I don’t think I need to tell you that last year was a historic election. I’m not talking about the result, which is obvious. Rather, I’m talking about the amount of money raised by Barack Obama. Mr. Obama rejected public financing, which allowed him to spend as much as he could raise. Through a strong internet effort, regular people from all over the country gave what they could. In fact, the Obama campaign raised almost equal to what both candidates were able to raise in 2004 combined. In the past, campaigns were fueled by special interests, giving money to the candidates that would best take care of them. After last year, the people were able to finance the candidate they felt had their interests in mind.
Imagine my delight to come across this from Lawrence Lessig, Co-founder of Change Congress and founder of Stanford Law's Center for Internet & Society:
Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced their groundbreaking bill to replace special-interest-funded elections with citizen-funded elections for Congress, so our representatives can spend more time working for the people they're supposed to represent.
And today, Change Congress unveiled a new online "whip count" tool that makes it easy for citizens to call our representatives and demand they support this bill.
The Wall Street crisis was a wake-up call for many people. For years, financial institutions like Bank of America and AIG donated millions to the very people who were supposed to regulate them. The result is obvious.
What's less obvious to some is the solution. But thanks to Durbin, Specter, and a bipartisan array of sponsors in the House, the solution is now staring us in the face.
The Durbin-Specter bill would put in place a new hybrid of public funding plus Obama-style small donations for congressional candidates.
This is a real opportunity for us to take back control of how our representatives are financed and ultimately elected. I’ll be watching this closely.