tv Book Discussion on Dark Money CSPAN February 27, 2016 11:00pm-12:31am EST
research for learning or just for fun. the new and expanded authorities under patriot act allow the federal government to investigate and to engage in surveillance of citizens and others without having to demonstrate any reason to believe their engaminged in illegal activitieses and to threaten the siflt liberty guaranteed on the united states constitution and the bill of rights. dr. hayden will be first african-american and woman to hold a position of library of congress. confirmation hearings yet to be sent by the senate. booktv continues now jamie mayor discussing her most recent book, "dark money" she'll talk about all of her books and answer your questions live on in-depth next sunday march 6th at 12 p.m. eastern.
it's a fascinating of many truths manipulated by governments and corporations. the buying of the president a chilling look into the finance ing and presidential campaign written with staff. chuck is a full-time professor and teaches investigative journalism and recently returned from a fellowship. tonight he is going to have a conversation with jim mayer. a passion that chuck shares. chuck. [applause] >> thank you very much, jeff, and welcome everybody, jane,
welcome to american university. to introduce jane, we would take ten minutes just to go through her bio, which is an astonishing bio. one of the preimminent journalists in the u.s. the new yorker now 11 years, how many years, sorry? i shouldn't ask. several years. anyway, literally winner of some many acards, on ther prize for excellence and political reporting, medalist for independence and, of course, the jay anthony lucas prize, other -- that's for book the dark side, i think. but numerous awards but so -- before i urge you to beau this
book. -- buy this book, "dark money," can you explain where you come from and how did you end up causing all this trouble? [laughter] well, part of what got me on this trajectory is chuck you were some of the inspiration for this book, i kind of remember an ice tea together as we were talking and they caught my eye for reasons that we can talk about in a minute but i just wanted to say that chuck lewis
as i was talking to him over this ice tea, gave me this quote that was kind of the money quote for the whole piece and sort of was the thing that made me think, okay, there may be more here when i'm doing a book, so professor lewis has exactly the right quote and it says, the cokes on a whole different level, there's no one else who has spent this much money. the cheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. they have a pattern of law-breaking political manipulation, i've been in washington since watergate and aye never seen anything like it. they're the standard oil of our times. that quote, wow, you know, when i read that quote, why did i spend five years and 450 pages adding to it, you kind of summed it up. [laughter] >> so i want to thank you, you've been an incredible colleague, generous, set the
path on how to cover the work you've done here and power and money in america, and so how i dot into this, you know, like most thicks, it started innocently, i turned a corner in new york city at one point you i grew up and saw david kcochs' name, david koch. that rang a bell. i read about a story about them putting money into the tea party somewhere and i thought i wondered if new yorkers through sophisticated manhattans that go to lincoln center have an idea who david koch is. i wasn't sure either. i thought, it was worth taking a peek. it was crossing the street, going around the corner that got me going around this.
one thing led to another and five years went down the drain. [laughter] >> so, but i'm not going to let you rigle out of the question either, thank you for the kind words. if there are the standard of our times and i believe that, that would make you the tarbell. >> one of my heros. >> right, you have investigated this subject unlike any other journalist and -- and it was inevitable we would discuss. i didn't know at what point we would bring it up while we are at it, not only did you devote all these years and obviously upset them, it's reported in your book that when you're -- your article in august 30th, 2010 in the new yorker was actually nominated for a national magazine award and they mounted a campaign against you
but you had some additional dealings with them that have been chronical recently in "the new york times". i'm sorry to ask you, clearly they're not as -- well, they are perhaps equally interested in you, but maybe you can describe that whole story because it's an amazing story. it's a badge of honor for any reporter what you will hopefully will tell us. >> well, thank you, it was an unexpected biproduct which was writing about the kochs. to me it was an investigative piece. i cover politics and politics means covering money and the kochs. you cannot cover money without stumbling across with them. they're such a concentrated force financially in american politics. i basically was going about my job but when i finished the story and it came out, they had declined to participate. they declined to give interviews
and i guess we can say they were not happy with it. it's too bad but felt it was a very good piece and captured the kind of subterranean role and it wasn't surprising that they didn't give me an interview. they had been secretive for many years, and so anyway, they were unhappy with the piece and i discovered, i began to hear strange things. i began to hear that there was a private-eye poking into my life. i first thought it was funny, i'm marriedened have kids, a dog, pretty settled life and not that interesting, i thought the poor-private eye, but anyway, and i kind of just laughed it off and i was at a christmas party and a colleague said to me who had been a reporter, you know, a couple of billionaires have hired a private eye to look
