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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Larry Lessig on Money in Politics



Aaron Cohen blogged verbaitm a talk that Larry Lessig did on money in Congressional elections. Very interesting:
"Alright now contrast that with the second election that we conduct every two years, that’s the money election. The money election is the election which we conduct, where people give their money to candidates, so that candidates can then run their elections.
"And the thing that, you know, has happened slowly, and now much more quickly since Citizens United is the concentration of influence in the money election. So .26% of Americans, one quarter of one percent of Americans give two hundred dollars in a congressional election. .05 give the maximum amount to any congressional candidate.
".01, the one percent that the 1 percent get more than $10,000 dollars in an election cycle. And .0000063%, [that is] 196 Americans have given 80% of the super PAC money in the presidential elections so far. 196 Americans.
"So what that means is, if you look at the graph for votes, everybody’s basically equal. If you look at the graph for money influence and it’s basically nothing till you get to the very top, and the tiniest slice of the 1% is having this kind of influence.
"Now, why is that a problem? Well, it’s a problem because the instability that it produces for the democracy. Because what that means is: whenever you have an issue, that you’d like to block reform on, block change on, where there’s an incumbent and that incumbent would like to stop anything that gets in the way, it’s a relatively small number of people that you’ve got to recruit to your cause. A relatively small number of funders are going to be sufficient to get the money you need to steer policy away from this kind of change."
Those five paragraphs pretty much sum things up of what is most wrong with our Congress.

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