telegraph: How Bitcoin Could Help Stem Political Corruption in the US

But the difference with Mayday PAC is that they are completely crowd-funded and, more importantly, they are now accepting Bitcoin for donations.

Opening up to Bitcoin could prove to be a very smart move, especially if the PAC supports candidates who are in favor of an open internet and privacy

KALW Radio: How can we break the stranglehold of big money in politics?

On today’s Your Call, we’ll rebroadcast a conversation we had with Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig about his mission to get money out of politics.

Reddit: Lawrence Lessig and Jack Abramoff Ask Me Anything

We’re excited to discuss corruption, money, and its effect on the future of politics, technology and the Internet, so… Ask us anything!

VOX (Video): Lawrence Lessig’s Super PAC wants to kill Super PACs

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig believes he’s found a way to fight — and possibly end — superPACs forever. But first, he needs to form a SuperPAC of his own. Lessig talked to Ezra Klein about how big money influences policy, why he launched his own superPAC, and how to make politicians listen — really listen — to ordinary Americans.

Motherboard: How Aaron Swartz Helped Inspire the Super PAC to End All Super PACs

Several years ago, the late internet activist Aaron Swartz had a conversation with one of his mentors, Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, that would change Lessig’s future. At the​ time—2007—​Lessig was one of the nation’s top authorities on internet policy and digital copyright law. But at a tech conference in Germany, Swartz challenged Lessig to reevaluate his life’s mission.

“How do you ever think you’re going to make any progress on these issues so long as there’s this corruption in the way our political system works?” Swartz asked, Lessig recalled in a recent interview with Ben Wikler, a radio host and political activist who worked closely with Swartz.

The Boston Globe: Super PAC aims to end all other super PACs

The mission is simple, if not counterintuitive: Design a super PAC to destroy all super PACs, huge political action committees that allow for unlimited contributions from people, corporations, associations, and unions.

Then, Mayday PAC plans to use the lessons learned to get a large slate of candidates into office in 2016, with the aim of 218 in the House of Representatives and 60 in the Senate.

The New American: Article V Promoter Praises Democratic Leadership in Movement

As recently as March 21, 2014, both Lessig and Meckler spoke at the same event, this time at the Citizen University’s (motto: “Let’s Do Democracy”) Annual National Conference in Seattle; Lessig’s topic was “How to Start a Rebellion,” featuring “bottom up change and passionate cross-partisan political rejuvenation.”

Lessig’s connection with CFA and Mark Meckler is not so much an endorsement for a BBA or limited government as it is an opportunity for Lessig to work alongside conservatives toward the common goal of a constitutional convention., Opinion: Small political donations can have big impact in Super PAC fight

Politics and money always have been cozy together, but in this new unregulated era, the politics of money may well reign over the politics of the many. We face the prospect of government becoming a vehicle of the wealthy donor class. The inequalities of our economy, which we accept as necessary for capitalism, could become the standard of our democracy.

The Mayday PAC ( is a bold new experiment. Launched May 1, the first-round goal was to raise $1 million from ordinary Americans in one month. Nearly 13,000 individuals contributed more than $1 million in 13 days.

Data Center Knowledge: Lessig’s Mayday Super PAC Scales in Google’s Cloud

Both Lifshin and Olds said the Mayday site was saved so quickly by high-caliber engineers who worked for free because many engineers care deeply about open source and support Lessig. The Harvard Law School professor is a well-known political activist who in addition to fighting for campaign finance reform devotes a lot of time to the issues of copyright and net neutrality.

The Super PAC has recently managed to secure support from a number of Silicon Valley heavyweights. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Union Square Ventures managing partner Fred Wilson, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman have all joined the campaign

Deseret News: America’s hidden primary, and what you can do about it

In an unsettling TED talk, Lawrence Lessig informs us that ours is far from the ideal. Of course, we don’t live in a single-party state that filters candidates for mock elections, but we do have a filter; a hidden primary where our influence is anything but equal. And Lessig, a Harvard law professor and former young Republican, explains how it works and what we can do about it.

