Instaread summary of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
Five out of five stars
It is not much of an exaggeration to say that the Citizens United and SpeechNow decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court created what amounts to a collective “Shadow Shogun” government in the United States. The decision allows individuals and corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to political organizations with no transparency as long as the organization does not coordinate with an actual political campaign. Millions of dollars can be given with no public disclosure of the specifics of the donation required. It has led to massive amounts of money being spent on political campaigns at all levels. Since the donations are unseen, it is referred to as “dark money.”
As is mentioned in this summary, all of that spending was not enough to defeat Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 in his runs for the presidency. Yet, it has had a profound influence on the more local races. Congressional districts have been redrawn so that one party will dominate, making it almost impossible for the other party to win the seat in Congress. The consequences have been government gridlock, even to the point that there was the real risk that the U. S. government would default. A sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives (John Boehner) was successfully pressured to resign by the members of his own caucus.
The summary and I am sure the book as well emphasize the subterfuge being employed by the people making the large donations. While claiming to be championing freedom for the people from regulations and other government interference, the donators are really only advancing their own agenda so that they can increase their revenues. The two people mentioned most prominently are Charles and David Koch, owners of companies that have paid massive fines for violating labor and environmental laws.
After reading this summary, I am convinced that this book should be read by all U. S. citizens that value the course of events. Especially those those that have been following the Koch’s agenda, perhaps they will realize that those that seem to champion their cause really are not.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.