In a move likely to alienate many Granite Staters, a national organization dedicated to ending the corrupting influence of special interest money in politics has donated over $100,000 to a New Hampshire group whose leader actively opposes its efforts.
Mayday PAC is the super PAC created by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig to help elect candidates to Congress who will reform the way political campaigns are funded. New Hampshire political committee reports indicate the group recently donated $103,500 to Stark 360, a new super PAC dedicated to transforming the Republican Party to a “party of liberty.”
Lessig launched his effort to curb special interest money in politics with NH Rebellion, a campaign inspired by Doris Haddock. In 1999, the 88-year old grandmother known as Granny D walked from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to promote campaign finance reform.
The professor and activist partnered with Open Democracy, the New Hampshire organization founded by Granny D. In January, Lessig and supporters walked the length of New Hampshire, from Dixville Notch to Nashua, to publicize the campaign.
Open Democracy then focused on passing legislation in New Hampshire that requires the full disclosure of political spending by special-interest organizations. That legislation, Senate Bill 120, was approved by the New Hampshire legislature in June and signed into law by Gov. Hassan.
Meanwhile, Lessig announced the formation of Mayday PAC and raised over $7 million in the first two months. One of the first candidates the group endorsed was Jim Rubens, who is running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
Stark 360 also endorsed Rubens, citing his support for “repealing Obamacare, auditing the Federal Reserve, and defunding the NSA.” A portion of the Mayday funding is reportedly going to pay campaign workers who participate in Stark’s Anybody But Brown campaign.
Stark’s chairman, Aaron Day, wears several libertarian hats. He chairs the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, which works to elect libertarian Republicans. Day is also chairman of the Free State Project, the controversial group attempting to persuade 20,000 “liberty-loving” individuals to move to New Hampshire and “exert the fullest practical effort” to dismantling government.
Day is a vocal opponent of efforts to reform campaign finance. He referred to the SB 120 legislation championed by Open Democracy, for example, as “The Incumbent Protection, Racketeering, and Nullification of the 1st Amendment Bill.”
One of the goals identified by Stark 360 in its prospectus is to win “a pro-liberty majority” for Republicans in the state legislature and return Bill O’Brien to his former role as Speaker of the House.
O’Brien leaves no doubt where he stands on campaign finance reform. "Every time you hear a Democrat say that we need a Constitutional Amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision,” he writes, “understand what they really want: the government to have the authority to regulate, tax, and deny independent political speech.”