By Paul JosseyOf course, another possibility also exists. Lessig may now be a reluctant apostate to the transparency cause—channeling less Leona Helmsley than Barack Obama. On numerous issues—e.g. Guantanamo,
recess appointments, debt ceiling—candidate Obama found fault with his predecessor. But once in office and faced with the realities of governing, President Obama continued policies he had once pilloried. Lessig, in his role this cycle as political operative, was privy to a different world than his previous forays as academic theorist and Senate Committee pontificator.One lesson Lessig admitted learning when he finally returned to public view after his midterm shellacking was ‘transparency has its costs.’ He complained one incumbent Mayday PAC tried to unseat pressured some of its donors.Untoward political pressure on donors is apparently a new experience for Lessig’s patrons. But anyone following Harry Reid’s six-month tirade against wealthy conservative donors, or the pre-FEC exploits of disclosure doyenne Ann Ravelknows how operatives exploit disclosure laws. Last spring, for example, technology executive Brendan Eich was bullied out of his job after activists garishly bandied a six-year old donation he had made to an unpopular cause.