Skip to main content

Thanks to everyone who recommended Monday's diary about The Huffington Post's eye-opening news about special interests trying to buy influence in Congress. I wanted to give an update.

First, for those who missed it, recipients of the taxpayer-funded bailout such as Bank of America and AIG joined anti-union activists and corporate executives to discuss funneling "hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars" to groups and "vulnerable" senators to influence the vote on the Employee Free Choice Act.

In the wake of Monday's news, thousands of new people joined Change Congress's "donor strike" where small-dollar donors are leveraging the clout gained in the 2008 election and are giving politicians a choice: You can have our money or special-interest money, but you can no longer have both.

If you haven't already joined the strike, please join us here.

We're pledging not to give a penny more to congressional candidates who don't support the Durbin-Specter bill to fundamentally reform our congressional elections so they are citizen-funded, not special-interest funded. Once a candidate is a co-sponsor of the bill, the strike on them is over.

Last night, we passed the $500,000 mark for contributions withheld -- based on contributions last election cycle. That's a stunning number, and it's growing by the hour. Thanks to all who joined and will join.

Also last night, The Huffington Post broke some more news:

Reform groups are blasting letters to congressional committee chairs and the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, urging an investigation into whether bailout recipients used taxpayer money to benefit political candidates or organizations.

The letter -- signed by officials with U.S. PIRG, Change Congress, Public Campaign, Public Citizen and Democracy Matters -- builds off a Huffington Post report...

"We're calling for Congress to investigate whether Bank of America, AIG, or other recipients of billions in bailout money used taxpayer dollars to send 'large contributions' to any political organizations," reads the letter. "Congress has a responsibility to oversee the $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector. That means making sure that these taxpayer funds are used transparently, and in ways that benefit regular people -- not special interests."

The full letter is posted here. And Public Campaign's blog post about it is here.  If you believe an investigation is warranted, please call 202-224-3121 to let your representatives and the key committee chairs listed on the letter know your opinion. If you get a noteworthy response, post it in the comments below.

That's for the short term. For the long term, we need to reform the system.
Too many Americans believe money buys results in Congress, an idea that heightens cynicism about our democracy and weakens civic engagement.

If ever there were a time to push for big reform, this is it. Please join thousands of others in supporting the "donor strike" and let your friends know too. Together, we can bring change to Congress. Thanks for helping to make it happen.

(Digg it or Reddit.)

Originally posted to Lawrence Lessig on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 09:51 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Devin, Sue, chase, bink, Mike, Jett, davej, Angie in WA State, boydog, vicki, nofundy, JR, Ducktape, kid oakland, LeislerNYC, Bill in Portland Maine, Mogolori, murphy, lanshark, ferg, Rayne, gogol, Adam B, lipris, abarefootboy, Pen, Mountain Don, Mike Stark, whataboutbob, saraswati, Bob Love, bosdcla14, Sprinkles, dengre, Wintermute, TheWurx, Mnemosyne, dkistner, catjo, freelunch, ZAPatty, blogswarm, lzachary, musicsleuth, zeroooo, mataliandy, Creosote, bronte17, conchita, TracieLynn, powerplay40, wonkydonkey, Cassandra77, Janie, srkp23, highacidity, Pithy Cherub, boadicea, mkfarkus, vmibran, barath, roses, JuliaAnn, ivote2004, peraspera, kanuk, Jeanni, CodeTalker, jbeach, luku, Nate Roberts, Jesterfox, bustacap, DoctorScience, Cedwyn, antirove, Alna Dem, admiralh, Eddie C, LawStudent, Melanchthon, dangoch, psnyder, danthrax, TexDem, oldjohnbrown, Miss Jones, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, grannyhelen, Noodles, Ready2fight, bloomster, kjo, lizah, defluxion10, snakelass, welshvalleymaid, seenos, Pohjola, walkshills, potato, zdefender, econlibVA, side pocket, randallt, Man Eegee, tomjones, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Wife of Bath, SanDiegoDem, jcrit, bablhous, rickeagle, kd texan, vacantlook, snowbird42, avahome, boran2, Gowrie Gal, Los Diablo, Recovering Southern Baptist, mediaprisoner, bloomer 101, Bluesee, Tarindel, radarlady, ZZZzzz, Tinfoil Hat, pattyp, Japhet, IntotheAbyss, case, Ckntfld, UFOH1, T Rex, EmergingMajority, Elise, LarisaW, jarneys dad, JanetT in MD, judithfreeman, subtropolis, stlawrence, OpherGopher, Melody Townsel, panicbean, DocGonzo, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, ratzo, Jules Beaujolais, Mz Kleen, zombie, dansk47, LNK, Pyesetz the Dog, CarolynC967, jorndorff, jimstaro, pandawoman, uato carabau, Buffalo Girl, Overseas, smkngman, lasky57, jane123, Isara, Cyber Kat, janew2, Geekesque, petestern, FightTheFuture, wiscmass, Floja Roja, Lisa Lockwood, Shaking the Tree, benny05, bunsk, Rogneid, bookwoman, proudprogressiveCA, Land of Enchantment, soyinkafan, Sister Havana, Asinus Asinum Fricat, begone, SoulCatcher, Born in NOLA, third Party please, Showman, Shirl In Idaho, redcedar, trashablanca, gwilson, BachFan, MissInformation, Do Tell, Compound F, tarheelblue, sherlyle, BlueInARedState, trentinca, 8ackgr0und N015e, Yellow Canary, cookseytalbott, seefleur, victoria2dc, mSnook, buhdydharma, dewey of the desert, kck, AdamGreen, Lefty Coaster, triv33, TalkieToaster, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, Tanya, gooderservice, Libby Shaw, Joe Trippi, imabluemerkin, Data Pimp, real world chick, JVolvo, Sagebrush Bob, NearlyNormal, CF Perez, bleeding heart, Preston S, el cid, MBNYC, TayTay, Tula Connell, Wage Warrior II, llbear, Dyana, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, Johnse, chapel hill guy, cps, Statusquomustgo, kurious, Picot verde, phidda, markthshark, sasher, mapman, Aaa T Tudeattack, ladypockt, ammasdarling, bigchin, One Pissed Off Liberal, Noor B, FoundingFatherDAR, nathguy, asilomar, anotherdemocrat, wa ma, Duke S, dmh44, moodyinsavannah, ColoTim, gloriana, laborish, Michael Connery, FishOutofWater, david mizner, Ticonderoga, noofsh, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, BCM, londubh, Unbozo, Window, Strabo, bnasley, RosyFinch, getlost, rainmanjr, jayden, vbdietz, letsgetreal, mp, Sarahkatheryn, Uberbah, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, Ruby K, cececville, Rumarhazzit, leonard145b, madgranny, 4workers, JML9999, Zydekos, keikekaze, Bikemom, gloryous1, Hens Teeth, Empower Ink, cville townie, Red no more, VA Breeze, BustaVessel, MKinTN, revm3up, swampus, ShadowSD, cardeity48, oolali, Organic Mechanic, karin x, Peperpatch, vkbaker, VA gentlewoman, Laughing Vergil, treesrock, Akonitum, DCBlue, jakebob, Therapy, beltane, baudelairien, pkohan, fatbyjhnsn, Lujane, tofumagoo, evora, pademocrat, pickandshovel, Populista, MsWings, Jeff Y, rubine, mofembot, temptxan, a lien on everything, Nautilator, pragprogress, Matt Browner Hamlin, samwithans, joy sinha, Blogvirgin, nokkonwud, Stephanie Taylor, Executive Odor, dont think, dmhlt 66, revelwoodie, lgcap, watercarrier4diogenes, CIndyCasella, JCAinCLE, oldliberal, bijoudesigncom, maggiejean, RedMask, 1BQ, Bule Betawi, Rhysling, cybrestrike, HoldEmAccountable, number nine dream, Mr Tentacle, wtxdem, Neon Vincent, emboyo, litoralis, Unseen majority, Not John Pickering, eroded47095, cantelow, mudgod, Inky99, Gorilla in the room, Partisan Progressive, sweeper, JesseCW, desertlover, johnbrown, followyourbliss, such sweet thunder, obscuresportsquarterly, Denise Oliver Velez, kevinpdx, synductive99, Septima, JohnCos, audiored, rubthorn, DRStarks, fernan47, azadmanish, Enrika, Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno, Colorado Billy, Larsstephens, Amber6541, gohmak, Carl Brutanananadilewski, YellerDog, JoesUnionReview, oohdoiloveyou, political junquie, danbury6112, awcomeon, marabout40, VenturaProgressive, veracityus, LaughingPlanet, robertacker13, Johnnythebandit, Blue Blood, japangypsy, fidellio, chrome327, Crabby Abbey, kittyclub, BonnieSchlitz, RJP9999, freedapeople, bigbooger, madeup64, OldLady in BC, Benintn, scarlet slipper, ThisIsMyTime, addisnana, Weaselina, Texnance, Betty Pinson, Urtica dioica gracilis, Elana Levin of UNITE HERE, MsGrin, Floande, Dacos, goldenbird, sidious666, slice, Rockpopple, indubitably, BrowniesAreGood, Colorado is the Shiznit, Pizzapotamus, FeloniousMonk, msazdem, nicethugbert, Meggie, the national gadfly, island in alabama, sharistuff, BlueHead, The Son of the Devil Himself, sallym, Haf2Read, de porres, Wheever, junipercussion, JJ Bogans, 36chambers, whoknu, Lets Elect A Progressive President In 2012

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site