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Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pocketsby Peter Schweizer
Synopses & Reviews
Something fundamental has changed in Washington. The problem used to be that special interests clogged up the system by showering money on politicians. Now the dynamic is reversed: politicians extort the money from us, then use it to buy each other’s votes.
The problem of money in American politics has become so staggering that it’s almost too overwhelming to understand. Why are so few bills passed? Why do so many problems seem to linger on and on despite voters’ demands that they be solved? Why is Washington so broken?
Thanks to an extraordinary effort by Peter Schweizer and the staff of the Government Accountability Institute, we finally have an answer: money prefers dysfunction. And money rules Washington in a whole new way—by extortion.
Our politicians refuse to schedule votes until corporations and individuals pay up. They play one industry off against another for months or years while milking both sides for funds. They pass complex bills so that when they leave public service they can hire themselves out as guides to that very complexity. Worst of all, they use the recent innovation of “leadership PACs” to buy loyalty and votes.
Our leaders no longer care about us; they care only about their war chests.
Extortion is a bombshell of a book that reveals:
* how both political parties maintain a secret dues list, forcing members of Congress to pay to maintain key leadership positions.
* how those key leaders, in turn, use their positions to extort money from donors.
* how leadership PACs are used to underwrite politicians’ lifestyles and purchase each other’s loyalties.
* how the Department of Justice has radically expanded the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to shake down key targets—while ignoring much more obvious targets on Wall Street.
After naming names and revealing the shocking extent of the problem, Schweizer argues persuasively that we can do better. If Washington adopted some of the ethics laws that govern state politicians, we would be better off. If Congress outlawed leadership PACs, we would be better off. Most of all, if voters understand all the facts in Extortion, we ourselves can rise in revolt.
A major new expose of financial outrages in Washington, by the best-selling author and investigative journalist.
Following in the footsteps of Throw Them All Out, another work of investigative reporting from Peter Schweizer and the Government Accountability Institute, blowing the lid off an even bigger part of the Washington system.
“Schweizer names guilty parties . . . He exposes powerful figures in politics, law firms, and corporations.” — Forbes
Washington is no longer about lawmaking, its about moneymaking
Conventional wisdom holds that Washington is broken because outside special interests bribe politicians. The reverse is true: politicians have developed a new set of brass-knuckle legislative tactics designed to extort wealthy industries and donors into forking over big donations — cash that lawmakers often funnel into the pockets of their friends and family.
Inside this best-selling bombshell of a book, Schweizer reveals the exorbitant secret “fees” each political party charges politicians for top committee assignments; how fourteen members of Congress bagged hundreds of thousands of dollars using a little-known self-loan loophole; how politicians use PACs to bankroll lavish lifestyles; and much more. Washingtons extortion racket has gone unreported — until now.
Conventional wisdom holds that Washington is broken because outside special interests bribe politicians. The reverse is true: politicians have developed a new set of brass-knuckle legislative tactics designed to extort wealthy industries and donors into forking over big donations — cash that lawmakers often funnel into the pockets of their friends and family. Until now, Washingtons extortion scheme has gone unreported. Yet thanks to an extraordinary effort by Peter Schweizer and the investigative staff of the Government Accountability Institute, we now know the racketeering methods and the players who profit from them. Exhaustively researched and compellingly told, Extortion names names as it pulls back the curtain to reveal the shocking new racket ruling Washington.
About the Author
PETER SCHWEIZER is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and he is the founder and director of the Government Accountability Institute. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek/Daily Beast, and elsewhere. His books include Throw Them All Out, which exposed congressional insider stock trading and led to the passage of the STOCK Act.
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