UPWORTHY: A Hollywood Actor Who’s Had Enough Of Our Broken Government Is Actually Doing Something About It (VIDEO)

Maybe you’re a Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan or maybe not, but what he’s talking about in the video is something the vast majority of Americans desperately want: a government that actually works for the people.

The Good Fight: Lawrence Lessig, Aaron Swartz, and the Super PAC to end Super PACs

What if you’re doing the wrong thing with your life? That’s what a 20-year-old Aaron Swartz asked Lawrence Lessig. In response, Lessig transformed his career, ending the work on Internet law that had made him famous and turning his sights on the impossible-seeming fight against money in politics.

On this wrenching, fascinating episode of The Good Fight, Lessig tells his story, lays out his plan, and explains how Mayday emerged from the desperation Lessig felt after Aaron Swartz’s tragic suicide in 2013.

The Register: Web moguls ask YOU to stump up big money to STOP big money from winning in Washington

In an irony-laden crowdsourcing venture called Mayday, web entrepreneurs including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffmann are hoping to solve the “big money problem” in US politics.

“In 2012, 132 Americans funded 60 per cent of the Super PAC money raised in that election cycle,” Lessig said. “That number will go up in 2014. Imagine it goes up by a factor of 250. Even then, the funders of these Super PACs will represent no more than .01 per cent of America.

TechCrunch: Silicon Valley Moguls Push For Campaign Finance Reform

The industry contributed more than $51.3 million to PACs, parties and candidates, which is not far behind the gas and oil industry’s $56.6 million worth of contributions. Let’s not forget the industry’s role in some major super PACs, such as Mark Zuckerberg’s And Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been making large political donations for years.

If Mayday PAC actually focuses as Lessig says on electing candidates based on their campaign finance platforms, it could create reforms in Washington.

Newsweek: Mayday PAC - The Super PAC Built to Destroy Super PACs

According to Lessig, Silicon Valley is uniquely positioned to change the power of wealth in American politics. Unlike the finance or energy industries, Silicon Valley has yet to mature to the point where it seeks to boost profit through legislative reforms.

In some sense, Mayday’s approach seems paradoxical: taking money from one major industry and pitting it against another (the devil you know, and all that). But as Lessig points out, Mayday isn’t aimed specifically at pro-Silicon Valley legislation, like that pertaining to visas or net neutrality. “That wouldn’t be a very principled or interesting PAC,” he says. “The only thing the Mayday PAC is trying to do is get legislation passed to change the way elections are funded.” Harvard Professor Creates Crowdfunded Super PAC to Destroy Super PACs

According to an interview with VICE, Lessig was one of the people behind the publication of the Congressperson’s daily schedule, which blocked out four hours per day for fundraising. Lessig said, “members of Congress were like, ‘What the hell? Why am I here? I didn’t want to become a telemarkter.’”

In fact, Lessig says this is why the latest Congress has been the most unproductive of our history, because while it is very difficult to pass legislation, it can be very easy to block it. The corruption doesn’t come in these legislators writing bills for their donors – that’s what lobbyists do – it is in their ability to block legislation their donors don’t like.

NBC News: Tech Moguls Raise Cash to Fight Washington’s ‘Big Money Problem’

A group of influential Internet moguls aim to fix what they refer to as the “big money problem” in Washington politics by, well, raising cash. Forming a Super Political Action Committee (PAC) called Mayday, the executives hope to raise $12 million by the midterm elections in November in hopes of supporting candidates who are committed to changing how elections are financed.

Boing Boing: Joseph Gordon-Levitt wants YOU to support Mayday.US and fight Congressional corruption - VIDEO

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has recorded this video message endorsing the MAYDAY.US super PAC, through which Lawrence Lessig and supporters are raising $5 million in small-money donations to elect lawmakers who will promise meaningful reforms of campaign finance law to curtail the undue influence of money on politics.

Talking Points Memo: Launching A Super PAC To Fight Super PACs

The core problem with our democracy today is that we have outsourced the funding of campaigns to the tiniest fraction of the 1 percent. As congressmen spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising campaign cash, they focus their efforts on no more than 150,000 Americans.

