A jokey-yet-serious campaign called Bribe the Senate, intended to get the U.S. Senate to at least discuss the idea of mandatory background checks on gun purchases, has hit a legal snag and its organizers are rethinking their approach—lest they end up in prison.
Four creatives at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners came up with the project (a personal one, not an agency endeavor), which was designed to raise money to offset donations from the gun lobby to six senators who could provide the swing votes to consider legislation on the topic. At midnight Thursday—100 days after the Senate voted to keep background checks from even being discussed—the campaign's website will count down to zero, at which point it was supposed to start collecting donations. Now, that won't happen.
"Honestly, we started this whole thing with the intent to fundraise for the bribes," says Simon Bruyn, one of the creatives. "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."
Instead, the site will simply direct tweets to the six senators and ask them to revisit their stance on the issue. Not so much as a bitcoin will change hands.
"We get it. Bribes are bad. You can't pay a politician to change their vote," says Emil Tiismann, another of the site's creators. "Next time we will form a proper political lobbying organization 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."
Tiismann adds: "Please don't send us to jail for this. 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."
Jacob Sempler and Andrew Livingston were the other two creatives who built the campaign. Check out its appeal video below.