May 6, 2009  ·  Lessig

In my work to push citizen funded elections (the hybrid between public funding (which is citizen funds) and small-donor contributions (citizen funding)), I have been astonished and deeply depressed by the number of very rich souls who in theory should support this change, but who resist it because, as I sense, they don’t want to give up their own access to power.

These large Democratic Party contributors are different. They all signed a letter demanding the existing system be scrapped, and that citizen funded elections replace it.

Bravo. Reform begins at home.

Naomi Aberly
Grant Abert
Elaine Attias
Amb. Elizabeth Bagley
Smith Bagley
Robert Bowditch
William Budinger
James Kimo Campbell
Peter Copen
Rosemary Faulkner
Ron Feldman
Christopher Findlater
Murray Galinson
James Gollin
Lee Halprin
Francis W. Hatch
Arnold Hiatt
John Hunting
Greg Jobin-Leeds
John S. Johnson
Wayne Jordan
Craig Kaplan
Michael Kieschnick
Steve Kirsch
Arthur D. Lipson
Henry Lord
Anna Hawken McKay
Rob McKay
Sally Minard
Alan Patricof
Susan Patricof
Doug Phelps
Steve Phillips
Drummond Pike
Rachel Pritzker
Abby Rockefeller
Charles Rodgers
Marsha Rosenbaum
Manny Rouvelas
Vin Ryan
Deborah Sagner
Guy T. Saperstein
Dick Senn
Steve Silberstein
Alison Smith
William Soskin
Martin Stevenson
Pat Stryker
Ellen Susman
Steve Susman
Margery Tabankin
Kate Villers
Philippe Villers
Scott Wallace
George Wallerstein
Marc Weiss
Al Yates
Joe Zimlich

  • Jardinero1

    I thought it was power that corrupts.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to limit the power of Congress? Why not strictly enumerate the powers of Congress and then leave it to the various states to decide how they want to pick their Congress people.

    It would have its advantages. It would prevent stupid rednecks from Texas from imposing their mores, values and will on more sophisticated persons from New York and California; and vice versa.

  • Steve Baba

    Unless there is another reality-challenged lawyer on that list, I don’t think a single one of the above would say it took any honor to sign that list. Did any of them lose their government jobs like a whiste blower would?

    I suppose you also have to avoid the name “public financing” because of that Obama incident with “broken” public financing. (which would require some minimal honor to point out)

    Hybrid systems, if one learned anything in economics, often work worse then either pure system. I have not read the details, but matching every lobbyist’s or nut’s contribution 4 to 1 does not look like an improvement to me.

  • Steve Baba

    I don’t believe 99% of conspiracy theories on the web, since most things are caused by stupidity or just bad luck then conspiracies, but there is a conspiracy theory that this amateur campaign finance reform is so inferior to the “broken” public (give the two parties an equal amount) that it was designed to sink campaign finance (by pointing out that Moveon/Fox News true believers will all have their contributions matched 4-1)

    Most conspiracy theories also suffer from the fallacy of collective action, which Lessig still has not understood.

  • Chuck

    Power does corrupt. However in some cases a unique way. People in power won’t want to leave power but they will still be good people.

  • Santino

    It would have its advantages. It would prevent stupid rednecks from Texas from imposing their mores, values and will on more sophisticated persons from New York and California; and vice versa.

  • Matt Weatherford

    I love this idea and you should too:

    “members of Congress should have to wear the logos of their sponsors like Nascar drivers”

  • Wayne Conrad

    “Why not strictly enumerate the powers of Congress”

    The powers of congress are strictly enumerated under the constitution. However, congress, aided by the supreme court’s lose interpretation of the commerce and “necessary and proper” clauses, has long since slipped those bonds.

    “stupid rednecks from Texas” “more sophisticated persons from New York and California”

    Prejudice is ugly even when–actually, especially when–the group you’re in approves of it.