Scholar and activist Lawrence Lessig co-founded the Mayday Political Action Committee to help fund the campaigns of Congressional candidates who show a commitment to fighting corruption.
But this week, Lessig, a Harvard professor, took the unusual step of getting involved in New York State politics. A longtime friend of Zephyr Teachout, the Democrat running against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the September 9 primary, Lessig on Wednesday called on his prominent list of Mayday supporters to contribute to Teachout’s campaign.
Lessig, who said he also encouraged Teachout to seek the governor’s office, said it's important to support a candidate who has spoken out in support of campaign reform — one of Teachout’s platforms.
“Democrats and Republicans both have got to recognize the fundamental corruption of our political system and the way in which it completely alienates ordinary Americans from participating,” Lessig told WNYC on Friday.
Lessig, who also directs an ethics center at the Ivy League University, said he was disturbed by news reports that members of the Cuomo administration interfered with the work of a commissioner created to fight corruption.
“What that does is make a mockery of the idea of an anti-corruption candidate,” Lessig said.
The Cuomo campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Teachout’s camp said Lessig’s support generated quick cash. Within 24 hours, it saw more than $70,000 roll in for a total of $473,516 in campaign cash on Friday.
The Cuomo campaign remains well ahead, with $32 million in the governor’s war chest.