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HARVARD PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR LAWRENCE LESSIG SPEAKS AT MSU

By Doug Doyle, WBGO News
Montclair. April 24, 2013

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Lawrence Lessig, the notable author, political activist and Professor of Law and Ethics a Harvard University says campaign financing has to be reworked.

"So when members of Congress spend all of that time raising money from the tiniest fraction of us, developing a sixth sense, a constant awareness about how wha they do will affect their ability to raise from that tiny, tiny fraction of us, it's no surprise that they are no longer responsive to the broad range of issues that most Americans care about."

Lessig helped kick off Montclair State University's School of Commnication and Media's inaugural Salon Series panel discussion event at the John J. Cali School of Music.

Lessig has his own plan to change campaign fundraising.

"Take the first 50 dollars that everybody pays in taxes, and everybody pays at least 50 dollars in taxes, and rebate it in the form of a democracy voucher.  And with that voucher  you can give it to any candidate who agrees to fund his or her campaigns with vouchers plus contributions capped at a hundred dollars per citizen.  So what that means is that you would have a system where at most seven billion dollars would be in the system to fund elections, that's three times the amount of money that was raised and spent on the last election but it would be coming from a wide range of Americans, not just the tiniest fraction of the one percent."

in 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, an organization dedicated to reducing the influence of money in Congress.  He examines the issue in his book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress - and a Plan to Stop It.

Lessig took questions from the audience as well.  He was joined on the panel by Merrill Brown, the director of MSU's School of Communication and Media and Bridgid Harrison, professor of political Science and Law at Montclair State.

The free series, sponsored by James Leitner, invites notable guest speakers to share their expertise and thoughts to the Montclair community.

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