More than seven years ago, Aaron Swartz, the cofounder of Demand Progress, convinced me to give up my work on copyright and Internet policy, and take up the fight against corruption.
That fall, we started Change Congress, and for the next five years, we conspired on the best way to build a grassroots movement around this issue — because we both realized that was the only way we could ever win. Washington will not fix itself. We have to fix it for it.
Then a federal prosecutor distracted him. And then destroyed him. And the hope that I had — that someday he would return to this fight, and help us win it — was over.
All of us know how difficult that loss was. But when I had recovered enough to think, I resolved again to do everything that I could to win the fight that he had started me on.
I spoke at TED 6 weeks after he died, laying out the argument as clearly as I could for the reform we needed. And last March, again at TED, I announced the most ambitious plan this reform movement has ever had: that by Aaron’s 30th birthday — election day, 2016 — we would win a Congress committed to fundamental reform.
Our idea is to run this campaign in two stages — in 2014, with a pilot to test the strategy and prove we can win, and then in 2016, with a full scale campaign to win.
We estimate the cost of the 2014 plan will be $12 million, and we decided to raise at least 1/2 through a kickstarter-like campaign.
I set the initial goal at $1 million in 30 days.
We raised it in 13 days.
Now we have launched a second, and insanely more difficult campaign to raise $5 million by July 4. If we meet that goal, and I get it matched, then we have the funds we need to win the campaigns we need in 2014, on our way to winning in 2016.
Very few believe we can do this. But I do. If we can get a million people to view our site, we will meet our goal.
You are part of the million person army that Aaron helped to build, and that the Demand Progress team now continues to grow. Aaron pushed me to make this my cause. Let me push you now to at least pledge.
Thank you for all you have done. And thank you especially if you can help us to do this critical bit too.
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