A November 16 letter from Lawrence Lessig announces the merger of four organizations all working to get big money out of politics:
I am writing with some great news about Rootstrikers, Change Congress, and the Fix Congress First projects.
Over the past few months, a number of very significant funders of reform have decided that enough is enough. Led by Arnold Hiatt, former Chairman of Stride Rite, they have decided to form national powerhouse to advance sweeping reforms.
This is fantastic news for the movement, and for me. United Republic, the new organization, launches today at unitedrepublic.org, with a mandate to enact and inspire an extraordinary range of new and powerful work. We are also merging with the 250,000 members of MSNBC’s host Dylan Ratigan’s “Get Money Out” campaign.
United Republic will be led by one of the most effective political organizers I have known – Josh Silver, who ran the campaign in Arizona to get public funding enacted, and founded media reform group Free Press.
Because of their leadership, I will be able to focus on spreading this message effectively.
That message, as you’ve seen, has had to morph. However difficult it was to imagine Congress passing a bill to fund congressional elections before the Republicans took control of the House, it is impossible to imagine that right now.
Instead, as I’ve traveled across the country speaking about my book, I have been struck by how far we still must go to get people to connect the dots – to see the link between whatever issue they care about and the role of money in politics. Again and again, I have been driven back to a favorite line in Thoreau’s Walden:
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
What we need now is to recruit millions who are striking at the root. Millions who are helping others to see how every issue is tied to the money. And how we won’t make progress across a wide range of issues – whether you’re from the Right or the Left – until we address this fundamental corruption.
From now on, our efforts, along with the Get Money Out campaign, will all be merged with United Republic. Joining forces is the only chance we have to create the critical mass necessary to win this vital issue.
With this in mind, I’m asking you to do one thing today. Forward this email to ten friends, have them go to this link, and get them to join our movement. We will not send them lots of emails asking them to sign ineffective petitions. We will enlist them in a cutting edge movement to get big money out of politics. Getting them – and millions more – involved is our only hope of reaching critical mass.
When we started this project, it was clear there was a long road ahead. There remains a long road ahead. But for the first time I feel confident that we’re pulling together the leadership, resources and infrastructure that might make this fight winnable.
This is not the first time followers of Lessig have heard of Arnold Hiatt, described here as “former Chairman of Stride Rite” and leader of “a number of very significant funders of reform.” He’s the one Lessig describes as speaking out, in a meeting of a bunch of fat cats with Bill Clinton, against the disproportionate political influence of the rich and powerful, only to be publicly humiliated by Clinton for his trouble. It’s to honor Hiatt that when Lessig gives one of his inimitable presentations on money in politics, he wears Keds, which are made by Stride Rite.