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The secret boss of California;: The life and high times of Art Samish, Hardcover – January 1, 1971


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The secret boss of California;: The life and high times of Art Samish, + California's Tax Machine: A History of Taxing and Spending in the Golden State (Second Edition)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishers; 1ST edition (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006CKHX2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,464,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LEON L CZIKOWSKY on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
California once had a famous `super-lobbyist' who not only represented clients but realized that, by playing a major role in getting legislators elected, he could greatly influence the legislature for his clients. This book, "The Secret Boss of California", is the autobiography of one such lobbyist, Arthur Samish.

Samish was considered to have been more powerful than political party bosses, as he directed where large flows of funds from large corporate contributors were distributed to legislators he favored (which were, of course, the legislators who favored his clients.) In his own words, Samish was "the Governor of the legislature. To hell with the Governor of California." Governors came and went, but Samish had substantial influence over the legislature for decades.

Samish helped elected enough state legislators in order to control the election of the Speaker. The Speaker then appointed the committees, and Samish attempted to see that committees that affected his clients were composed of legislators who agreed with the positions of Samish's clients. Samish owned a ventriloquist's dummy, as that represented how Samish h saw himself, as the holder of the strings to a legislature that moved as he wished.

Samish's candidate recruitment interviews may be questionable. He told of first meeting one legislator, Jack Tenney, by asking him what his prior occupation had been. "I played piano in a whorehouse in Mexicali", the candidate replied, to which Samish responded "Jack, you'll make a good legislator." Samish helped elect Tenney by sending out letters stating that the National Democratic Committee supported Tenney. As Samish explained, "it didn't matter that there was no such thing as the National Democratic Committee...
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