Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Peter Schweizer
Q:When did you realize that so many insider trading and sweetheart land deals were going on?
A: When I first discovered that members of Congress are exempt from insider trading laws, I didn’t believe it. Then, when I started to look at their stock trades and compare them with what they were doing in office, I was stunned.
Q: What do you mean by the "Permanent Political Class"?
A: I think politics in Washington has become a business opportunity. Republicans and Democrats are not so different as you think. They work together to enrich themselves. They have designed the system to work so that they can make lots of money doing things that would get the rest of us sent to jail.
Q: What do you mean by "honest graft"?
A: When people think of politicians making money in Washington, they think of bribery and other illegal activities. That’s small potatoes. The real money is made by doing stuff that’s legal, including insider trading on the stock market and land deals.
Q: Politicians are exempt from insider trading laws? You’re kidding, right?
A: No. They write the rules, and guess what: the rules that apply to us don’t apply to them. By the way, they are also exempt from whistleblower laws. If you see your boss committing a financial crime, you can report them and you will be protected. You can’t be fired. But if your boss is a congressman? You’re toast. You are not protected.
Q: What’s wrong with politicians who trade stock? Don’t we want them involved in the economy?
A: Yes, but they are doing exactly what corporate insiders get sent to jail for doing. It’s a double standard and it’s unfair. If Martha Stewart had been in the U.S. Senate, she would have been protected.
About the Author
Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. From 2008-9 he served as a consultant to the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting and he is a former consultant to NBC News. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, Foreign Affairs, and elsewhere. His books include The Bushes, Reagan's War, and Do as I Say, Not as I Do.