The cost of the 2014 pilot was estimated at $12 million. And so on May 1, we launched an experiment to see whether we could raise money through a Kickstarter campaign for at least half. We set an initial goal of $1 million in 30 days. Insiders thought this was impossible, but with the help of 13,000 supporters, with a median contribution of just $50, we crossed the $1 million mark in 13, not 30, days.

CrowdFund Insider: The Woz Lends Voice to Crowdfunding Super Pac Mayday

Cultural icon Steve Wozniak, part of the magic behind the founding of Apple, has spoken up in support of the Mayday PAC founded by Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig.

Lessig and his co-conspirators want to crowdfund their very own, non-partisan Super Pac to fight fire with fire. They already nailed their first goal of raising $1 million and now they want to raise $5 million – by the 4th of July.

Slashdot: Steve Wozniak Endorses Lessig’s Mayday Super PAC - VIDEO

Steve Wozniak, co-found of Apple Computer, has come out to endorse Lawrence Lessig’s MAYDAY PAC in an animated audio recording. Mayday.US, (formerly MayOne.US) is Lessig’s crowd-funded (citizen-funded!), kick-started Super PAC to end all Super PACs. In the video, Wozniak points out that we’re never going to get anywhere on issues important to the Internet community and technology advocates if we don’t fix the root cause of corruption

Truth-Out: 99 Rise on the Move: The Occupation of Sacramento

The 99 Rise California March for Democracy is out to demonstrate that money can be kicked out of politics and ordinary people can make it happen. The march departed Los Angeles on May 17, 2014 and will arrive in the state capital, Sacramento, on June 22 with plans to occupy the Capitol building if their demands are not met. As they march through central California, they combat disempowerment by speaking practically about what can be done to get money out of politics.

99 Rise is working with over 30 different organizations, including Move On, Dream Defenders, Wolf PAC, San Francisco Green Party and several Occupy groups, and has been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, Dolores Huerta and several other individuals.

Valley Wag: Q&A with Larry Lessig on Why You Should Have Faith in Silicon Valley

The story of how a young programmer named Aaron Swartz convinced celebrated academic Lawrence Lessig that no political progress could be made without first reforming campaign finance is now part of Silicon Valley lore. In May, Lessig launched a radical initiative to address the issue: MAYDAY, a SuperPAC that secured funding from two Silicon Valley billionaires in order to curtail the influence of big money.

“It makes me sick to imagine the amount of time [presidential candidates] spend raising money, but the institutional [issue] we have to do something about quite dramatically is Congress. Because Congress is increasingly an institution that spends all of its time in the business of raising money as opposed to the business of trying to figure out what the right thing to do is.”

Policy Innovations: Of Moonshots and Slingshots

Is it still possible for a government to move against the market to favor society? The May Day PAC established by Lawrence Lessig takes the stance that U.S. electoral politics are entirely controlled by corporate interests due to the realities of campaign financing: Politicians who do not attract lavish spending by corporations and wealthy individuals simply cannot succeed under the current rules.

The situation may be considerably more complex than that (the Republican-Democrat split in America is as much cultural as political), but legitimate questions can certainly be asked about the ability of the U.S. government to go against U.S. business interests.

The Atlantic: Campaign-Finance Reform Has to Be Cross-Partisan

The vast majority of Americans—more than 90 percent in recent polls—believe it “important” to “reduce the influence of money in politics.” But is the business model of the reformers actually consistent with winning reform?

This is the fair but hard question raised by the strategy planned by Senate Democrats this summer to force a vote on New Mexico Senator Tom Udall’s proposed constitutional amendment to give Congress the power “to regulate the raising and spending of money” in elections. Forty-three Senate Democrats have cosponsored the resolution. Zero Republicans have. Zero is the same number of Republicans who have joined any of the proposed constitutional amendments now floating about in Congress to, as they are described, “reverse Citizens United.”

Salon: Cronies, corruption and cash: Lawrence Lessig on why we need a super PAC to end all super PACs

This week, Salon called up Lessig in order to discuss some of the details of the Mayday PAC and the vexing problem of money and democracy in America more generally. We also touched on Eric Cantor’s recent shocking defeat and how inequality causes political polarization. Our conversation is below and has been edited for clarity and length.

