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Law Blog Q&A With Lawrence Lessig

Publication Date: 
February 12, 2008
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Dan Slater

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog's Dan Slater interviewed Professor Lawrence Lessig about his new focus on "corroding influence on money in politics":

Now you’re changing your focus to eliminating the ill-effects of money in politics. Why the switch?

Well, I came to realize that there was a more fundamental problem. The intellectual issues at stake in the copyright debate aren’t very hard. But you look across the range of issues that the government is involved in there’s a whole host that, in my view, are affected by the corroding influence of money. I don’t have any problem with money. Money is great in the right place, but it’s not great in your engine. And it’s not great in certain ways that distort the policy-making process.

What exactly is distorted?

In the academic context, there’s corruption in the way that testimony is being bought, which changes how people research. But it’s most directly seen in the political process – from the system of earmarks to extraordinarily expensive campaigns.