Co.Create

Bribing Senate Deemed Illegal; Gun Control Crowdfunders Take to Twitter

After lawyers deemed illegal a group’s attempt to crowdfund money to counter-bribe senators who’d accepted money from gun lobbyists, the group started a Twitter campaign instead.

The issue of gun control has gotten less press in recent months as political media attention has shifted to topics like NSA surveillance and challenges to women’s reproductive rights. But that doesn’t mean it’s not top of mind for many people.

Back in April, congress voted against even discussing stricter gun-purchase background checks, a measure that 90% of Americans said they were behind. The following month, Co.Create mentioned how the voting records of some senators involved didn’t seem to match their public positions. Now, after a group of creatives at agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco found that some senators accepted contributions from gun lobbyists, they decided they’d like to make a counteroffer.

Bribe the Senate is the group’s cheekily titled effort to turn the tables on those in the Senate who are susceptible to the gun lobby by crowdfunding a matching offer. As was eventually explained by a team of lawyers, however, this approach was not only illegal for the site’s creators, but for everybody who actually donated. This minor hiccup has not derailed the team’s efforts to at least bring attention back to the issue of gun control in congress.

Rather than collecting donations, the creators started a Twitter campaign on July 26 against six senators in particular who accepted money from the gun lobby, asking them to revisit their stance on the issue. (These are the senators they were going to offer to bribe. The group encourages interested parties to tweet those senators (listed on the website) with the hashtag #bribethesenate. It might not be as effective as an actual bribe, but it’s more discreet and far more legal.