The aim of the super PAC is to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016. Fundamental reform in the way elections are funded. To do that, we want to run a pilot in 2014 in five districts to demonstrate that this issue matters to voters and to put Congress on notice in 2016 that we’ll be back in a much bigger way.

Huffington Post: How to Tell If Your Member of Congress Is a Crony Capitalist

It’s a big-money game that has made Americans cynical about politics. A 2011 Global Strategy Group poll found that 71 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats believed that “money buys results in Congress.”

Elected officials are so dependent on raising this cash that they have become “shape shifters,” in the words of Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig: “They constantly adjust their views in light of what they know will help them to raise money.”

Daily KOS: Americans Can Do Anything

Amending the Constitution sounds audacious. Particularly when a proposed amendment to guarantee women equal rights failed. But it can be done. It has been done. Recently too.

And more. They’ve even got the backing of some rich people. On May 1, Lawrence Lessig, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center on Ethics at Harvard, launched the Mayday PAC, which is a super PAC to end all super PACs.

Seacoast Online: We voters have more power than we realize

Be encouraged! Even though 96 percent of voters agree that money is a problem in politics (they’re right), 91 percent don’t believe it can be fixed (they’re wrong). We voters have more power than we think we do! On Tuesday, a congressional primary race in Virginia was won by a newcomer to politics who raised just over $200,000 for his campaign. His losing opponent (the incumbent) raised over $5 million.

In his book “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It,” Lawrence Lessig proposes nonpartisan plans to end it. It’s a 300-page book, but let me wet your appetite with one paragraph from page 266. “First, we convert the first $50 dollars that each of us contributes to the Federal Treasury into a voucher. Call it a ‘democracy voucher.’ Each voter is free to allocate his or her democracy voucher as he or she wishes. Maybe $50 to a single candidate. Maybe $25 each to two candidates. Maybe $10 each to five candidates. The only requirement is that the candidate receiving the voucher must opt into the system.

Huffington Post: To End School Shootings, Tackle Government Corruption

But the sad reality is that we’re not going to get more gun control until we’ve fixed a deeper, more pervasive problem: political corruption. I’m not talking about “money exchanged under the table” corruption, but rather what Harvard Professor Larry Lessig terms “dependence corruption” – the totally legal dependence that our elected officials have upon the powerful interests that make (and, crucially, break) their campaigns.

This is the cold, hard reality: Any member of Congress who supports gun control legislation today faces a tidal wave of NRA money aimed squarely at kicking them out of office. In the 2012 federal election cycle, the NRA spent nearly $20 million to defeat politicians – both Democrats and Republicans – who voted in favor of gun regulations, and to elect politicians who championed unfettered access to guns.

Sacramento Bee: Marchers against ‘big money’ politics reach Merced on way to Sacramento

Activists marching from Los Angeles to Sacramento to oppose “big money corruption” in political campaigns reached Merced on Wednesday.

About a dozen people are making the entire march, and they are usually joined by local supporters as they trek north, Newkirk said. The march has also had notable participants like political activist Lawrence Lessig and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta.

Venture Beat: Can crowdfunding end the corrupt influence of money in U.S. politics? $1.5M in donations say yes.

The MAYDAY.US fund is being billed as the “super PAC to end super PACs” because its main purpose is to install only new congressional members that want to get rid of this kind of unchecked spending.

MAYDAY.US raised $1 million in its first two weeks from over 12,800 individual contributors. MAYDAY.US told VentureBeat once this first goal was met, it saw large donations from a handful of influential technology business leaders,

Tech Dirt: Crowdfund Our Way To Reducing The Influence Of Money In Politics

Larry Lessig’s MAYDAY.US. And, yes, we already wrote about this at the beginning of May when the first phase launched, and again when it hit the $1 million goal – and then secured the second million in matching funds. However, the project has now moved into phase two, where the goal is to raise (and match) $5 million, instead of just $1 million. Already it’s around half a million dollars, so there’s a long way to go, but it’s a good start.

