On Wednesday evening, law professor and technology visionary Lawrence Lessig discussed his non-partisan reform initiative “Change Congress” at a Netroots Nation event. Launched by Lessig and Joe Trippi earlier this year, Change Congress is a national grassroots movement designed to end corruption in Congress and reduce the influence of big money in politics. One of the central tenets of Change Congress is the need for public financing of congressional campaigns, an initiative that provides a structural remedy to a corrupting political system in which lawmakers must engage in never-ending dash for campaign cash.
Enter Change.org, an online forum for effecting social and political change around key issues of the day (and not to be confused with President-elect’s Barack Obama’s transition website change.gov). Last month, Change.org launched the innovative project “Ideas for Change in America,” through which the public can make their voices heard by the new administration. Any individual can submit an idea for change that he or she wants to see the President-elect tackle. The top ten ideas, as voted on by the public, will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day.
Vote now for Professor Lessig’s idea for “Citizens’ funding of the Nation’s elections,” which is currently one of the contest’s “featured” ideas. Modeled after successful clean elections program in states such as Maine and Arizona, citizens’ funding provides public dollars to candidates who can first show a certain degree of support. Moreover, each participating candidate can then raise additional contributions from citizens that do not exceed $250 in the aggregate, putting the spotlight on small donors. Under such a system, lawmakers would then be able to engage in a robust dialogue on the issues without regard for what the special interests bankrolling their campaigns want out of the deal.
Let’s ensure that a new system of campaign financing is presented to Obama on Inauguration Day. To vote, simply sign-up for an account and then cast your ballot for Lessig’s “Citizens’ funding of the Nation’s elections.”