Three dollars may be all it takes to get a politician to listen. At least, that’s what two law school students are hoping.
JJ England and Mallorie Grehn, second-year law students at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Ore., started the $3 Change for Change Challenge. The non-partisan, grassroots project directs $3 “money bombs” toward political candidates who support campaign finance reform, either through a constitutional amendment or law changes, England said.
It all began when England saw President Barack Obama’s Reddit chat from a few weeks ago, he said. In the chat, the president called for legislative reforms or a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case.
In the case, the Supreme Court allowed unlimited corporate spending in U.S. elections.
England said it was then that he decided to donate $3 to Obama or any other candidate who expressed support for campaign finance reform. Through its website, Change for Change publicizes targeted actions directing Americans to support a candidate by donating $3 to his or her campaign within a given time, England said.
If enough people participate, the effort should register in the candidates’ donation tracking systems, he said.
“The idea is to use that not necessarily as a means of raising money for those candidates, but to use it as a messaging tool to really allow people to voice their concern and voice their support for candidates who strongly support this,” England said.
Drew McGehrin, Penn State College Democrats president, said current regulations enable corporations to have more influence on candidates than people who may donate less — like students.
Right now, the project is targeting its actions to benefit Tammy Baldwin, Democratic U.S. senatorial candidate from Wisconsin, but the targeted action should hit Pennsylvania before the election cycle is over, England said.
Penn State College Republicans Chairman Jordan Harris said a lot of groups are spending money in Pennsylvania, to the benefit of politicians. It’s an issue all Americans should be concerned about, he said.
Harris said he believes the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Citizens United case aligns with the Constitution. But America’s political system is broken, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.