Lawrence Lessig, best known for his critiques of copyright laws and the creation of the Creative Commons foundation, has recently shifted his attention to political corruption and changing the influence of money in government. Essentially he spent ten years arguing about copyright law, didn't get anywhere, and wondered why. His conclusion was that money has too much influence in politics and so he decided to turn away from copyright work and start trying to mobilize people, mainly via the internet, to try and change things. And I think he's right, if he can start a popular movement to bring something like the clean elections laws passed by Maine and Arizona to the Federal level we could actually change quite a bit. He's also very big on enhanced openness which I'm more skeptical about, but he's a smart guy and there may be ways to connect donations with votes more directly that we haven't thought of yet. What's more, Lessig has a rabid following among a web-savy, geeky, politically-minded set of people who conceivably could do a lot to promote transparency. This is what he's trying to work towards with his Change Congress website which will launch soon (see an interview about his plans here).

Conveniently, he also happens to live in the congressional district of recently deceased congressman Tom Lantos and he's now considering running for Congress. His introductory video is quite interesting. It makes it clear that he doesn't think his main opponent is a bad person--to the contrary he quite likes her--he just sees her as limited by the system. It's also worth noting that Lessig is uniquely well placed to run this kind of campaign both because the district has a relatively high concentration of techy sorts of people who he appeals to and because his fame on the internet and popularity among the netroots will allow him to raise enough money to compete in the San Francisco media market (The Hill has more on the race).

As Chris Hayes says, if this election wasn't interesting enough already...

--Sam Boyd