Thursday, April 23, 2015

You be a Congressional candidate

As MAYDAY.US starts its Congressional calling campaign in its plan to elect a reform minded Congress by 2016, please consider being a Congressional candidate yourself.

This suggestion is not so ridiculous as you may think.

Please consider some things.

First, be a Congressional candidate who is not subject to the restrictions of Federal campaign finance law.

So long as you don't raise more than $5000 in contributions or spend more than $5000 in doing your campaign, you are not a candidate subject to the restrictions of Federal campaign finance law.

This can make you a valuable asset in the battle for campaign finance reform.

The $5000 limit on expenditures will largely confine you to the Internet and social media, but I believe you can still play an important role.

Under the Federal campaign finance law, the Internet, by reason of its democratic nature and low cost for anyone to use, is treated favorably compared to other forms of political advertising having a higher cost and being less democratically available for anyone to use.

The Federal Campaign Guide, at page 40, says this:
Internet Volunteer Activity
General Exception
An uncompensated individual or group of uncompensated individuals may engage in certain voluntary Internet activities for the purpose of influencing a federal election without restriction. These exempted Internet activities would not result in a contribution or an expenditure under the Act and would not trigger any registration or reporting requirements with the FEC. This exemption applies to individuals acting with or without the knowledge or consent of a campaign or a political party committee. 100.94 and 100.155. Exempted Internet activities include, but are not limited to, sending or forwarding electronic mail, providing a hyperlink to a website, creating, maintaining or hosting a website and paying a nominal fee for the use of a website.
The 2016 elections are possibly shaping up to make "money in politics" a significant issue that will receive much publicity. Early in her campaign, Hillary Clinton has injected into the political debate the matter of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United case. Today's breaking story in The New York Times "Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company" will generate much public conversation about the role of "money in politics."

Consider how you could play into the Congressional calling campaign MAYDAY is trying to get going. The calling campaign in your Congressional district needs callers, and the "money in politics" issue needs publicity in your district, and that can call attention to the calling campaign. Putting yourself out as a Congressional candidate (but not subject to Federal campaign law restrictions), and getting friends and others to engage in volunteer Internet activity, could, in a couple months time, achieve material visibility in your district.

Think big. Think about campaign finance reformers in other Congressional districts becoming aware of what you are doing, and they say, "Hey, we (or one of us) can do this in our Congressional district."

Wow, wouldn't that be something if this got going in scores or hundreds of Congressional districts in 2015?

Double wow, I would say.
So, get going. become a Congressional candidate in your district.

EDIT 4/24: Start your district's CFR campaign this weekend


  1. I like this idea. Though I think we need to build a support infrastructure as well because without that candidates will never get elected. We need a plank (best to base it on E. Warren or Bernie Sander's list with some additions). And sometimes we need to find candidates other than ourselves. The big problem with American Politics is the focus on "fearless leaders". We need a bench; County Officers, local government, and State officers.

  2. Full reply:

  3. I've helped with a campaign for a candidate who had little chance of winning, and I don't think diverting resources away to smaller campaigns is how to tackle the campaign finance reform issue.
    Once CEA has been passed, then for citizens to run for office will be a viable and worthy and necessary thing. And it won't be quite so hard on the candidates running since their campaigns will have the benefit of being modestly, publicly funded.

    Rob, remember too that each state has different requirements for what is necessary to run and it's currently no small request to find candidates or be a candidate.

    I personally, would consider one day running, but never as a Dem/Rep. I couldn't.