• http://www.daviddfriedman.com David Friedman

    It seems to me that “citizen funded elections” is the sort of misleading rhetoric that you would condemn in others. Current elections are citizen funded—while I am sure there are occasional donations from people outside the country, most of the money is coming from U.S. citizens.

    What you are arguing for are government funded elections—elections in which candidates get money collected from citizens as taxes and transferred to the candidates by the government. That may or may not be a good idea, but putting it that way makes clearer the obvious risk—which your way of putting it obscures.

  • lessig

    No, that’s not right. The Durbin-Specter proposal is for funds to come both from small-dollar contributions (capped at $100 a citizen) and from government funds (for qualifying candidates). The point is the combination creates a credible claim that the only interest funding an election is citizens, as opposed to the (perceived to be) disproportionate influence of others (funneled through citizens, no doubt).

    I’d love a better term, but “publicly funded elections” is also misleading (since the $100 contribution is not from “the public”).

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  • Jardinero1

    David Friedman, “citizen funding” is Ingsoc for what used to be called “state funding” in pre-revolutionary days. What was historically known as “citizen funding” is now more properly referred to as “special interest contributions”. However, these contributions are not considered “special interest” if they come from labor unions or other institutions which enjoy Inner Party status. There are exceptions to this rule as well, e.g. the Authors Guild, currently, is enjoined from participation in the Inner Party. Their interests, therefore, are “special interests”, for the time being.

    You really should know better than to make such critiques. Stick to your Victory Gin and cigarettes. Prof. Lessig, and others of the Inner Party know what’s best for us, much better than we do.

  • anon

    Any corporations joined the boycott yet?

    don’t see how you’re going to make any headway toward denying the corporate politicians money if you don’t cut off their main source.

    But behind Obama’s campaign rhetoric about taking on special interests lies a more complicated truth. A Globe review of Obama’s campaign finance records shows that he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs as a state legislator in Illinois, a US senator, and a presidential aspirant.

    In Obama’s eight years in the Illinois Senate, from 1996 to 2004, almost two-thirds of the money he raised for his campaigns — $296,000 of $461,000 — came from PACs, corporate contributions, or unions, according to Illinois Board of Elections records. He tapped financial services firms, real estate developers, healthcare providers, oil companies, and many other corporate interests, the records show.

    Obama Doesn’t Take Special Interest Money?

    Goldman Sachs $421,763 Ubs Ag $296,670 Lehman Brothers $250,630 National Amusements Inc $245,843 JP Morgan Chase & Co $243,848 Sidley Austin LLP $226,491 Citigroup Inc $221,578 Exelon Corp $221,517 Skadden, Arps Et Al $196,420 Jones Day $181,996 Harvard University $172,324 Citadel Investment Group $171,798 Time Warner $155,383 Morgan Stanley $155,196 Google Inc $152,802 University of California $143,029 Jenner & Block $136,565 Kirkland & Ellis $134,738 Wilmerhale Llp $119,245 Credit Suisse Group $118,250

    Open Secrets:

    Securities and Investment
    Hillary: $4.7 million
    Obama: $4.5 million
    Romney(the quintessential corporate candidate): $3.6 million

    Commercial Banks
    Hillary: $935,000
    Obama: $865,000
    Romney: $600,000

    Big Pharma
    Hillary: $269,000
    Obama: $262,000
    Romney: $260,000

    Hedge Fund and Private Equity
    Hillary: $980,000
    Obama: $976,000
    Romney: $947,000

    Securities and Investment
    Hillary: $4.7 million
    Obama: $4.5 million
    Romney(the quintessential corporate candidate): $3.6 million

    Commercial Banks
    Hillary: $935,000
    Obama: $865,000
    Romney: $600,000

    Big Pharma
    Hillary: $269,000
    Obama: $262,000
    Romney: $260,000

    Hedge Fund and Private Equity
    Hillary: $980,000
    Obama: $976,000
    Romney: $947,000

    denying them of 1/3 of their money in a non-election year will not have a major effect.

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