Lawrence Lessig on How Cash Corrupts Congress

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Thirteen percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest Gallup poll. That low approval rating — up from an all-time low of nine percent in November — may be because raising money appears to be a major priority for politicians of all stripes.

Activist and scholar Lawrence Lessig spoke with Bill Moyers last year about why a focus on political fundraising leads to distorted policymaking and corruption in our government. “Remember the old image of the Skinner box, that, you have the rat, learning which buttons to push to get the food. Well, our congressmen live in a Skinner box. They live 30 to 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress,” Lessig tells Moyers.

Watch the full 2013 interview »

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  • Greg Zeglen

    if you didn’t already know this why do you allow yourself to vote…this is not news or a surprise…even the president uses corporate money to finance his campaigns…wake up citizens…wake the hell up!!

  • Veteran

    When 100 million more people vote the campaign “contests” will shrink because even the rich billionaires won’t part with that much money to buy votes for their henchmen in congress and for the oval office.

  • Brian

    Well said Aaron. Your response is my-soapbox-exactly, point-for-point (except for the ending about the earth orbiting the sun). I fully agree that the party-wars only serve as a smokescreen to prevent us from resolving the core issue — which is the “rules of the game” for how our govt’ achieves its funding. Somehow we, the 90%, need to break past this phase of just venting on website, and form an actual coalition to force government to change these rules. Let’s recapture our democracy.