Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United States Government Politics

Lessig Decides Not to Run For Congress 80

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the jedis-are-going-to-feel-this-one dept.
micheas writes "Larry Lessig has decided that running for U.S. Congress himself in a special election would be too risky to his Change Congress movement and has decided not to run. 'With lots of mixed feelings, I have decided a run for Congress would not help the Change Congress movement. I explain the thinking in this 5 minute video (a new record for me!). First question: What happens to the contributions to Lessig08? As explained on the ActBlue page, all will go to (the yet to be established) Change Congress organization.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lessig Decides Not to Run For Congress

Comments Filter:
  • Interesting (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:03PM (#22550626)
    Oh, wait, I mean the other thing - tedious.
  • mastershake (Score:5, Funny)

    by milsoRgen (1016505) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:04PM (#22550644) Homepage
    So get money under the assumption you're running for congress, then turn around and use it for a yet-to-be established organization. With that kind of behavior he's acting like a congressman already!
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So get money under the assumption you're running for congress, then turn around and use it for a yet-to-be established organization. With that kind of behavior he's acting like a congressman already!

      If by that your meaning he is retiring from politics *cough* to become a lobbyist in order to gain a wider influence for his cause, then yes, you probably are correct. He still needs to be able to show lots of voters backing him with donations so he can influence votes in regards to his cause and in the process

    • by iminplaya (723125)
      We need political conscription. I say draft the SOB and make him serve :-) That'll teach him not to ever get our hopes up again. Then again he might be much more effective as a lobbyist. We should create a PAC slush fund to help out. Oops...wait a minute.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      They better look really hard at this and the legality of it. It has been my understanding that you can only use surplus political contributions for the intent they were donated to. That would mean that any money donated under the guise of getting X into a political office needs to be used to get X into a political office. If he gives it to some outside commity or organization, he could be charged with crimes and forces to pay the funds back.

      It typically doesn't matter what office they run for. But it is mor
      • by mike2R (721965)
        While I don't claim to have read what is "explained on the ActBlue page", I think it would be a good guess that anyone who contributed money agreed to this at the time. The man's a lawyer, he's not going to make that sort of mistake.
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          I attempted to look it up. I guess any charity as described by IRS rule 107c would be allowable. And if he created his own party, he could immediately pass it to them.

          However, there is a conversion rule that could muddy things up. Especially if he was taking a paid position at the charity or political party. And there is some question (to me at least) on how this would play out is the charity or party didn't officially exist at the time of the initial contribution.

          Even if he is a lawyer, he should get separ
  • Bait and Switch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Either run, or send our money back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ajs (35943)
      I'm sorry, can you please provide the list of the previous candidates whose campaigns have returned funds when they decided to drop out of the race?

      I've never heard of that happening before, and while I think it would be rather slimy to simply take the funds for his own personal gain, there's nothing wrong with donating them to the cause he was running to support.

      • It's wrong both morally and legally.
        • by ajs (35943)

          It's wrong both morally and legally.
          Can you point me to where you're getting that?

          People donated to his campaign. He dropped out. That's par for the course.

          What you're suggesting is that either by dropping out or by not doing what no other politician has ever done, he did something wrong. I'm just looking for a LITTLE precedent, here....
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by LearnToSpell (694184)
            "Do or do not. There is no try."

            And that precedent is from a LONG time ago (although in a galaxy far, far away).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zeinfeld (263942)
          I gave up two minutes in. Did he actually manage to make a substantive statement?

          But I can't feel too bad for folk who parted with their money on the expectation that he was going to run before he told us some pretty important information like, which party ticket? if as an independent then who would he vote for as speaker?

          The party system exists for a reason and its not all bad. Saying that you are going to change congress without saying how or why is just more rhetorical bullshit. Bush delivered that m

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            he was going to run before he told us some pretty important information like, which party ticket?

            I thought he made it pretty clear that he was considering running for the Democrat nomination against Jackie Speier.