And, once again, the goal here is to raise this total of $12 million ($1 million + $1 million match in May, and then $5 million + $5 million match in June) as a test for a much larger effort. I’ve seen too many overly cynical folks say “$12 million isn’t enough to change politics.” And you’re right. But that’s not the goal. This is $12 million to be used in specific races as a proof of concept for a much larger moonshot.

The Boston Globe: Amanda Palmer pledges support for Mayday PAC

Singer Amanda Palmer, who knows a thing or two about raising money, is helping Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig in his bid to create a “super PAC to end all super PACs.” Monday, Palmer, armed with a ukulele, is doing an interactive online conversation/concert on The performance is a benefit for Mayday PAC, a group begun by Lessig and GOP media strategist Mark McKinnon in hopes of raising $12 million that could be used to target candidates opposed to inhibiting the political influence of wealthy donors.

Palmer, who has a wildly devoted following, used the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise $1.2 million to finance her last CD and tour. Mayday PAC already has some deep-pocketed patrons, including TED curator Chris Anderson, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Brad Burnham, managing partner of Union Square Ventures, which has funded the likes of Twitter, Kickstarter, and Tumblr.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Editorial: A ‘Star Wars’ program for super PACs

A Harvard law professor who is pushing a U. S. constitutional convention has told Illinois lawmakers there are built-in protections against extremes. During a committee hearing, State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) asked, “These delegates … can say, we think that the best way to address Citizens United is to get rid of the First Amendment – is that a possibility that can come out of this convention?”

Lawrence Lessig agreed it’s possible, and then posed a question of his own: “Can you imagine 38 states ratifying that? And, I would suggest, it’s impossible to imagine that there wouldn’t be at least 13 of them that would stop that amendment.”

Alton Daily News: Professor Pushes for Constitutional Convention

A Harvard law professor who is pushing a U. S. constitutional convention has told Illinois lawmakers there are built-in protections against extremes. During a committee hearing, State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) asked, “These delegates … can say, we think that the best way to address Citizens United is to get rid of the First Amendment – is that a possibility that can come out of this convention?”

Lawrence Lessig agreed it’s possible, and then posed a question of his own: “Can you imagine 38 states ratifying that? And, I would suggest, it’s impossible to imagine that there wouldn’t be at least 13 of them that would stop that amendment.”

Boing Boing: Jason Alexander endorses the anti-corruption Mayday PAC

Brian says, “Jason Alexander (of stage, screen & Seinfeld) has decided to endorse the Mayday PAC.” Mayday.US is the super PAC that Lawrence Lessig founded to fight campaign finance corruption by raising money to send politicians to Congress if they’ll promise to get the money out of politics.

Gawker: Lawrence Lessig Is Here to Talk About Money, Politics, and Democracy

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.

“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.”

The Daily Beast: Our New SuperPAC Is Going to Change American Politics for $12 Million

“Impossible.” As the Army used to say, “The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer.” And while we’re not opposed to impossible campaigns, we believe it critical that this movement to “restore democracy” also try the merely “difficult.” For long before two-thirds of Congress will propose an amendment to the Constitution and three-quarters of the states will ratify it, Congress could radically change the way campaigns are funded, through a simple majority vote.

This is the hard work that Congress should do. It’s easy to hold hearings on resolutions that everyone knows will fail. It takes leadership to force debate on ideas that no one believes can pass—but must pass. That’s the leadership that Lyndon Johnson demonstrated, both in the Senate in 1957, and as President, when he forced a reluctant South to finally accept equal rights. That’s the leadership that this nation needs again, but that, in the grandstanding of D.C. partisanship, seems truly “impossible.”

CNN: What I’m reading: The core problem with our democracy

“[T]his, we believe, is the core problem with our democracy today: that we have outsourced the funding of campaigns to the tiniest fraction of the 1 percent,” write Lawrence Lessig and Mark McKinnon in the Daily Beast. “As members of Congress spend between 30 percent and 70 percent of their time raising campaign cash, they focus their efforts on no more than 150,000 Americans – 0.05 percent of the population, about the same number who are named Lester. And for SuperPACs, the numbers are even tinier. In the 2012 election cycle, 132 Americans contributed 60 percent of the SuperPAC money spent in all races. Congress has become dependent upon this tiny slice of the 1 percent, but in no conceivable way does this tiny fraction represent America.”