into a reporter who wrote a story that they didn't like about them and they're looking for dirt and i thought it might be you. there had been an opposition research project on me and that the couple top people of koch industry in washington had organized and hired a private eye which turned out to be the police commissioner, former police commissioner. they have a private firm in new york. i eventually pieced together the story just as a reporter would and was -- found a source who told me they were looking for dirt, dirt, dirt, and if they couldn't find it they would make
it up. they had made it up. they put a story that i was a plegorist. neither would run it because it turned out not to be true. it would have been terrible if i had gotten to print, if anyone believed. luckily, nobody ran with it and the reporter's whose work i was supposed to rip off stood up for me and said it's untrue and nobody could, therefore publish this, but it wassia opening. i could look back at this now and say it's flattering that they took me that seriously. truthfully it's the kind of heart ball that you don't see that often. i've covered a lot of different things. i've covered wars, cia's, white house politics at every level and nobody has ever done that before. so it wassia opening in terms of showing you kind of unaccountable power that these
private billionaires can have in america where they throw around their weight to try to control the free press from covering them as honestly as i possibly could, which what i was trying to do. i learned when i was doing more research that i was far from alone. the kochs have fired private eyes for all things. they had private eyes into the fbi. they had broken into two teams of two, and the two teams of two have litigated against each other for at least 20 years because they were fighting of who was going to get the biggest share in the family company and the family fortune and in the course of that it got so brutal
that hay hired private eyes to look at each other's garbage. it's a company that's remarkable, remarkably successful and hardball playing. >> right. >> the standard oil of our time. >> in my sort of sense of humor when the attempt to destroy you occurred, the two outlets, one in particular was so anxious to get something out of the hits online of the word koch that they actually -- the headline was smear-job going bad or gone wrong. >> smears disappears. [laughter] >> but that actually, the truth was the new york post. >> right. >> the new york post kind of did a good job. since we are talking about journalism, they could have just said, that's weird and gone away.
they did not. the kelly at "the new york times" said, a reporter told that she did, i wonder who is behind this and sort of a number of intermediaryies between and you said it was a pretty short list of suspects that eventually took a long time but got back to kockh industries. >> so back when you and i were talking a few years ago, we did a project called coch club and we had 28 people working on that over two and a half years and one of the things was about climate change, legislation dying and congress namely the house of representatives and there were so many things that tumbled out of that switching gears clearly.
but it's not just a bunch of billionaires here, in addition to trying to smear journalism. can you talk about the impact, i mean, the obama administration came into power, one of the things they want today enact climate change, lobbying doubled in the two-year cycle the 2008 presidential cycled that obama came in on partly because they were worried about him, as we both know it died in the house of representatives and there's all kinds of reasons for that. is that a good place to jump off? i think we -- people lose sight of it's not just the atmosphere, two billionaire brothers, it's also the impact that they and their other billionaire friends. >> tremendous impact. i'm glad you asked about this, it's not just about elections, we are obviously in an election
year and that's what everybody is focused on, but the -- the kockhs have joined with 400, 500 wealthy conservatives, many of whom have serious financial interest in front of the u.s. government and they have pulled their resources to some extent and created a project which has great influence over american policy and one of the policies they have affected the most is anything to do with climate change. many of the main interest in the koch groups including koch interest, bottom line depends on fossil fuel, they have oil and gas, anything that moves the united states away from fossil fuels is a threat to their business model and they have played just a really thorough
game of trying to capture congress and make it follow in a direction that's good for their business, which meant as you were talking about 2010-2011 congress was considering a bill to cap and trade carbon omissions, putting some kind of price on carbon pollution and the reason it didn't work in great measure was because the kockh clobbered anybody that was going to support it and they worked hard to take out particularly conservative democrats and moderate republicans who might have strayed from the orthodox line that they set, which is to say, climate change either isn't real or doesn't matter or we can't afford to do anything about it. >> right, and the bill to put climate change through the house of representatives ends up dying
and something like 90 or 100, house members, all republicans who sign pledge no climate-tax pledge. >> now 156. how does a private interest, a couple of billionaires affect policy, the kochs has a grassroots group which they help fund and it's spread across the country and has a pledge and candidates that want to get backing from their organization they have to sign a pledge that they will do nothing about climate change unless it costs nothing and -- and so 156 members of this congress at this point have now signed this pledge. it's a private, you know, agreement practically with koch
