Citizens Walk for Campaign Finance Reform in New Hampshire

photo by Bruce Skarin

Organized by Lawrence Lessig and his group, Rootstrikers, the New Hampshire Rebellion Walk gathered citizens from across the state to participate in a 185 mile walk – in January –  to raise awareness of the issue of money in government, and support for asking 2016 a simple question: what will they do to end the system of corruption in Washington? More walks are planned for July.

Inspired by Doris Haddock’s 1999 DC to LA walk urging campaign finance reform, the New Hampshire Rebellion walk continues the work of recruiting citizens to the movement to end the system of corruption that has a stranglehold on the US government.

The organizers of the walk seek to clarify the difference between criminal corruption (bribes, illegal activity, etc) and the systemic corruption, which is legal, that plagues our system, and which skews the way citizens are represented in government in the direction of money. They explain on their site:

Members of Congress spend anywhere between 30% and 70% of their time raising money to fund their campaigns or the campaigns of their colleagues. Yet they raise that money from the tiniest fraction of Americans. No more than 0.05% of Americans — about 150,000 people — are significant funders of congressional campaigns. Our campaign funding system thus makes our Congress dependent upon this tiny and unrepresentative slice of America.

Money, argues Lessig, a legal scholar and Harvard professor, was never meant to be so divorced from votes. As explained on the site:

The Framers of our Constitution had a different idea. They wanted a Republic with a Congress, as Madison put it, “dependent on the people alone.” When we talk about corruption in our current system for funding campaigns, we are talking about a corruption of the system that the Framers designed – our Republic. We want to build a movement to end that system of corruption.

With a system of small-donor campaign financing in place, US democracy would begin immediately to work again in service of the people.

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