Foreign despots with image problems typically hire D.C. spin doctors, so Harper’s editor Silverstein resolved to sting the shills to reveal how they put happy faces on tyrants. This humorous account of his subterfuge begins with Silverstein’s strategy: he would pose as a fictional broker of the energy resources of Turkmenistan, a country that, alas, labors beneath a reputation for human rights abuses, corruption, rigged elections, and cult-of-personality dictatorship. Understanding Turkmenistan’s need for a professional public relations whitewash, Kenneth Case of the Maldon Group shopped the problem to top-drawer lobbying firms, two of which scheduled presentations to snag the Turkmenistan account. Gussying up Turkmenistan would be a challenge, they advised Mr. Case—hence their steep monthly fee—but their firm’s stable of ex-members of Congress and ex-ambassadors, with their connections to the political class, promised to get the truth out about prosperous, democratic Turkmenistan. Evidence in hand of the lobbyists’ greed and political prostitution, Kenneth Case reverted to Ken Silverstein, author of this marvelous, rollicking exposé of K Street culture. --Gilbert Taylor
About the Author
Ken Silverstein is the author of The Radioactive Boy Scout
The Washington editor of Harper’s
magazine, he is a former investigative reporter for the Washington, D.C., bureau of the Los Angeles Times
Silverstein has also written for Mother Jones, The Nation
, and The American Prospect
, among other publications.
He lives in Washington.