industries. >> it is. they did with a pledge and blocking the legislation, they also -- they were all doing other things with universities. this is a full-court press on multiple levels and, of course, we attract 221 universities receiving 30 or $40 million from them in the span of a five-year period which i think is has increased since we did this report in 2013. >> the biggest focus in some ways of charles kochs. it's a history, hidden history and there's a history here. it wasn't possible to tell the story without doing this book and even though it was hard to do and took a long time it was to try to connect the dots that you can't really always see when you're just reading the daily coverage, the story goes back 40
years at least and there's been a project that charles koch have funded for these four decades to try to change the direction of american politics. charleston david were about far right libretarian in america, 1976, charles was 30's, he was saying that he wanted to found what he called a movement to smash or destroy paradigm. big government in america. he's a -- someone that regards government as a form of tyranny for the most part and wanted to change the setup in america, shrink the government and government away from businesses and get the regulations off of
the businesses. that started in 1976 and he was trying to think, how do we do it. the first stage and the obvious think that you do when you want to change politics is you run for office so in 1980 charles helped, he's the older brother of david, he helped david to run as vice president as the united states on the ticket and ran against reagan from the right because they felt reagan was too much of a liberal. really far out. it was so far out that conservatives were describing them as totalitarian. they had very different ideas but they are really kind of unusual ideas, they're not kind of in the mainstream of american politics and they certainly were not back then, and so in that
1980abismally. it cost david koch and paid 60% of the whole campaign himself. they realized, okay, we are not going to win it this way so what do you do then? well, the koch's are very smart, terrific businessmen, both graduates of mit, engineers and went back to the drawing board to figure out a new model. in the years after that, pretty soon after that, they began to think, drop a blueprint of how to do an assembly line to change american politics even if you couldn't win the popular vote. they followed the food steps of a couple of other major multimillionaires and billionaires on the right who were funding this project and
from their standpoint politicians are just actors who are spouting lines and the key to changing america is to write the script, so how do you get to write the script? well, you have to change kind of the whole way that elite opinionist formed in the country. there happened to have been right around the same time just a little bit earlier a paper that was the blueprint for all of this, it was written by lewis powell who became supreme court justice and he -- before he join it had court he wrote a paper that said conservative and particularly conservatives are imperil in america because liberals at the time he wrote the paper were ascendant, you have to fight that and public opinion what the kochs's were trying to do, to get that you're going to have to change a couple of things. the real enemy, he said, is not the kids in the streets who are
hippies, protesting, it's not the antiwar protestors, it's not even the environmental movement in some ways, he said what you've got to change are the people who write to editorials at the newspapers, the professors at the universities t scientists who are putting out studies, the preachers and as much as anything else the judges ohen the court. so this was the kind of the game plan and after the 1980 election went badly for the kochs they followed the game plan pretty closely and began to take their fortunes, all the four sons in the koch had inherited several million dollars from the father who had made new process of how to refine oil. they took the fortunes, particularly charles who was the leader in the family and began
to think how you're going to change those elite public opinion and they funded a system to do it. university programs think tanks and quite a few other things. >> right, and we counted 89 nonprofit groups, happy names like the center for blue skies, except that's not a real win, i think, we actually identified all of them and as you recall, and i think well it was 30 or $40 million in a five-year period that went to at least those groups, it could be more, all the numbers are in the kocch club online. >> they're here too. >> excellent. >> it's astonishing, the extent of it, no one has seen a single group doing this and it was his five family related foundations sending money. we looked at the pf forms which
show the donors give out but what they receive. that's the only way we can track it. the commercial lobbyist were switching, these happy sounding groups were experts, phd's and they were going to the hill and testifying that there's really not a problem about climate change and they were creating the narrative in all of the hearings and house and senate that was establishing that this really is a contested area and everyone is quite concerned about it and they didn't say i'm funded by the oil industry, they worked in the so-called groups and that's not the first time that's happened in washington but no one has ever to my knowledge done 89 at one time. several dozen which were focused on environment issues. >> it creates the sense that there's a ground swell of
opinion and chorus and, chuck t work that you did in particular was fantastic in showing that the experts didn't just put out papers but they testified on the hill where, of course, it becomes part of the expert opinion that guides legislation and so -- and what was interesting to me and still is that so much of this effort was done as charities, these are the groups that these nonprofit groups, many of them are 501c3's which are charitable organizations, so when you give a contribution to them you have a tax deduction, they're supposed to be public-interest groups but there's been questions raised over the years over some of the ones the kochs has given in particular because they serve private interest as much as anything else.
