Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp—on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics

Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp—on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics

Kenneth P. Vogel

Language: English

Pages: 335

ISBN: 2:00239803

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A Supreme Court decision, combined with regulatory gridlock and legal tricks, have fundamentally changed the role of money in politics in recent years, upending traditional bases of political power. Campaign decisions once made by party officials are now in the hands of super-rich benefactors and the consultants competing for their attention—and for increasingly lucrative commissions and fees. It’s as if, instead of a football coach on the sidelines calling the plays, every player and his agent decided what was best.

This, not surprisingly, has led to chaos on the playing field. In Big Money, POLITICO reporter Ken Vogel will combine a big picture explanation of the evolution of campaign financing over the past decade—filled with colorful anecdotes about the folks behind the changes—with reporting and analysis of how this new style of politics, triggered by the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling in January 2010, is likely to impact the 2014 and 2016 elections and all those into the foreseeable future. It will examine the motivation, loyalties and modus operandi of some of the wealthiest donors in American politics, as well as those of the operatives who have used the new cash flow to get rich, while also forever changing the way political campaigns are waged in this country.

Vogel has been able to get inside the back rooms where the real action occurs in Big Money American politics—and not only figuratively. He sneaked into secretive donor summits held by the conservative Koch brothers and a liberal club affiliated with billionaire financier George Soros (though he was removed from both under threat of arrest). Using his expertise in Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service records, Vogel has traced the cash flow from donor checkbooks to political campaigns and committees, to the consultants who themselves are becoming fabulously wealthy from the new Big Money politics, and finally to the television stations, phone banks and glossy mail pieces that bombard voters with increasingly negative messages about political rivals. Big Money is a chilling work of investigative journalism, showing how cash has corrupted American democracy.

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