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Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimpon the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics Hardcover – June 3, 2014
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What Vogel gives us is a detailed look at this new political landscape, where voracious money-sucking beasts mingle with megadonors hungry for behind-the-scenes access Whether we are witnessing is a tectonic shift or a gradual evolution, Big Money’ amply and colorfully makes the case that our elected leaders are increasingly dependent on a small number of seven-digit checks written by a few dozen members of the 0.01 percent, and therefore politics are becoming a type of thoroughbred horse racing.”
Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal
With Big Money’-which takes up the Kochs and other rich political contributors, including Sheldon Adelson, Rob McKay and liberal Texas lawyers Steve and Amber Mostyn-Mr. Vogel has succeeded in doing what I, for one, didn't think possible. He has made the subject of money in politics entertainingindeed, gripping. He does this by a combination of factual analysis, eyebrow-raising scoops and zany stories.”
Michael Levin, Huffington Post
Vogel is a master of Politico's deliciously snarky political style and offers us glimpses of our elders and betters at their least dignified. Vogel's Big Money is a must-read if you are concerned about politics and the future of this country.”
Bethany McLean, Washington Post
[Vogel] knows the characters and gets the game. Want to understand Mitt Romney’s fundraising operation, how Jim Messina mobilized big donors for Obama’s 2012 campaign or the war chest that is already growing underneath Hillary Clinton? Vogel tells the stories. He also offers lots of detail on one of the most fascinating frenmities in modern right-wing politics: Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. And he offers great facts to bolster his overall claim...To his great credit, Vogel is also pretty even-handed...This is a book by an insider, for insiders.”
Daniel Ben-Ami, Financial Times
Kenneth Vogel, chief investigative reporter for Politico, the news organisation, does an excellent job in untangling this story. Much of the book consists of reportage, with him trying to attend secretive meetings between ultra-wealthy donors and electoral candidates seeking funding. Often he was barred from entering or ejected after being identified as a journalist .He is commendably non-partisan in his reporting. Vogel sketches the shadowy fundraising worlds of both of the main parties. He also reports on the intense factional rivalry that sometimes exists within their respective camps.”
Walter Shapiro, Brennan Center for Justice
Vogel's paparazzi tactics -- coupled with relentless traditional reporting -- have made Big Money the smartest and most revealing book chronicling the Super PAC era. Instead of predictable legal analysis and a mind-numbing march of statistics, Vogel tries to grasp what motivates the wealthy to invest so heavily in Super PACs. And his answers do not fit into the neat ideological cubbyholes of either campaign reformers or believers in the nonsensical, but powerful, doctrine that money equals free speech.”
Chris Moody, Yahoo! News
Pull[s] back the curtain on some of the most important players... Through impressive sourcing, Vogel’s work...offers a peek into the secretive universe of megadonors in the post-Citizens United era.”
The Economist's Democracy in America blog
A highly entertaining account of the adventures of billionaires in politics.”
Joel Connelly, SeattlePI.com
Vogel manages to entertain while reporting on the politics of excess, even when things turn sinister The most fascinating aspect of Vogel’s book is what manner of candidate big money culture produces, with a look back to 2012 and ahead at 2016... Buy Hillary’s book for your coffee table, but take 'Big Money' on vacation.”
Jim Newell, Bookforum
Vogel’s decision to adopt a gonzo-style approach allows us to check out our new oligarchic digs as the contractors near completion. Throughout the book, Vogel shares versions of the same first-person story that never seems to lose its alternatingly comedic and terrifying edges: Here’s a closed-door donor conference I snuck into, and here’s what happened when they found me out.”
Excellent and revealing.”
Big Money is a fascinating, yet often depressing, tale about whatand whoreally matter in American elections Most books about campaign finance are dry tomes detailing the technicalities of political action committees (PACs), hard vs. soft money, and the like. It's enough to make a reader's eyes glaze over after the first chart or regression analysis. Big Money is instead an incisive, at-time hilarious, look at the very rich human beings who now dominate big-time political fundraising To learn about who is likely to give and why, Kenneth P. Vogel's Big Money is a must-read.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
tenure of the President Obama, who had sworn to defeat and push back against the use and
influence of big money in our political campaigns. For me, that shows the power of the
U.S. Supreme Court to radically change our political system, and to make it responsive to
The Citizens United decision and the rise of super PACs has increased the need for more
and bigger checks from donors. And, the need for that huge stream of money goes on
through a long election cycle: through primaries, and through the general election, too.
In some sense, we already knew this. We knew that there were huge amounts of money in our
political system, both in campaign finance and in the lobbying that goes on during
Congress's work to create and vote on legislation. Vogel's value is to give us a readable
and entertaining account of the inside of this process and also, depressingly, to show us
just how huge those sums are and how much influence they enable a small slice of the U.S.
public to have and how corrupt the U.S. political system has become.
It's not a pleasant picture.
This new system and all the money in it has eroded the power of the official political
parties. And, this is one part of "Big money" that I do not understand very well. Vogel
claims that because of the organization of the super PACs, (1) the function of our
political parties has been privatized and (2) that now we have "shadow parties" composed
of organizations of super PACs and the political operatives and consultants that create
and manage them.Read more ›
Vogel is on the trail, like a Sherlock Holmes, charting the route of our new political process --clue by clue.
Roughly 8 million small donors gave a total of $500 million in the 2012 election, and that was matched by only 4,600 big donors. The top 0.04% of donors gave about as much s the bottom 68^.
Vogel sees lobbying as motivated by financial gain, big campaign donations more for passion or ego (similar to owning a sports team). He backs the latter conclusion up with Jack Abramoff's experience - being prosecuted by the Bush Justice Dept., despite having given them large amounts of money. (I'm not so sure - I think Sheldon Adelson is dead serious about trying to encourage greater presidential support for Israel.)
The Koch brothers use an array of mysterious non-profit groups to target Democrats and their policies. Their primary vehicle - 'Americans for Prosperity.'
The bulk of Big Money is devoted to providing the details of how big money operated after the Supreme Court decision - both for Democrats and Republicans.
Total 2012 political spending was $7 billion.
The amount paid to the highest-grossing political firms was $1.3 billion.
The number of mega-donors required to raise $470 million was 100 (both sides combined).
The number of small donors required to raise $370 million for Obama + Romney was 5,667,658.
While Republicans have more mega-donors, Vogel sees the Democrats as benefitting from greater unity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gives such a good picture of how the peoples' vote has been removed from them due to Citizens United. Read morePublished 10 months ago by puddles
A perfect companion piece to Elizbeth Warren's A Fighting Chance. We must not give up Read it, sign petitions, be vigilent, get involvedPublished 11 months ago by Delores Burris
I thought this was a terrific book through the 2012 elections. The material thereafter was thin and not worth reading.Published 16 months ago by bruce driver
Donations act as a check against tyranny of the majority, something founders worried deeply about.
Without them, what's to stop 51 percent from voting themselves the... Read more
A fascinating look inside the big money in politics industry. Considers the motivations of those who are using their personal wealth to influence elections and provides a scary... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Kevster
Big Money is investigative reporting at its best. Vogel pulls together data and interviews that richly document that big money controls our politics to a much greater extent than... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Frank P. Worts
This is an excellent and original book that does a wonderful job of explaining where national politics currently are and where they are heading. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Adam J. Loewy
Such a great book! Going to follow the headlines more from now on.Published 19 months ago by Foothill Ranch 14
Vogel's book is a wake up call to America. When the wealthiest can determine who moves forward on the political playing field it is time to say America is not for sale. Read morePublished 19 months ago by susanne brody