they serve the interest of koch industries, so you have experts lobbying for policies that are good for their company and take -- meanwhile the people who are giving contribution the kochs are taking tax deductions for it. it's mind boggling. >> there's a larger issue as not large enough. $889 million that the kochs pledged, i think it was charles, that they will spend this year basically regarding the current presidential election. that level of money being spent is at the same level as political parties. i mean, we've seen seen donors. it's not just the kochs. wealthy folks who have periodic
amusing strange meetings that fancy hotels and things and i've never seen anyone declare they were going to spend as much as a political party in a single election. the numbers now and the number of people that these particularly minded folks who are joining forces, most of which you carefully clearly document and by the way, she games, which is great. she names, all these billionaires and i guess some of them only have 5 or 600 million, i would reach for my hank hankerchief. >> dark money for the most part. this is the money that's undisclosed. instead of being charitable contributions, they go to iconic groups that are called
social-welfare groups and they too are not suppose to be involved in politics but it's become the great dodge ever since citizens united and it's become the slews through which secret money flows and so the kochs magic trick was not the put fortune into this project but been brilliant at gathering 400 or 500 others with them and somehow convincing the others to let them control the contributions so that they're all pulled in one place and have huge weight as a result and the pile of money is unheard of in american history to have this much money in one place. it's $889 million, it's twice what the republican national committee spent in the last presidential campaign. it is so much money that a distortion of what was expected
also by the citizens united. people my forget when the supreme court decided that opinion, the justices who voted for it including kennedy and scalia as well, thought that that money was going to be visible, the spending would be transparent. you would see instantly where it was and it would go up online because of the internet and so that would be -- that would keep that money from becoming corrupting. it wouldn't be secret money. to the contrary, though, as some people had warned in advance, most of the money or an awful lot of it has been sidelined to the secret groups where it's being spent in ways that reporters even as chuck can't follow. they keep their name secret, the only reason we know who some of them are is somebody left a guest list once and it got out
and every now and then there's another sort of oops moment like that and you begin to see who are these people. so that's -- that's -- i joan ied trying to figure out who they were, how they made their money, why they were doing the things they were doing and what was they really wanted to see the american government do. >> so as we move into all of these things and 2012, the koch brothers and other, many conservative republicans were hoping that mitt romney would win, he did not win. they had other candidates they were flirting with, i guess you would say, chris christie and walker, i can't resist asking you because it's not in the book, what is happening now, who
are they backing because they have been interested in a couple of presidential candidates currently but they've now dropped out and so i'm kind of curious. i'm not seeing anyone obviously noting this so i'm curious what the answer is. >> so far -- they have chest of potentially $800 million, not all of it will be spent in campaign some will be spent in advocacy. they're on the sideline wait to go see which candidates emerges knocking out hillary clinton basically. so they have -- while they've been waiting there though, a couple of the candidates that they've liked, scott walker in particular has dropped out and most of the major republican presidential contenders have come to their donor group and begged for money and auditions for it so pretty much any of the candidates would do with one
exception, though, who must be very perplexing to them and that's donald trump. he is -- makes a great point that he's a billionaire in his own right and doesn't need billionaire backings and rudely described the other contenders who have gone to the donors to beg the backing, he described them as puppets, and so i think probably part of his appeal to the public is that people think that he's another owned by these private interests, he's sort of his own -- by his own interest but not by some other interests. so they've discussed now whether or not they should use some of this money to try to knock out trump, but, of course, that's problem as well.
so they're kind of in a corner right now and trying to figure it out. >> wow. that's somewhat delicious, i think. [laughter] >> so -- >> i would like to say, and then inevitable people will say, they don't have that much influence with their money and -- and i have to say that what you have to look at with the kochs, sometimes they've won elections, sometimes they've lost elections, election are one sphere of what they're involved in. they pour money into trying to have the republicans take over the house of representatives which they were instrumental in 2010. they poured money into the 2014 race to have the republicans take over the senate, which again they were instrumental in affecting, but more than that, even if you look at trump's --
take a look at some of his positions, he is spousing the same orthodox about climate change that the rest of the republican candidates are spousing which is to say he's denying that it matters or maybe that it's real. it's quite amazing the entire republican party is taking a position that's going in the opposite direction of science and of the rest of the world and really the only explanation to that according to people i interview it's the money in pushing fossil fuel interest that's so important in pushing the republican party in that direction. >> the other part is the 50 state, legislators and the states, between jeri pandering that goes on and the state legislators, they haven't just worried about washington or one or both houses of congress, they've done a grass-roots thing which is quite extraordinary also. >> again, it gets back to
