End big money politics

USA (Cambridge)

US election outcomes are always governed by expensive campaigns and big money, but this year the role of money has become an issue all its own – as funding continues to remain unregulated and undisclosed. In January 2017, the most powerful nation on earth will have a new leader. It has us all wondering who is funding Trump, Sanders and the rest.

While US federal election law requires candidates to report each campaign donation to the Federal Election Committee (FEC), this does not show the large sums going to independent-expenditure only committees – ‘SuperPACs’ (Political Action Committees). The secret cash, unlimited contributions are often labelled as ‘dark money’.

Republican front-runner and billionaire Donald Trump is burning his own wealth to fund part of his campaign. But a single statute changing the way elections are funded would radically change the inequality of the current system.

Having already transformed intellectual-property law with his Creative Commons innovation, back in 2014 American academic, attorney and political activist Larry Lessig planned to change the system of campaign funding as we know it with MAYDAY.US and crowdfunded SuperPACs: “Unless we can find a way to end the corrupting influence of money in American politics, America will continue its slide away from its citizens, towards those who dominate our politics.”

In August 2015, shortly before announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Lessig resigned from the PAC and has now been replaced by Cyrus Patten, a longtime anti-corruption advocate.

Taking on cross-party allegiances, loyalty to wealthy donors and the inherent cronyism present in the American political system is no easy task. Through simple methods and direct grassroot action, the MAYDAY.US Project is making waves with its unflinching belief in American democracy. This is how ordinary people can play a crucial role in changing how US elections are funded forever…

MAYDAY.US was mapped by Alastair Parvin, co-founder of WikiHouse in his AtlasChart Top 5. He is a big fan of MAYDAY’s visionary Larry Lessig. Read his full FutureHero interview here.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (27 June 2016)

Project leader

Cyrus Patten, CEO

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