On Aug. 11, 2015, the news media picked up on the plans of Larry Lessig, the Harvard Law professor and anti-corruption activist, to run for president in the Democratic primaries.
Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, apparently was not pleased.
“You know what average Americans need?” Tanden appears to have written in an email allegedly obtained in a massive hack of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account. “The smugness of Larry Lessig.”
“I f — king hate that guy,” Podesta appears to reply in the email. “Like I’d like to kick the s — t out of him on Twitter … but I know that is dumb.”
At the time, Lessig was coming off a stint at MayDay PAC — a “super PAC to end super PACs” by getting money out of politics — and exploring whether a single-issue money-in-politics candidacy could advance his cause.
When the email was released Tuesday as part of the latest of WikiLeaks’s tranches, Lessig was leaving Iceland — where he is part of a group of anti-corruption activists observing the Pirate Party’s general election campaign — for a family visit to New York. He published his response to journalists on his blog.
“I can’t for the life of me see the public good in a leak like this — at least one that reveals no crime or violation of any important public policy,” wrote Lessig. “We all deserve privacy. The burdens of public service are insane enough without the perpetual threat that every thought shared with a friend becomes Twitter fodder. Neera has only ever served in the public (and public interest) sector. Her work has always and only been devoted to advancing her vision of the public good. It is not right that she should bear the burden of this sort of breach.”
Lessig is the second primary rival of Clinton to be criticized in the hacked email archives. The other, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has repeatedly rebuffed questions about the emails and continued to campaign for Clinton and Democratic candidates.