thinking about the kochs, they've looked at american politics as a system to try to figure out what the pressure points are and how do you get what you want out of it and one thing you can do, one place for money matters much more than in presidential politics in a way is or at least has much more effect is at the lower level. a small amount of money goes much further in state and even local races they've been involved in, local races, colorado. the koch organization has been fighting the expansion of medicaid, for instance, in states all across the country and has been quite effective. one other thing i wanted to say about trump that's interest to go me is while he is independent of the koch organization, is not asking for their money, cory, chairman of his campaign, his last job was working for american's for prosperity, the
koch group. acts training camp for many people on the right in american politics at this point. >> you know, the other part that we must note is what's happened with the money thing, i'm sure you saw "the new york times", october, 156 families gave 50% basically half of all the money given in the first half of 2015 that we are down to that many families giving that much money and, of course, representative democracy so the question is and i'm also fascinating at the end of it that they're upset and were outmaneuvered in their view, they start investing in it can a way in micro targeting way and in a way that they're convinced the obama folks had matherred the democratic party, new things like i360 and various
things, i'm just fascinated, they have also now dumped large sums of money into the technologies in addition to all the hundreds of like-minded soles that are rounded up that have lots of money. how is that going to affect 2016? it sounds like they've gurted for battle. they. >> going to win, so it was kind of a -- you know, crashing blow in some ways and did a lot of studying and they realize that they've been outmaneuver and so
they have built up an operation that many people think it's better than the republican party has, again, as the small group of extraordinarily donors is creating almost its own party. a third-party and so they've got their own get out the boat operation and ability to sort of have people going door to door and enter all the data and it's very sophisticated, really, but more than that, they also find it interesting they studied themselves after 2012 to try to figure out why it was that they had not been successful and they did a huge amount of market survey research and they did polls and focus groups and they came to the conclusion that they had an image problem and --
[laughter] >> very perceptive. >> i know this because a tape leaked out of them discussing, it's the koch operatives what they learned from the research and they describe it had problem that the public felt that libretarian businessmen were greedy and soy can hear him discussing this. they decided to get involved in activities and they have since that period doing outreach programs to the poor. they've been giving out turkies
in some places and they have formed unusual alliances with liberals on some issues like criminal justice reform and they are recast their own ideology, they now describe it very purposefully not as just libretarianisn and not just about prosperity but as a movement for well-being. and so you will see if there's an initiative that charles koch foundation has that's about well-being. if you drill down to it t definition of well-being for the most part is the free market from their standpoint. it gets you to the new place but has branding effort. koch industries has put $15 million or so a year into fixing up image with corporate ads. that's a new thing for them too.
they also started giving interviews. >> wow. reminds me of richard nixon when he ran for president in '68. they packaged him a different way. >> the new nixon. >> the new kochs. >> sorry, i couldn't resist. >> i'm sorry to ask you this but clearly you were impressed but that's the -- that's so last century. [laughter] >> and so you are probably one of the journalists in the u.s. this book is an extraordinary book. it's stunning read but what would you recommend to some our
journalists in the audience in terms of trajectory and dedication to the professional and all of those things? >> well, i think this whole basic role of being reporter, speaking truth to power, holding people accountable is just such an important part of democracy that it's an honor to be in this profession. i really do feel privileged to do it and it's not always easy every day but also incredibly interesting every day and i guess the other advice i have, reporting can get too down into the weeds and it gets confusing to people and it's hard for readers to read through so i would also emphasis the importance even when you're getting all of that complicated data to tell the stories because at the end of the day it's able
real people doing things that affect and you have to remember if people can't read it, they're not able to get the story. if you try to remember, if you can try to take that information and make it readable it's a real gift to people. >> that's great. >> every number that you mentioned that's well done but reads exceptionally well. how many giraffes did you have to do to get to that point. >> so many piles. can i throw these out now. [laughter] >> don't. >> i'm afraid that something will happen and dust bun nice are out of control.
>> if you wait for the microphone, they're standing by to give you a microphone, just temporarily, though. [laughter] >> there's one. >> yeah, sorry. this gentleman is talented journalist who has just won award. >> thank you. working with chuck in washington post. you know, as you mentioned and as you know firsthand the kochs have a history of going after opponents with this nixon-like vengeance, i'm wondering why you think -- what you think makes them so vindictive? >> that's a good line of question. i think you're in the right line
of work. [laughter] >> i can say that a number of those people who are huge donor who is are involved in american politics and have just unfathomly large portions are use today getting their way. being told, yes, by the people that work for them and the press can be and seem improudent. sense of control many, they are use today controlling their image and controlling much else.