MSNBC: All In With Chris Hayes (VIDEO)

Chris Hayes talks to the man behind a new type of super PAC, one that aims to return some sanity to campaign financing…and maybe just end this whole super PAC thing. The Game is Rigged, Regardless of Who’s in Charge

There’s too much money in politics, right? Lawrence Lessig has a new plan to solve an old problem. He wants to end money’s outsize influence on the political process, which subverts democracy and drowns out the masses to do the bidding of the well-to-do few.

Campaign finance reform comes down to arguing about who gets to decide who gets to be umpire of a game which is, at its core, rigged. And it’s rigged in favor of the rich. Electoral politics is mostly cage matches in the gladiator arena they use to distract us. It’s the circus, and entitlements are the bread.

Concord Monitor: Take the battle against big money to the candidates

Big money flowing into our elections is moving us ever further from Lincoln’s ideal: government of the people, for the people and by the people. This problem is not new, but what had been a tide is becoming a flood. With each campaign, our elected officials grow more dependent on big donations from special interests and less dependent on us, their constituents.

We’ve reached a tipping point for reform. The Great Recession that began in 2007 exposed government and private institutions as deeply flawed and unable to protect ordinary people. The Supreme Court, contrary to common sense and the beliefs of most Americans, has declared that corporations are people and that enormous spending by a billionaire on politics is speech legally equivalent to actual speech by an ordinary citizen.

Lessig and other leaders of this fight acknowledge it is a tough one. But they have reminded me that when millions of Americans across the political spectrum get riled up and demand change, Congress will listen and will act, and in due course, so will the Supreme Court.

Huffington Post Live: VIDEO

Coverage on Professor Lessig’s efforts, starts at 12:00

Sunlight Foundation Blog: National News Section

The Mayday PAC, set up to fight the influence of big money in politics, has raised a lot of money from small donors…but it has also raised more than $1 million (and hopes to raise at least $5 million more) from a few large donors. The large donors, many of them tech entrepreneurs, are matching funds raised in smaller chunks.

Connecticut Post Blog: Super PAC whose mission is to lessen the influence of big money in politics by targeting congressional candidates opposed to campaign finance reform

If successful, Mayday PAC would go from inception to a war chest of over $12 million in just 60 days. That money will then fund campaigns in five congressional districts yet to be announced, targeting candidates that oppose campaign finance reform. It is part of a two election cycle plan to hold candidates accountable to voters on the issue of money in politics and win a Congress committed to enacting campaign finance reform by 2016. If successful in the 2014 cycle, the effort would be expanded for the 2016 elections.

This experimental new effort will show that regular people are deeply motivated to demand changes that loosen the grip of big money on politics and government. People “commit” by pledging a contribution anywhere between $5 and $10,000, and their commitment is collected only if the Mayday PAC reaches its fundraising target by its deadline.

Politico: Mayday PAC secures matching pledges

The PAC raised $1 million in grass-roots donations in its first 13 days in existence and has now set a $5 million target by July 4. If Mayday PAC reaches that goal, Lessig and McKinnon have lined up the support of a handful of wealthy donors — mostly from Silicon Valley — to kick in an additional $5 million in matching funds.

If the renewed push is successful, the PAC would have a $12 million war chest for the 2014 cycle. Though that is a modest sum in the world of big-money politics, the PAC would invest in five targeted congressional races. The campaigns have yet to be announced or determined.

CrowdFund Insider: Super PAC Created to “End All SuperPACs” Launches Phase 2 after Meeting 1st Crowdfunding Goal

If you happen to care about things like non-rich people having a say in who holds federal office, you should really go make your pledge to Mayday right now. But since I suspect most readers are pretty skeptical at this point, let me take you through the completely hard-boiled, non-utopian case for supporting the project, which roughly amounts to the following: Mayday, or something like it, turns out to be our last best hope for reducing the massively outsized influence of the 1 percent over public policy.