            But if he had continued the run the most likely outcome would be that he would split the progressive vote and let a Republican in.

            Apparently you haven't paid any attention at all to what's been happening but have no problem at all spouting off a bunch of BS.

            I know, I know, I must be new here.

            • by Zeinfeld (263942)
              I thought he made it pretty clear that he was considering running for the Democrat nomination against Jackie Speier.

              Not until this podcast he didn't. And then only if you bothered to listen in to his tedious windbaggery. It was like watching a rerun of Sagan in Cosmos.

              You have to get to the point quickly in politics. The Podcast is a dreadful medium for communicating news. The content of that podcast could be stated in three short paragraphs. He took five minutes.

              If you are going to do a podcast you h

              • Not until this podcast he didn't. And then only if you bothered to listen in to his tedious windbaggery. It was like watching a rerun of Sagan in Cosmos.

                He talks about it in his blog post which was posted on the 21st. The link: http://lessig08.org/blog/?p=3 [lessig08.org]

                This proves that YOU are the "tedious windbag", blabbering on with no knowledge of what you are talking about, and making up "facts" as you go along.

                • by Zeinfeld (263942)
                  He talks about it in his blog post which was posted on the 21st.

                  The post is titled "the day after". In other words he failed to make the point in his original release. There is no reason to expect that people would check back the next day for information that should have been presented at the start.

                  This proves that YOU are the "tedious windbag", blabbering on with no knowledge of what you are talking about, and making up "facts" as you go along.

                  I criticized St Lessig for crapy media management. He had

                  • he was going to run before he told us some pretty important information like, which party ticket?

                    I thought he made it pretty clear that he was considering running for the Democrat nomination against Jackie Speier.

                    Not until this podcast he didn't (emphasis added).

                    He talks about it in his blog post which was posted on the 21st.

                    The post is titled "the day after". In other words he failed to make the point in his original release.

                    I accept your apology.

          • by billcopc (196330)
            As a complete ignorant with regards to political affairs, I never did quite understand why people must be either X or Y, Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, Left or Right...

            Why do they all have to be pigeonholed into a big bucket that half the country inevitably hates ? Why can't one smart individual campaign on the basis of their own views rather than the regurgitated habits of either large faction, none of which have proven much success since the creation of government centuries ago ?

            Let's f
            • by solafide (845228)
              I'm guessing part of the reason we get rid of them after one or two terms as president is because of the 22nd amendment [usconstitution.net].
              • by billcopc (196330)
                And why do you need such an amendment ? Why did someone feel the need to implement such a failsafe ? Because the system is doomed to fail.

      • "Drop out" implies being in the race.

        If I collect funds to support my entry into a Congressional race, and then decide not to go through with that entry, I damn well better give my supporters their donations back, because I haven't spent anything on the campaign yet, because I haven't entered the campaign.

        The only races candidates "drop out" of are for president, and that's because the playing field narrows. They either drop out or are voted out. That of course, isn't applicable here, because presidential
    • by RobBebop (947356)

      Either run, or send our money back.

      I donated. I am perfectly happy with Larry using the money for fund his Change Congress initiative. I agree with the goals of the movement that aim to end abusive pork-fat career politicians. If he channels energy and research into exposing the cretins from the pure souls, I would feel like my donation was money well spent. If he can convince the major political parties not to endorse bad politicians in the first place, that would be even better.

      Best yet, if Change Congress could launch a political

  • The best way to change Congress is to not run FOR Congress, but run FROM Congress. If you don't believe me, finish your taxes.
  • Come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by riceboy50 (631755) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:16PM (#22550760)
    The guy never committed to running. If you are upset about having contributed, then you are being unreasonable. I am just sorry that he decided not to run—maybe he will change his mind someday.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by vtscott (1089271)
      Interestingly though, the donation page [actblue.com] currently states:

      If I decide not to run, any remaining funds will be contributed to the Change Congress movement to help promote these principles.