koch industry is a private-owned companies. they don't even have stock holders. they don't have to answer many public questions at all. the press is really -- it's playing a role that they don't really wish to have to deal with, i think. i don't know if that helps. >> that sounds about right. >> yes, professor john sullivan and senior editor of the investigative reporting workshop. >> can i just say one other thing? i can say from having seen the things that the kochs say about the press that they were shocked that they were getting tough coverage. that's what may be part of the problem also. people like me cover politics, it's so obvious that they are public figures playing huge
public roles but have regarded as ordinary billionaires. >> that's very interesting to hear you talk about seeing how much hundred the kochs have put in the election process and try to influence leaders. what's the real result of that been and so i was wondering, and you talked about real people and how it affects real people. could you talk about kind of how their influence over the past 20 years might have changed our daily lives and secondly, can you talk about what is their -- how far in the future are they looking, are they playing a long game and what is the kind of strategy going forward for them. >> well, they have been playing a very long game since it goes back to at least, you know, 1976, i think, with charles, and earlier really because he was involved in things before that. they've had a very long horizon,
they're very committed to it. it's not -- it's not -- they put their fortunes into this, particularly charles has. he's a very important force in american politics and thinking even though he's been under the surface much of this time. one of the things that i think they have worked hardest as is trying to convince americans that government is evil, that it is not a force for good to have an activist government but the government is in itself a -- an evil influence and so this -- >> that's what investigative reporters do. [laughter] >> there's some parts of the government we too have found to be evil and influence. this whole issue of regulations, they define liberty as the lack of government in many ways and
so public opinion has changed a lot about the government and they have contributed a lot to that. it's hard to measure how much of it is -- is, you know, they're doing but this is basically if you boil down their message, their message is government is bad private industry is good. regulations are bad and they have been push to go abolish epa, they've been against social security since it was started. medicaid and medicare since it started. when you hear republicans candidates saying we should get rid of epa and irs, that's something the koch brothers have been pushing for decades, it seems outlandish when people first say it, they've been good of injecting ideas of american politics. how does that affect people's
everyday lives when weeingulations are weakened, environmental regulations are weakened or nothing has done about climate and congress is tied up in knots and dysfunctional, they don't really want the government to do very much and i have a quote from someone in here the gridlock is our best friend. it's something that the kochs and the libretarians that have fought to have a radical program about spending don't feel so bad about, in fact, they felt push it there. does that help? >> way in the back here. hold on till you get the mic.
thanks. >> i'm sorry, whichever one you want to do. yeah. >> hi, my name is duncan gilchrist and i'm part of a student organization. we are working to sort of publicize the way that koch foundation seeking to fund the universityies and think tanks in sort of way that is help them achieve their political strategy, and so given all this rumor -- i'm assuming in some way tied to american university community, i was wondering if you could speak to the responsibility that we have as participants in this community of the university that is foundational to their funding
strategy or lobbying strategy, what is our obligation to address this issue. >> well, as a reporter i'm all in favor of transparency specially about money and so i think it's great to try to take a look at donations from donors that might be putting strings attached to those donations, what you want to be doing is having -- as a student you want to be exposed to many point of views, but you don't want to have propaganda come at you that's subsidize with people that aren't disclosing it. i think the most important thing is to get disclosure so you can see who is funding what and why are they funding it and why they put any strings on it. the kochs, you've looked at the
academic programs recently, they stepped up program of academic spending and they regard, charles koch has written about it and regard students as future and they see them as the most important sort of steppingstone to spreading their word and basically putting into effect the policies that they want to see. so tape that came out, the koch operatives talk about a talent pipeline and they recruit the most promising student and they take them and help get them internships and summer program jobs and place them in some of their political organizations in states around the country, the state they've got policy, think tanks at the state level and national think tanks.
they describe it as a unrivaled unified network basically and -- and it's really interesting, again, it's a systemic comprehensive approach to change and students recruiting students is very important to it. >> when we were doing the koch club project with 28 folks mostly 20 plus students, we knew that george mason university and others had received tens of millions of dollars from the koch foundations, what we did not know they had received funding, not a huge amount. when we looked at it it was 18,000 in that period when we came out with it in 11 and what happens is you have a tax document that the folks foundation, five foundations had given money to and there's old
cartoons where the person's eyes come out of their head, that was the reaction. [laughter] >> it was to school of business, i guess, teaching about free enterprisers or something like that. >> well-being. >> well-being. it's not just, of course, the koch and other conservative foundation that is focus on academia as they saw as liberal force that they need today change the elite public opinion in and you've got the olen foundation and bradley foundation are huge funders as well and there's quotes from people who were involved in this book where they talk about if the conservative intellectuals were race cars going around the track they would all be wearing
foundation and many on the great books on the right that changed american thinking, the closing of the american mind, whatever, many of the sort of more colorful spokesman that we all see, ann coulter all got their start from foundations. they have created their own experts. >> where others have called it echo chamber. >> or counterintelligence, yeah. it's really interesting. it's been a 40-year project. it's the thing that's so striking, your campus and others serve at the forefront of it. >> honestly the so-called other side t -- the laughter, democratic leaning folks don't
think in 40-year increments, at least they're not known for that. let's hold that thought. the poor gentleman back there. he's been very patient. if we could get a mic back to him. >> hello, from washington post. i'm curious to hear about process and to curious about the lengths you went to try to interview the kockh is -- >> i did manage in their absence to try to make up for them by reading pretty much everything they've said and written and interviewing people and their families and everybody from kids they grew up with, went to school with, people they worked with, people they liked, people who they didn't like, competitors, anybody i could get my hands on who had an
experience and some kind of information about them i would just try to talk to. and at a certain point after several hundred interviews, a kind of consistent picture came together so i was able to feel that i could, you knowinger pretty much do accurate job. i still would love to have the chance to interview them but the thing about charles kochs he's pretty much the major driver on the political front on this. he hasn't changed his opinions that much in 40 years. ..
