Now we are moving against Super PACs

Feb 7, 2018 · 3 min read

by Lawrence Lessig

Last fall, we launched a campaign to fund a lawsuit to challenge winner-take-all in the Electoral College. Thousands stepped up, and we beat our goal by a mile. I am extremely excited to report that within the next 10 days, our case(s) will be filed. We are about to shake things up in a big way — and you made it happen.

But we’re not finished yet.

Today we’re announcing a second set of lawsuits designed to give the Supreme Court — especially the conservatives on the Supreme Court — a chance to say “no” to super PACs. I’m writing today to explain the case, and to ask for your help in spreading the word.

As you may know, the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether super PACs are required by the Constitution. The case that created these disasters for democracy was a lower court case, decided shortly after Citizens United — a case called SpeechNow.

But as many have argued, Citizens United does not require super PACs. And in particular, for the conservatives on the Supreme Court — if they interpreted the Constitution to give Congress the power to protect against the kind of corruption the Framers were most concerned about, then they would conclude that Congress should have the power to limit super PACs.

Working with citizens in Alaska, today we have filed three citizen complaints challenging the failure of Alaska officials to enforce their anti-super PAC law. No doubt, the Alaska Attorney General will defend that decision based on SpeechNow. When she does, we want to take that excuse to the United States Supreme Court, and ask the justices — what would the Framers say about super PACs? Because we believe that any honest read of the Framers’ views would yield one clear conclusion: super PACs are not required by the First Amendment.

I know many will be skeptical that conservative justices would rule against (more) money in politics. But I believe we should takes those justices at their word. Even Donald Trump has trashed super PACs. There’s no reason an originalist on the Supreme Court should take any different view.

You can read more about our case on our website. And if you’re interested in the view of the Framers, I strongly recommend Zephyr Teachout’s fantastic book, Corruption in America.

But like before, I’m writing today mainly to ask you to help spread the word. You can share on Facebook or Tweet a message to help us announce the case. Or you can watch and share the video I made to explain it.

And if you can chip in something to help with the costs of the case, that would be enormously helpful. (The money we raised for the fight against winner-take-all can’t be used here.)

Thank you again for all you’ve done. Please help us gather another 50k citizens committed to reform, by spreading this news as broadly as you can.

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