Bribe the Senate, a tongue- in-cheek campaign launched in all seriousness nine days ago to get the discussion of mandatory background checks on gun purchases back on the US Senate’s agenda, has run into some legal hot water – bribing is illegal.
“Honestly, we started this whole thing with the intent to fundraise for the bribes. But the lawyers were very adamant that this was go-to-jail illegal. Not just for us, but for anybody who donated. So we had to change our approach late in the game,” said Simon Bruyn, one of the four creative behind the site.
Bruyn developed the initiative along with Emil Tiismann, Jacob Sempler and Andrew Livingston, all four of whom are creatives at advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.
Initially the group suggested that the American public should outthink the gun lobby and crowd-fund a little “financial persuasion” to see if senators would be willing to change their votes and actually debate gun-purchase background checks.
“It bummed us out that less than 100 days ago the country was talking about—and largely agreeing with—the idea of background checks for gun purchases. Then, the Senate refused to debate it, and it fell off the radar,” said Bruyn.
The original plan was to start collecting donations at midnight tonight, which officially marks 100 days after the Senate voted to keep background checks from even being discussed.
But, in light of some hefty legal advice, the site will now direct tweets to the six targeted senators and ask them to revisit their stance on the issue.
“We get it. Bribes are bad. You can’t pay a politician to change their vote” said Tiismann. “Next time we will form a proper political lobbying organisation so that we can collect unlimited cash in order to have a meaningful political conversation with our elected officials where we strongly express our opinions.”
“Please don’t send us to jail for this,” added Tiismann. “We’d hate to have to share a cell with a mentally-ill killer who bought his murder weapon at a gun show without a background check.”