you really can't get people that kind of control over what stories worth telling. many people do not want to talk but they may be doing something the public needs to know about. so i think it is very important to persist anyway. >> we have at least two here area and we will here and come up. >> i am david i'm also a senior at american university undergrad. my question is about the current campaign we are seen the successful candidates that maybe are not spending that much money
or other people like it jab at bush who spent a ton of money not been successful in this campaign. can you speak to why money in politics seems to be not working very well now and what the impact moving forward might be. >> and has interesting. first of all bernie sanders for instance has a different model. he is raising a ton of money but raising it from small donors. it is another way to get a lot of money. whether you can buy your way into it just with money if your candidate i think it is a pretty hard thing to do particularly at the presidential level. presidency is probably the hardest item to buy an american politics because presidents, it's not just that is so expensive, presidents, presidents get so much free media, so much attention that whatever you can buy in the way
of ads is just a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of attention they have anyway. the public sees these candidates and it's pretty hard to change people's minds only with money. if the public is really against somebody. with that said, you cannot be in that ballpark if you did not have a tremendous amount of money. all of them have raised, all of the people who are looking at were at the top of the polls have huge amounts of money. it's not possible to run right now without it. >> whoever gets the nomination and actually the next president of the united states, each of the two candidates have raised in excess of $750 billion which is yet again another record. we have records every four years. it is essentially an arms race.
the two candidates who raise the most money from their respective parties in 2015 calendar year were jeb bush on the republican side and hillary clinton. in every election in the last quarter century sense 76 until 2000 every candidate who has been eligible for matching funds raise the most money got the nomination of their party without exception for a quarter of a century. starting in the first part of the century from 2000 on we start to see a breakdown of matching funds of people adhering to the limits and all kinds of other issues. so we are in a place now that we have not really seen in decades. the sheer amount of money and not just the sheer amounts but you also have these outside forces that are spending more than the parties even in the meanwhile we have a congress were half of the members are
millionaires and only 5% of the american people are millionaires. we are increasingly skewed toward the money in every department. we just just have to stay tuned and watch. >> hi, my name is shayna i am an undergraduate pressman at american university. are the coke brothers correct and the only way to change in politics is by controlling the elite and where the money is? are we naïve in thinking the masses can truly participate in political democracy especially looking forward in 2016 and years ahead? >> i am someone who loves american history and so i would say looking over the recent american political history that mass movements can make a tremendous difference. i think the elite donors who had very far right views took a
course because they couldn't convince the public of their point of view. they wanted to impose minority views on the majority and they couldn't just convince them in the usual way. i think public outpouring for obama was not something driven necessarily by elite donors. i think there have been many mass movements in my lifetime i have seen, antiwar movement antiwar movement and other things that have had tremendous effect on the country. the environmental movement that were not necessarily funded by a few elite donors. i'm actually relatively optimistic about the ability of the public to change politics. i think it takes activism and engagement though. one of the things most worrisome is the public is getting so cynical about it and
participation and voting in the last election in 2014 was just 36%. that's pathetic. it takes people being involved and i think a lot of people are really sort of despairing on things right now. >> i think i am. and that may be ashley after that. >> i am marlon connors and i am a chronically concerned citizen. i wanted to ask you two questions. first of all, in your research were you able to uncover any information about the influence on the supreme court and such decisions as citizens united or gore the bush. the the second question is what you think most states about the coke brothers, is it purely money or is there other motivations as well?
