Dark Money

Dark Money

The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Book - 2016
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Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against "big government" led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But Jane Mayer argues that a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Their core beliefs -- that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom -- are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws. The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights. When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision -- a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied. Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews -- including with several sources within the network -- and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings to trace the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent and to provide vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2016]
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780385535595
Branch Call Number: 320.5209 MAYER
Characteristics: xii, 449 pages : chart ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

An investigation into the growing radical right reveals a network of wealthy people with extreme Libertarian views, led by the Koch brothers, that has been systematically influencing and controlling academic institutions, the courts, and the United States government.

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Mar 14, 2018

This book proves that good journalism is a requirement in a democracy. Mayer documents the corruption in US politics, which has devolved into a pay-to-play oligarchical system, directed by a tiny fraction of the U.S.'s wealthiest citizens. Anyone who wants the background to the rise of the radical right wing that controls the U.S. Senate, Congress, State Governments, Supreme Court and Presidency needs to read this book.

The book is clear, accessible, entertaining, informative and fun to read.

My only complaint is that Mayer is too soft on the Democrats. Many of the Democrats' biggest funders -- e.g. Wall Street and Bill Gates -- also fund the radical right's lobbying groups. Mayer documents this but does not highlight it, nor does she arrive at the obvious political conclusions from the fact, i.e. that it is a single party that runs the U.S., the party of capital. There are exceptions -- Bernie Saunders and his supporters -- but the Democrats have largely gone along with the rightward shift in U.S. politics.

Well written but it will be dated in a few years. It was helpful to get a background on some of the American names i was hearing in the news. But la plus ca change....

Feb 10, 2018

A one-sided polemic against money in politics. This one picks on the conservatives.

Dec 20, 2017

a penny by penny description of how the rich, the 1%, have bought the American government,
who they are, how they did it, the foxes have taken over the henhouse - note the past tense -and we're the chickens, ouch

Oct 11, 2017

excellent book!

May 05, 2017

I have just finished this book and found it to be a fact-dense read, with sources and citations supporting the author's work. My friend in Sherwood Park read a copy from that library at the same time, so we could talk about it as we read it. It is chilling to realize that the Republican Party in the USA has been taken over by right-wing radicals led by the Koch brothers, who have set out to change the thinking of Americans and who, through spending endless amounts of Dark Money and using American tax loopholes, have met with success: the election of Donald Trump, and following that, the things we have seen him do since inauguration. It's a very well-written but very disturbing book that helped me to understand why things are happening the way they are in the USA.
Dec. 28/17: Among many other things, this year we have seen the multiple attempts to reduce medical coverage for lower-income people, finally achieved to a degree within their tax bill, which requires more taxes from those who can afford it least, and less from corporations and the very rich. We have witnessed the campaign of the appalling Judge Roy Moore, fully supported by Trump and the Republican Party, just for the sake of a Republican vote. We have seen Republican senators and congressmen told that the their Party will no longer fund their campaigns, or will run other candidates against them if they do not vote according to Donald Trump’s agenda. This is Dark Money at work, folks. While we have our own problems, I am endlessly grateful to be Canadian and living here.

Apr 19, 2017

Terrific book! Time for everyone to 'hit the grow up button!' Take note folks! Ignorance does not exonerate us from shining the light on corruption and thievery of our lives for future generations. Jane Mayer spent 5 years to write this easy-to-read book - the solid evidence and reporting are impressive.

Apr 04, 2017

A great book, well researched, about a sinister conspiracy to remake America in fascist ideology. The book helps me understand why that movement is so powerful now.

Mar 09, 2017

This book comes across like a conspiracy theory of massive proportions. Highly inflammatory and strongly partisan, the book is intended to be scary and provoking. It does it's job.

I have no doubts that the story is true, I have no doubts that this money was and is being spent, I have no doubts that it's self serving and I have no doubts that they think this is their right to do. But then, I have a pretty low opinion of the entitled rich, and it really doesn't matter to me if their republican or democrat, whether they're doing good or bad, few manage to rise above their money.

Am I surprised that politics is well oiled with money? No, not even with better rules will it stop being like this, it might be mitigated but never eliminated. It was interesting how extensive this project has gotten for this group headed by the Koch brothers, but really, 40 years of pouring money into the political system and all they get is Trump?? He's not even one of theirs, though, he is surrounded by other Koch minions.

Just how successful has this really been for them and how many other stories are we not hearing. Is this really unusual? Or is it just the one story we're hearing, and what about the other side of the story, because there always is one.

Albeit, I am cautious about making decisions and believing something that is so obvious in it's scaremongering, that doesn't make this story untrue or any less valid a book about the secret funding of the Right.

Feb 21, 2017

This book scared me and should anyone who wakes up everyday wondering what happened overnight south of the border.
Take Trump out of the equation ,and the facts alone here are frightening
foranyone who cares about democracy.
The Kochs et al have been 'weaponizing' philanthropy for decades with collusion from the alt right.
Gerrymandering, financing pathetic candidates who then become beholden,and maliciously smearing decent civic minded folk has become entrenched in America by the billionaire right.
The author herself was singled out for retaliation by the Koch Machine; but her research was impeccable.
I am buying several copies of this book as presents for people I care about. Hell, if I had the bucks , I'd buy it for the ones I don't too.

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