Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination on the single-issue platform of election reform, airing the first TV ad of his campaign Wednesday, targeting GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio for being backed by corporate money.
The Lessig campaign, which raised $1 million in the last month, described the ad buy as significant in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, likely giving voters their first exposure to his eccentric candidacy.
The 15-second spot opens with question “Who owns Marco Rubio?” written across the screen, followed by video footage of Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican, at a podium giving a speech as corporate logos — Honeywell, Wells Fargo, KKP Financial Holdings, Goldman Sachs — pop up across the screen and begin to cover Mr. Rubio.
“This is what our political system has turned into,” the female narrator says. “Larry Lessig is the only presidential candidate with the will and the way to fix it.”
Mr. Lessig, who has close ties to Silicon Valley, has vowed to serve only as long as it takes to implement his election law reforms, promising to get out of office in a soon as one year after accomplishing his goal and turn the presidency over to his running mate.
The Lessig campaign boasted that the TV ad, which is intended to show how big-money donors are controlling Republican candidates for president, are the first ads by any Democratic presidential candidate to take direct aim at their Republican opponents.
“Larry is a threat to the political establishment because he is the only Presidential candidate in either party who is serious about taking on the big money interests that have taken over our elections,” said Steve Jarding, senior advisor to the Lessig campaign. “It’s the First Issue that has to be dealt with in order to end the legalized bribery that is destroying our elections and our government. Pick any other issue or problem, and our lawmakers won’t get around to fixing it until we remove the hold their donors have on them.”
Mr. Lessig has been excluded for the first Democratic presidential debate next week in Las Vegas, which remains a sore point of his campaign.
“What’s incomprehensible is why the Democratic National Committee and the TV news organizations would still refuse to put someone outside the political system onstage to debate political insiders. At a time when voters want more choices among candidates— and more answers from those candidates— an important voice is being censored,” said Mr. Jarding.
Mr. Lessig’s plan include establishing automatic voter registration, weekend Election Day voting, multi-member congressional districts, restrictions on government officials becoming lobbyists and publicly funded congressional and presidential campaigns.
Under Mr. Lessig’s reforms, voters would get vouchers to direct public funding to their chosen candidate and candidates could earn matching fund for small donations.