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ConConCon

David Segal, former Rhode Island state representative and Congressional candidate, has an interesting project in the works.

He is organizing a Conference on the Constitutional Convention (ConConCon), starring liberal Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig and conservative Mark Meckler, co-founder and a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, the largest grassroots tea party organization in the country.

The conference, scheduled for September 24-25 at Harvard Law School, will ask whether a constitutional convention, as allowed by Article V of the Constitution, might be the best way to fix a broken political system.

Two-thirds of state legislatures would have to pass resolutions calling for a convention. All sides would then have an opportunity to argue for amendments to the Constitution. Any proposed amendment would have to be approved by three-fourths of the states.

The organizers of ConConCon encourage supporters, opponents, and those ambivalent about a constitutional convention to participate in September.

One of the chief concerns is that a "runaway" constitutional convention might make hasty, misguided changes to American democracy. But with three-fourths of the states required to ratify any amendments, that seems a less-than-pressing worry.

Indeed, the high hurdle for passage raises a very different concern - a constitutional convention may be a useless exercise. But Segal says he's interested in exploring a convention because he favors significant campaign finance reform and believes it is one of the few reforms that could garner widespread support.

Of course, the left and right have fought bitterly in the past over what constitutes wise campaign finance reform. But it would be interesting to see what partisans operating outside the theater of Congress - where incumbents are wedded to the current system and, as of last year, constrained by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision - might dream up.

After all, at least some Tea Party types raised sharp concerns about the impacts of special interest money on politics in the wake of Citizens United, which opened the floodgates for companies and unions to spend on campaigns.

Is this a long shot? Yes. But it's an intriguing one.

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