      However, I pulled up the google cache [google.com] of that same page and there is no mention of what will happen to the funds if he decides not to run. That seems somewhat shady, and I personally think he should have decided whether or not to run before starting to take donations.

      • Re:Come on (Score:5, Informative)

        by langelgjm (860756) on Monday February 25, 2008 @06:18PM (#22551488) Journal
        I see your point about the Google cache, but I visited the donation page a week or more ago, and it did mention what would happen to the money if he decided not to run.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by vtscott (1089271)
          Hmm. The google cache says that it was pulled from the website on 2/20, so if you really did see it a week or more ago that would mean the disclaimer was pulled off and then put back on. I'm not saying it was fraud or anything, but I can see how people who donated might feel misled by the whole thing.
          • I actually contributed a small amount myself, and I was informed of what was to happen to my contribution if he decided not to run. This was on the 22nd of February.
  • Good move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HaeMaker (221642) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:20PM (#22550812) Homepage
    I think he can do more work as an outsider than an insider. This is also the reason I was disappointed that Al Franken decided to run for Senate. I was of the opinion he can do more work, reach more people, and effect greater change on the radio than in the Senate.

    This also makes him available for appointment to some post in the White House. Imagine the work he could do in Commerce, overseeing the Internet, at the FCC overseeing information flow, or at Justice, overseeing IP-related enforcement.
    • by rsborg (111459)

      I think he can do more work as an outsider than an insider. This is also the reason I was disappointed that Al Franken decided to run for Senate. I was of the opinion he can do more work, reach more people, and effect greater change on the radio than in the Senate.

      Perhaps, but Norm Coleman needs to go. That backstabbing SOB needs to be dealt with decisively, and Al is probably the best person to do this.

      Besides we need more people in Congress with a sense of humor!

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Al Franken..
      He's good enough.
      He's smart enough.

      but no one likes him!
    • by eln (21727)
      I was disappointed when he decided to run because his show was the only thing worth listening to on Air America. I could almost tolerate the 15 minutes of ads for every 5 minutes of actual content for his show, but all the rest of it was just people trying too hard to be the Rush Limbaugh (or even Ann Coulter) of the left.

    • by slapys (993739)

      This also makes him available for appointment to some post in the White House. Imagine the work he could do in Commerce, overseeing the Internet, at the FCC overseeing information flow, or at Justice, overseeing IP-related enforcement.

      You mean like Obama's planned CTO position [typepad.com] for the United States government?
    • by Triv (181010)

      Lessig wouldn't have to win. Sometimes running is enough to guide and elevate the public discourse in that it gives the voice a microphone to make sense into.

      At least, that's the way it's supposed to work.

      Triv

  • Don't get me wrong; Lessig is indispensible, unparalleled in the areas in which he focusses his attention. But Ms. Speier is a pro, and has been preparing for this seat for a long time. Even though I think the world and all of Lessig, if there were a runoff, I'd take Speier for this slot. So it's wonderful that I don't have to make that choice. If you're one of the people who were getting ready to work to get Lessig elected: consider supporting Ms. Speier's campaign [jackieforcongress.com]
    • by HaeMaker (221642)
      It is going to be more of a coronation than an election. She has no real opposition in the race. I bet she will get at least 60%.
    • by scaryjohn (120394)

      Speier a better candidate? She hasn't put forth her position on IP Law reform OR Net neutrality! Just silly issues like "the economy" and "Iraq".

      I guess all politics is local. Dash our hopes of banding together to have our own Congress-critter to represent the national nerd constituency. Surely we (not just Slashdot) make up more than 1/435 of the populace.

      • Dash our hopes of banding together to have our own Congress-critter to represent the national nerd constituency. Surely we (not just Slashdot) make up more than 1/435 of the populace.

        You just hit the nail on the head. Although it may not always seem like it, there really are a lot of very intelligent people here in the US. And by that, I don't mean tech/engr intelligence. I'd almost call it wisdom, but that may be too strong of a word.

