A political action committee with the goal of ending PACs’ influence in political races has chosen an open-seat U.S. House race in Iowa as a test of its strategy.
Mayday PAC has selected the 3rd District campaign to replace retiring Republican Rep. Tom Latham as one of its first targets in its two-cycle plan to elect a Congress that will pass fundamental reform of the way campaigns are funded. The bipartisan super PAC, cofounded by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, will be supporting one candidate from each party and encouraged other candidates nationwide to inoculate themselves against challenges by coming out now for reform.
In the 3rd, that’s Democratic State Sen. Staci Appel against Republican David Young.
“We started with these two races to be crystal clear — it doesn’t matter who you are, what your party is, or what powerful friends you have,” Lessig said Tuesday morning. “If you are standing in the way of fundamental reform, if you are supporting what has become a fully corrupt system of money in politics, then you should watch your back.”
“Americans of all political stripes have had enough of systemic corruption,” McKinnon said. “This is an opportunity for politicians in both parties to stand up and be counted, knowing that there is grass roots support for genuine heroes of reform. I hope Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress take advantage of this opportunity to inoculate themselves — and firmly position themselves as supporters of reform.”
The PAC’s goal is to make the way campaigns are funded one of the top issues in targeted races, supporting those who pledge reform and working against those who don’t. It is part of a two election-cycle plan to hold candidates accountable to voters on the issue of money in politics and win a Congress committed to enacting reform. If successful in the 2014 cycle, the pilot effort will be significantly expanded for the 2016 elections.
A fact sheet on each candidate’s record on reform can be found online at https://mayday.us/factsheet.
In May, the Mayday PAC launched its first crowd-funded campaign to get money out of politics. After surpassing its initial goal of raising $1 million in only 13 days — which was matched by technology entrepreneurs from all sides of the political debate — the PAC launched a second crowdfunding campaign to raise $5 million by July 4, which it also met. As with the first campaign, the commitments made in the second were contingent upon meeting the $5 million target.
Like other Super PACs, Mayday PAC will spend its money independently of any political candidate. Unlike other Super PACs, the names of all contributors above $200 will be reported to the Federal Election Commission. It will not accept effectively anonymous contributions from groups that hide the identities of their funders, and has recently announced plans to publish detailed contribution reports with donor names every two weeks, starting Aug. 5.
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