I arrive at this conclusion by way of some simple armchair-Marxist analysis, which holds that no significant reform can happen unless some very powerful, very rich interest group decides it has a stake in it. Health care reform had the insurance companies; Wall Street reform had deep-pocketed financial institutions, who saw an opportunity to kneecap their less-regulated competitors.

Washington Post: Tech leaders back super PAC aimed at curbing big money in politics

A group of high-wattage technology entrepreneurs and investors have donated six-figure checks to a super PAC aimed at curtailing the influence of big money in politics, bringing new financial firepower to the fight over election spending.

The New Republic: The One Way to Harness Silicon Valley’s Self-Interest for the Good of the Country

If you happen to care about things like non-rich people having a say in who holds federal office, you should really go make your pledge to Mayday right now. But since I suspect most readers are pretty skeptical at this point, let me take you through the completely hard-boiled, non-utopian case for supporting the project, which roughly amounts to the following: Mayday, or something like it, turns out to be our last best hope for reducing the massively outsized influence of the 1 percent over public policy.

I arrive at this conclusion by way of some simple armchair-Marxist analysis, which holds that no significant reform can happen unless some very powerful, very rich interest group decides it has a stake in it. Health care reform had the insurance companies; Wall Street reform had deep-pocketed financial institutions, who saw an opportunity to kneecap their less-regulated competitors.

PR Newswire: Crowd-Funded Super PAC Created to “End All SuperPACs” Launches Phase 2 after Meeting Initial Fundraising Goal

“The influence of big money over our political process is worse than it’s ever been, and it’s evident from the complete dysfunction in Washington,” said Professor Lawrence Lessig. “Mayday PAC’s success will prove that there are enough people willing to invest in sending Congress the message that it is time for fundamental campaign finance reform.” Mark McKinnon adds, “We want a government that works for all of us, not simply the wealthy who bankroll campaign contributions and Super PACs.”

This experimental new effort will show that regular people are deeply motivated to demand changes that loosen the grip of big money on politics and government. People “commit” by pledging a contribution anywhere between $5 and $10,000, and their commitment is collected only if the Mayday PAC reaches its fundraising target by its deadline.

Huffington Post: Tech Titans From Both Parties Get Behind Super PAC To End All Super PACs

The Mayday PAC, launched on May 1, announced a crowd funding plan to raise $12 million to back supporters of publicly financed elections in 2014. If people help raise $1 million, with contributions of $10,000 or less, in one month, Lessig said wealthy supporters would kick in another $1 million. The group raised its first $1 million by the middle of May.

The big supporters providing the matching $1 million include LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman, venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder and president of Thiel Capital Peter Thiel, TED curator Chris Anderson, Union Square Ventures partners Brad Burnham and Fred Wilson, Women’s Entrepreneurial Festival co-founder Joanne Wilson, and Schooner Capital founder Vin Ryan.

The Atlantic: A Real Step to Fix Democracy

In January, Gallup found that Americans from across the political spectrum picked the failure of “government” as the top problem facing America today. The vast majority link that failure to the influence of money in politics. Yet more than 90 percent of us don’t see how that influence could be reduced. Washington won’t fix itself, so who else could fix it?

It turns out the framers of our Constitution thought about this problem precisely. Two days before the Constitution was complete, they noticed a bug. In the version they were considering, only Congress could propose amendments to the Constitution. That led Virginia’s George Mason to ask, what if Congress itself was the problem?

Fast Company: Want Money Out Of Politics? Put Some Money Into Politics With Lawrence Lessig’s Super PAC

“In 2016, number one, there will be fewer fights that we have to have, because people will get on the right side of this issue just out of fear,” Lessig says. “And number two, we’ll have a whole bunch of people more interested in investing, because they see a potential return here.”

“[Vouchers] would radically change the business model of fundraising overnight,” Lessig says. “You would not have candidates spending their time talking to the tiniest fraction of the 1%. They’d be thinking about the ways to attract a wide range of contributions from everybody who has a voucher.”

