Election Law

Law prof's super PAC reaches fundraising goal; aim is new campaign-finance system

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Larry Lessig. File photo by Wayne Slezak.

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

The ultimate aim of the Mayday PAC is to change the campaign-finance system for federal candidates, according to the New York Times blog the Upshot. Lessig backs legislation creating incentives for candidates to seek small-dollar donations that would be matched with public money.

The Mayday PAC raised $6 million in a little over two months. Other donors will match that amount to raise a total of $12 million for the PAC, the story says.

The Mayday PAC plans to spend the money on five House races that will be announced on July 15. The idea is to back candidates supporting campaign finance reform who could upset candidates expected to win.

“We are looking for districts in which a victory would signal that conventional wisdom was wrong: that voters, that is, could be mobilized on the basis of this issue enough to dislodge even dominant incumbents,” according to the Mayday PAC website.

The Upshot identifies one roadblock. Even if the Mayday PAC is successful, it won’t change Supreme Court First Amendment rulings that have led to the rise of super PACs. A proposed constitutional amendment would allow greater regulation of campaign spending, but the Mayday PAC gives it little chance of enactment and says it may be unnecessary.

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