Will tech be there to back Lawrence Lessig’s presidential bid?

Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law professor and political activist, has given himself until Labor Day to raise $1 million to run as a “referendum president,” says Fast Company, which interviewed him.

As of this morning, Lessig has raised nearly $400,000 from more than 3,000 donors, according to his website. “We keep your money only if we meet our goal,” says the small print under the “Pledge Now” button.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has signed up to be Lessig’s committee chairman. “When you light up the Internet, anything is possible,” Wales says in a campaign press release.

Will other tech leaders join in?

In 2014, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, gave $1 million to Lessig’s Mayday political action committee to finance candidates backing campaign finance reform. Other tech donors were Peter Thiel, Ev Williams and Sean Parker.

The candidates Mayday supported lost in nearly every race, as the Huffington Post and others have noted.

Should he be elected, Lessig says he will resign with the passage of the Citizen Equality Act, a legislative package that would end partisan gerrymandering and reform campaign finance laws.

Then, he will hand the reins of the country to the vice president.

Attention-grabbing gimmick? Yes, but as the Fox News GOP debate showed earlier this month, the state of money and politics can be fodder for discussion.

As Donald Trump told the audience:

I will tell you that our system is broken. I give to many people. I give to everybody, when they call I give, and you know what? When I need something from them, two years, three years later, I call, they are there for me.

Lessig says that he will run, unless another candidate takes up “citizen equality” as their “first priority,” Fast Company says.

Already Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is seeking the Democratic nomination, has moved campaign reform up his priority list, as some have noted.

Above: Lawrence Lessig, courtesy Lessig for President. 


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