        But more or less, they're distributed geographically evenly. And bec

  • by dingbatdr (702519) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:36PM (#22550984) Homepage
    I am prety sure I would lose.
  • Why start so high? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dolohov (114209) on Monday February 25, 2008 @06:02PM (#22551300)
    He's going to run into this problem time and again if he continues to focus on Congress: there is always someone with more experience in the state legislature itching for a "promotion". Why not start by collecting a handful of people and run them for state legislature?

    I dislike this notion that anything below the federal level is not worth their attention. True, it's not as bad as the Edwards or Nader position, "If I can't be president, I'm not going to bother." But if a new movement can prove itself on the local level, it can gain both the infrastructure and momentum necessary to advance.
  • Can anyone succinctly explain to non-US readers who and what this is about. The post gives no back-ground, the Change Congress web-site is useless and I can't be bothered to try harder.

    I'll assume it was posted by someone who assumed slashdotters worldwide would have an interest. For all I know right now, it could be someone wanting to change the dress code.

    Or improve the look of congresspersons web-sites. (Aka 'congressees', 'congressites', 'persons engaged in congress'. I'm open to a language lesson as we
  • silly notion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSync (5291) * on Monday February 25, 2008 @06:44PM (#22551780) Journal
    There is no hope for "getting money out of politics" any more than there is hope for ending the drug war.

    1971: Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA): contribution disclosure
    1974: FECA expanded to limit contributions
    2002: McCain-Feingold limits speech and soft money

    Guess what? No big change.

    Ron Paul raised $35 million, and he didn't see much in the way of votes.

    Politicians love to spread anti-business rhetoric to get votes, but they all know that if they screw up the economy by destroying businesses they will lose those votes, thus they act more like economists in action, and talk like economically ignorant people on the stump.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rohan972 (880586)
      they all know that if they screw up the economy by destroying businesses they will lose those votes

      In Australia, most employment is provided by SME's, I wouldn't be surprised if it is similar in the US. Making things harder for large corporations and easier for small business could well stimulate the economy rather than screw it up.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      One of the hypothesis is that many politician don't like that system. That there may be some politicians wanting to really represent the people, really improve things beyond simply corporate wealth and that the system prevents them from doing exactly that.
      • by TheSync (5291) *
        there may be some politicians wanting to really represent the people, really improve things beyond simply corporate wealth and that the system prevents them from doing exactly that.

        Politicians only want power. They will say whatever is needed to get the votes of the majority, and do whatever is needed to not get voted out.
  • that they flamed me! A bunch of morons flaming someone who points out another lawyer [working at Stanford along side another tool --Dr. Rice] and we are supposed to think this guy is some sort of Ralph Nader? It's no wonder we have so many problems. When you think a university's endowment of over $17 Billion houses leaders who have your best interest then you've never worked in any damn industry. The man created the Creative Commons legal structure. Great! It may be new to today's youth but it's not earth s
  • by unitron (5733) on Monday February 25, 2008 @09:31PM (#22553640) Homepage Journal
    Now the campaign slogan "Lessig Is More" will never be used.
  • Several Ron Paul Republicans are looking to run for Congress....

    These guys are worth considering.

    Especially Murrary Sabrin running for the Senate:
    http://www.murraysabrin.com/ [murraysabrin.com]
  • C'mon why would he actually DO something when it's so much easier to just sit back and say how those who are doing something are stupid. Wanker.
  • So while we can discuss the pros and cons of the situation,
    if con- is the opposite of pro-, what is the opposite of Progess?
  • I don't know anything about this fellow... but I need to make one comment. Isn't the idea of having to put everything in a video as opposed to actual text (with less jargon and more direct info)... isn't that kind of a cheesy political tactic to avoid hard facts and try to sway people with "charisma"? I mean, if he's a good guy, I understand he needs to use whatever cheesy methods he can to keep up with the bad guys... but I sure hope he also makes things "real" and spelled out.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

Working...