In this improbable election year, a law professor left "The Farm," went to Washington and told Congress: Change or die a political death.
The most exciting idea in this political season is changing how Washington works, which means changing the influence of money in Washington. Change Congress will help build support to solve this first problem in Washington, which is the distorting influence of money. Other problems may be more important. But no problem will be solved until we solve this problem first.
Change Congress will seek pledges from incumbents and congressional candidates to:
- Reject contributions from lobbyists or PACs
- Ban earmarks
- Support public financing of political campaigns
- Push reforms to increase congressional transparency
In a blog post, Lessig wrote:
Though "change" is the dominant rhetoric of this presidential campaign, everyone realizes that fundamental reform can't come from a president alone. If there are problems in the way Congress now works, for example, no president can fix those problems alone. Any fix would require the cooperation of the very institution that needs changing -- Congress.
Not surprisingly, however, not everyone in Congress is eager for change. Whatever they say, and however strongly they may deny it, there are many who have grown used to a system they understand well. And many of those are not about to support radically reforming that system, at least until pushed.
But the 111th Congress will be the freshest that Washington has seen in more than a decade. There are more than 67 "open seats" in this year’s election; the last time we were anywhere close to that number was 1996 (62). This fact has led some to think about strategies for getting Congress to take seriously the idea of remaking itself.
To get involved in this citizen-driven movement to bring about real change in Washington, click here.