LA Times: Harvard professor’s ‘super PAC’ aims to end power of ‘super PACs’

Is it possible to create a “super PAC” that would end the power of super PACs by drawing enough Americans into the system to limit the influence of big money in politics? And is it possible to get voters excited about a subject as dry as campaign finance? Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is leading a crusade to answer both those questions with a yes.

If the Mayday PAC is able to take out five members of Congress this cycle “who are on the wrong side of this issue,” Lessig said, “then when 2016 comes around, magically a whole bunch of members of Congress would be on the right side of this issue, and we would have a narrower range of people that we would have to be going after, and we would have very good data

The Huffington Post: The Super PAC To End All Super PACs Gets Off To A Super Start

WASHINGTON – On May 1, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig launched what he calls a “super PAC to end all super PACs.” Lessig, one of a new breed of campaign finance reformers, wants to change the corrupted system by which politicians now raise money for their campaigns.

The irony is to get money out of politics, reformers must raise money of their own. On that measure, Lessig’s new organization has gotten off to a super start.

Washington Post Opinions: Matt Miller: “A ‘money bomb’ for 2016″

Just when you were fed up with our petty, craven politics and were ready to write off the next few years as a circus of filibusters, gridlock and investigations, comes an idea so simple yet subversive that it offers a glorious ray of hope.

Call it Lawrence Lessig’s “money bomb.” It’s an ingenious plan to make the drive for small-dollar publicly funded elections a central issue in 2016. With a little luck, the Harvard law professor’s idea could help save the republic.

Moyers & Company: “Lawrence Lessig Has a ‘Moonshot’ Plan to Halt Our Slide Toward Plutocracy”

Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig, the crusader for campaign finance reform, feels that his fellow reformers don’t think big or boldly enough to inspire the kind of grassroots campaign that might break elite donors’ stranglehold on America’s political system.

In a recent piece in The Atlantic, Lessig argues that public cynicism about the prospect of deep reform actually working is the only thing keeping widespread outrage at our slide toward plutocracy in check. And he thinks that only a “moonshot” campaign — an ambitious, collective, national effort “unlike anything they’ve seen before” — can “crack this cynicism” and usher in a more democratic system.

Time: Campaign Finance Reformer Launches Super PAC to End Super PACs

Mayday PAC was already 8 percent of the way toward its goal by Thursday afternoon with more than $75,000 pledged and nearly 31 days left to reach its target.

To say Mayday PAC faces an uphill fight is an understatement. Proponents of serious campaign finance reform face strong opponents in both parties, and the Supreme Court and lower courts have issued rulings in recent years striking down or throwing into doubt a wide array of restrictions on political spending.

If the idea behind Mayday PAC sounds absurd, that’s by design. Cynicism and defeatism about government run so deep through American politics, Lessig believes, that the only way to “crack this cynicism” is with an idea so exceedingly ambitious—a “moonshoot,” he calls it—that people might be roused to get behind it.

“We must show Americans something unlike anything they’ve seen before,” Lessig writes.

ThinkProgress: Anti-Dark Money Activist Lawrence Lessig Launches A Super PAC To End Super PACs

Recent studies have found that wealthy Americans’ influence over politics has grown significantly over the past few decades. Just a few hours after the launch, the Super PAC had raised nearly $50,000 — 5 percent of its $1 million goal.

PolicyMic: There’s a New “Super PAC to End All Super PACs” — And It Could Radically Change Politics

So far, it’s working. In just a few days, with hardly any publicity, they’ve managed to raise over $350,000 dollars with a short-term goal of $1 million.

MSNBC: Ronan Farrow Daily, 5/06/2014


Upworthy: A Brilliant Plan To Give Billionaires Who Try To Buy U.S. Elections A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

How bad has the money-in-politics situation gotten? A new study by researchers at Princeton and Northwestern universities found that, and I’m quoting directly here: “When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

Huffington Post: A Brilliant Plan To Give Billionaires Who Try To Buy U.S. Elections A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

WGBH News/Greater Boston: Lawrence Lessig’s New Approach to Campaign Finance Reform