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Lawrence Lessig ’89JD:
‘Embrace the irony’

“Inside-the-Beltway people don’t think this issue matters,” Lawrence Lessig ’89JD tells the New York Times. “We think this issue does matter, and we want to prove it.”

Lessig, a Harvard law professor, is talking about the way big money dominates national politics. His solution: Mayday PAC, “a crowdfunded Super PAC to end all Super PACS.”

Lessig and Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush ’68, founded Mayday this spring with the goal of raising big money to combat the influence of big money. Their slogan: “Embrace the irony.”

This week Mayday—presumably named for the call of distress, not the international workers’ holiday—launched a $12 million ad campaign. The beneficiaries: candidates who support public matching funds for congressional elections and/or a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling, which struck down restrictions on campaign spending by corporations, associations, and labor unions.

At this writing, the PAC’s website says it has raised more than $7.7 million from more than 54,000 “citizen-contributors.” Its first two candidates are Republican Jim Rubens, running in a primary against Scott Brown for New Hampshire’s US Senate nomination, and Democrat Staci Appel, running for an Iowa congressional seat. The PAC will announce more candidates in August.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under Mayday PAC, Lawrence Lessig

1 comment

  • George russert
    George russert, 8:42am August 01 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    MayDay gets it's name from the distress call, as in May Day, our Nation is sinking, Democracy is lost. We must act to restore it.
    "We" includes you, each reader here. Please check us out at http://MayDay.US and if you agree with our purpose and method, join us.
    This is a movement of, by,and for the People, the majority, so we require a majority to participate.

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