What better way to kill the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill for good than to nuke its author right out of Congress? That's what a group of Reddit users are trying to do after forming a Political Action Committee, or PAC. They want Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX.) booted out of office, and will do everything they can to see it happen.
The group originally formed as "Operation: Pull Ryan" back in January when the Internet lashed out in response to SOPA, targeting Rep. Paul Ryan for his SOPA support. Once they became a PAC, the group renamed itself as TestPAC and began recruiting "an astonishing amount of" skilled people for its all-volunteer membership.
"The great thing about this is that everyone involved, we take their input and we have debates and discussions, we put things up to vote and ultimately it’s the voice of the participants that’s heard here," said Jeromie Whalen, the PAC’s chair. He claims that all decisions made by the group are based on a democratic vote.
So far TestPAC has raised $10,000 USD, but the goal is $25,000. The money thus far has been used to purchase a billboard in Smith's hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and an anti-Smith ad that's running on TV stations across Texas. The billboard itself is expected to be seen by at least 400,000 people each week.
"Our objective here is to target the primary election and make this a cause in the primary election, where we have a much greater chance of defeating him and getting someone else who has an anti-SOPA stance and is pro-Internet rights," Whalen told Mashable.
The ad agency used by TestPAC wouldn't let them run a negative ad against Smith without showing some kind of favor for his opponents, Richard Morgan and Richard Mack. Given they don't support either GOP challengers, the Reddit group had to be creative. The result was a billboard that voted for "Richard M." while throwing on the unseatamar.com web address. Pretty clever.
TestPAC is looking to defeat Smith in the Republican primary. The Texas primary, scheduled for May 29, is also an open primary which allows anyone to cast a vote despite their party affiliation. As for other possible targets, there are none: TestPAC wants Smith, and Smith only.
"I would say that our biggest concern is removing Lamar Smith from Congress, due to the fact that he has made it clear he would rather listen to corporate entertainment rather than his constituents," Whalen said. "We want to make TestPAC a campaign for national awareness for the rights of Americans in the digital age."
Still, even if Smith is kicked out of Congress, that won't stop another politician from filling his shoes. Currently both SOPA and PIPA are dead in the water, requiring extensive changes. But eventually these bill will be resurrected because ultimately that's what Hollywood and the RIAA want, giving groups like TestPAC something new to focus on.
For more information about TestPAC, head here.