Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Startup turns lobbying into crowdfunding campaigns

CrowdLobby buys you a lobbyist -- though not necessarily real change.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 30, 2019
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

sframephoto via Getty Images

Corporate lobbyists have a lot of sway over American politics, but a startup might have a way to bring power back to everyday people: crowdfunding. CrowdLobby's recently launched platform asks people to back campaigns around community-submitted issues, with successful efforts funding an appropriate lobbyist who advocates for the cause. The general target is $50,000, or about enough to influence politics at the state level.

The initial rollout is limited to three campaigns in the company's home of Virginia, such as decriminalizing marijuana and equal funding for students. Other states are coming by 2020 at the latest, the company told TechCrunch. There is a 25 percent processing fee, although CrowdLobby said this delivered full service that included ongoing communications with lobbyists.

You're only obtaining a lobbyist's time, not a guarantee of change -- after all, the lobbyist may be competing against companies with deep pockets and overly cozy relationships with politicians. And co-founder Heidi Drauschak is quick to admit this is more of a quick fix than a long-term solution for the existing lobbying system. "Until we can totally change the whole structure, we have to play the game," she said.

This could still give more of the general public a voice, though, and might be particularly helpful for issues that would otherwise receive little legislative attention. If nothing else, it demonstrates how online crowdfunding can be useful for more than backing clever gadgets and people facing hard times.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The Arcwave Ion is designed to 'give men a female orgasm'

The Arcwave Ion is designed to 'give men a female orgasm'

View
The Morning After: Our first impressions of the Xbox Series X

The Morning After: Our first impressions of the Xbox Series X

View
Nissan's Re-Leaf prototype is a mobile power supply for disaster response

Nissan's Re-Leaf prototype is a mobile power supply for disaster response

View
Xbox Series X first look: Fast, powerful and quiet

Xbox Series X first look: Fast, powerful and quiet

View
Amazon One uses your palm to approve store purchases

Amazon One uses your palm to approve store purchases

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr