NAME: Ned Wigglesworth
JOB TITLE: Analyst, therestofus.org
Capitol Weekly: How did you get started doing campaign watchdog work
Ned Wigglesworth: I was doing citizen outreach in Chicago for the Fund for
Public Interest Research and looking around to make some good and beneficial
use of my law degree and started interviewing with some nonprofits and
stumbled across this one. It’s right down my alley. It’s getting citizens
more involved, more interested and more responsible for the actions of their
government. TheRestOfUs was just getting started when I came out here and
our basic mission is to deepen public support for campaign finance reform.
CW: And how many people work for full-time for TheRestOfUs?
NW: One. That’s me. And our director Derek Cressman works three-quarters
CW: You have been on the Daily Show with John Stewart. Can you describe that
NW: Well, I was in Ohio working on some initiatives there. The way I heard
about it, I was walking along the street in Columbus, Ohio on my way to a
meeting and a buddy called and asked if I had seen myself on the Daily Show.
And immediately I was horrified and terrified about what might be on there.
CW: What the segment about?
NW: It was about Schwarzenegger and supplements and the ridiculous contract.
I did an interview with some reporter in LA and some stoner writer for the
Daily Show was probably sitting on his couch at 10:30 at night and saw my
name and started giggling and sent it to Lewis Black.
CW: So you did not sit down with a Daily Show correspondent?
NW: No no no. I think I found out a day after it ran. But I had given the
interview a week or ten days before it ran. It just came out of nowhere. And
I was so huge.
CW: What do you think got the attention of the Daily Show?
The goofyness of the name. The purpose of the appearance. For a long time I
was hoping there might be a reemergence of the Dukes of Hazard that I might
be able to get a piece of but no such luck.
CW: Did that drive up traffic to the Web site?
NW: It was part traffic to the Web site and it was part people calling from
my deep and dark past of high school, college and law school touching base
and that I hadn’t talked to for years. So it was both cool and scary–just
depending on the call.
CW: Does the TheRestOfUs focus only on Sacramento politics?
NW: Our mission is to cover the country–both at the state level and at the
federal level and it’s really easy here is California to gain traction both
because of the huge amounts of money in California politics and because we
are here on the ground and it is easier to talk to people and do TV
interviews. But our job is to cover the country.
CW: What donations has your group brought to light in California?
NW: It’s impossible not to notice how much money is being spent in
California politics. And we do a decent job in providing some context for
that and also in raising some issues about both the general problem and
specific candidates who are breaking the law. There are donors out there who
are basically trying to throw their weight around when it comes to the
decisions our government is making.
CW: Anyone in particular?
NW: Nobody in this state has clean hands when it comes to money. Both
Democrats and Republicans are equally responsible for California politics.
So I wouldn’t point out one person–not even the man over there in the
CW: Any other long-term goals?
NW: Campaign finance is a pivotal and important issue for democracy. Even if
we got all the reforms that we wanted to, there are still some cultural
issues that we need to deal with. Over time I would like to extend our focus
to those cultural issues.