Mayday PAC

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Mayday PAC
President:Lawrence Lessig
Year created:May 2014
The Mayday PAC is a Super PAC founded by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig on May 1, 2014. Its goal is achieve "fundamental reform in the way political campaigns are funded by 2016."[1] The Super PAC aims to achieve this goal by helping to "elect lawmakers of both parties who support proposals to diminish the influence of big donors."[1] The group received criticism for trying to fight big money's influence in politics by spending large amounts of money. In response, Lessig developed the motto, "Embrace the irony."[2]

Throughout the 2014 election cycle, the Mayday PAC spent $7,888,825 on eight races around the country.[3] They invested in five pilot races during the 2014 U.S. House elections along with three U.S. Senate elections.[1] Of all eight races, only two of the candidates endorsed by the Mayday PAC -- Walter Jones (R) in North Carolina and Ruben Gallego (D) in Arizona -- won their elections.

According to reports from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Mayday PAC raised over $10 million leading up to the general election.[4] The Super PAC had raised about half of this money prior to July 2014, from roughly 52,000 donors.[5] The group anticipated raising and spending $12 million in the 2014 election cycle, but fell short of their goal.[1]

Election involvement


Throughout the 2014 election cycle, the Mayday PAC spent money on the following U.S. House and Senate races:[3]

The Mayday PAC initially spent money on just the following two elections:

  • Iowa: The Mayday PAC supported Democratic candidate Staci Appel against Republican David Young in the race for the 3rd Congressional seat in Iowa. Republican incumbent Tom Latham did not run for re-election, leaving an open seat. Young defeated Appel in the general election.[1]


Campaign finance complaint

In November 2014, the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), accusing the Mayday PAC of violating campaign finance law. The complaint stated that various ads put forth by the Super PAC did not contain the required disclaimers. The CCP stated, "no matter how silly or pointless these hyper-technical disclaimer requirements may seem, the law is the law."[6] The group's president, David Keating, added, "The hypocrisy is stunning. The Mayday PAC board and advisors constitute a who’s who of advocates for more speech regulations, yet either they didn’t understand the already complex law or they simply ignored it. If it’s the latter, what Mayday PAC seems to be saying to the public is that if you are big enough, and have the ‘right’ advisors, and care enough about campaign finance regulation, the law doesn’t apply to you. The FEC should make crystal clear that the law does apply to groups such as Mayday PAC."[6]

External links