Campaign Cash Reformers: If You Can't Beat'em, Join'em

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A group of campaign-finance reformers has a novel way to begin ending the current Super PAC era of big money in politics -- by starting a Super PAC of their own.

Mayday PAC, formed at the start of this month, intends to spend up to $12 million on five congressional races this year, targeting Democratic and Republican members opposed to campaign-finance reform, says founder Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor. Lessig, however, declined to identify these five targeted members.

And he hopes to use this 2014 activity as a springboard for an even bigger campaign in 2016.

“We want to fight back. Our democracy is held hostage by the funders of campaigns. We’re going to pay the ransom and get it back,” Lessig said in an video announcing this Super PAC.

“We want to build a Super PAC big enough to end all Super PACs,” he added.

Other members of Mayday PAC include former George W. Bush media consultant Mark McKinnon and former Federal Election Commission Chair Trevor Potter, a Republican.

Lessig tells NBC News that Mayday PAC has already raised more than $1 million in contributions from 11,000 donors (so about $90 per donor), and that the amount will increase from a combination of large and small donations

Among the campaign-finance reforms Lessig advocates is giving matching funds to campaigns financed by small-dollar donations.

Asked about the possible contradiction of creating a new Super PAC to change the current campaign-finance system, Lessig responded, “We are using the tools that are available to get us a democracy that we could respect.”

He admitted that the move was “ironic,” before adding: “But there is nothing wrong with being ironic.”