How Crowdfunded Donations Could Overthrow Big Money In American Politics
Creative Commons co-founder takes on Super PACS with small donations.
In an attempt to try and stop Super PACS, tax-exempt groups that conceal their donor lists and legally launder huge amounts of money to influence political campaigns, Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig wants to create a crowdfunded SuperPAC that will put a stop to corruption in politics. MayOne has already raised more than 50% of its $1 million goal, and could stand a real chance of creating fundamental reform in Congress by 2016.
In the same way that Kickstarter relies on the masses to fund unique and interesting projects, MayOne relies on small donations from countless individuals across the country. The idea is in complete contrast to the original Super PACs which rely on million dollar donations from some of the country’s most affluent.
As stated on their website:
As we see it, the critical problem in American politics today is that a tiny fraction of Americans are the effective, or relevant, funders of congressional campaigns. We want to spread that influence out, to include the widest number of citizens as the effective funders of campaigns.
Mayday’s first goal is to raise $1 million in small donations over the course of a month. If they meet that goal, Lessig Once will go out and secure donors willing to match the original $1 million. From there, MayOne will collect the funds and start putting them to use, before setting another $5 million target, which will once again be matched if the target is met.
The long-term goal is for MayOne to secure 218 votes in the House, and 60 votes in the United States Senate, but first they will launch a small campaign in at least 5 congressional districts during 2014 should the crowdfunding exercise be successful. What they learn there will be applied to the much bigger task of securing votes in the House.
Some may see the idea of a Super PAC taking on a Super PAC as ironic, but the MayOne site is quick to acknowledge this fact.
Yes. We want to use big money (collected from the many) to fight big money (collected from the few). Ironic, we understand. But embrace the irony. Everyone recognizes that politics costs money in America. And we don’t imagine a future where campaigns are free. But if we can pull together a large enough pool of money through this campaign, we can convince Americans that they can change the way money matters in politics.
There will probably be plenty of challenges along the way, and other parts of the system that make fundamental reform difficult, but it’s easy to see that the less money involved in politics, the more likely common interests are going to be met.