>> so there is a chapter in the book about citizens united that fill in the back story of how a small group of very wealthy donors, for quite a long time before citizens united was hoping to break down the campaign-finance limits. it is the history of them trying one lawsuit after the next, after the next and building it so these nonprofits would buy these issues. there was much more to it in a very concerted effort behind it. in terms of what motivates the coax. it's hard to -- i believe after spending so much time reading what they say and written they are true believers in the ideology they are pushing. i think though if you look at their ideology they are pushing there's almost no daylight between it and their
self-interest. it is just that they think that is what is good for coke industries is truly good for america. what is good for coke industries does happen to be good for their bottom line. and for the personal accumulation of wealth. they see themselves as job creators, they see the private sector as the answer to most problems. they want to shrink government on so get regulations off the backs of businesses including their own. all kinds of environmental solution problems, to push back against that. so do they really believe it? i think they really believe it. i think i think it is also in their self-interest. >> ashley you are next. >> my name is ashley i'm a masters student, we are talking
about how you were not able to interview the coke brothers so i was wondering if you were able to get that interview what is the question you would like to ask the most. is there something you have not been able to find in your reporting? >> when i do interviews i'm methodical so what i would do is go through their whole chronology left to try to understand how it was they decided to change all of american politics and why they thought they needed to. it is such an ambitious project they have undertaken. what drives them, a lot of their early years are still mysterious to me. why they cared so much to do this because they are in such a far french spots and they push the whole country as hard as they could to come their way. but i do things chronologically and methodically when i interview people. >> in your chronological,
methodical digging, you have noted that coke industries has been fined i believe over 400,000,000 hundred million dollars are paid over $400 million in fines and criminal and civil violations in more than north america and around the world. i don't know of another multibillion-dollar corporation that has been prosecuted quite as much are we actually don't have a master list of all of the prosecutions of the government does. that's a long story, databases are strewn all over washington and they are not necessarily public. but, i do think we have a situation here where usually a company that has had that many problems, court settlements with federal judges, 300 oil spills in one case alone, stealing oil off native american reservations
in another case which you well know in the book. these are not your usual multi- billion-dollar corporation activities. at least i like to think so. i have not ever seen something quite like this. >> they have a stunning record, they really do. they say they have cleaned up their act in recent years and i think this is part of the motivation also they are very defiant about how the government shouldn't have any rights to regulate the way they do on many of these issues. they are radicals, it's a story of the radical right. i use that word in the title because they defined themselves as radicals. again, they are really unusual people, views that are so far out of the center of american
thinking. they have been proudly so for a long time. >> in the context of that -- okay we have a few more questions. >> high on the policy question about you give the great example about on climate change their influence was able to kill legislation, but you think you have a thought on how their apparatus this possibly harming efforts to move criminal justice reform and what, how they would hope their influence would actually be effective in this case when it seems they have driven pardus chin shipped to a point where when you need bipartisanship to pass legislation they have created quite a bit of harm. >> they would argue that in fact
that their help in having the republican party take over the house and the senate then puts them in the driver seat to a point where they then can do things like have a bipartisan movements for criminal justice reforms. they would see this as something that has enabled them to reach out to others. they have a very different point of view on all of this. basically they see themselves as a force for good and it is not a view that everyone has to share though. >> from all of the people and companies who have investigated have you ever run across one that things are not a force for good. >> no. another thing i have to say is, as someone who has written a lot of stories about people in power
and many in washington, it is very rare that you get people that acknowledge they are doing something wrong. for the most part people have a tendency to justify what they are doing. they rationalize it, they do not sit there and say i'm going to pull the wool over the public, they just sort of slide into saint this is good for everybody. so it is not unusual to have this kind of mindset. >> that it is irritating. >> high, i am an undergraduate freshman in the school of public affairs. my question is, we have reached a point now where we have seen this influx of money in politics as a problem. is there any way to solve the problem? >> the thing that people forget is it was not very long ago that there is a presidential election with no private money. it was 1980 and ronald reagan and jimmy carter both accepted
public funding and john anderson instead of taking private funding. it has been solved in the past and it is not that long ago. it is just that we are at a crisis point again. it is a pendulum that swings. it is a problem, money just keeps trying to push its way back into the system because there's so many private influences that want to capture the government. so he keeps pushing and then the reformers push back. at this point the pendulum has swung far into the direction of spending as much as anybody wants. i think it is to a boiling point. i think things can be done and have been done and can be done again. >> i agree, we went from w clement stone giving 2,000,000 dollars million dollars to richard nixon in 1972, the year
the watergate scandal began in the two years later. we now have two brothers and all like-minded folks giving 889 million to control and influence the current election. if you adjust for inflation you will notice it is still astonishing higher. >> it is way beyond watergate. watergate was considered a scandal so the history is why is this not considered a bigger scandal. i argue though that partly what is going on right now the selection is that the public is seeing it as a scandal and is disgusted. that actually explain some of the popularity of both bernie sanders and donald trump. i think there is a public reaction against the idea that the candidates are owned and bought by private interests with huge money.
so both sanders and trump in his own way have denounced the corruption of money in politics. i think it shows that the public is listening and they care about it a lot. >> on that note we will stop, i know several people want to purchase your book and there will be long lines,. >> it is cheap in comparison to buying an election. >> thank you very much and congratulations [applause]. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
[inaudible] >> on sunday, march 6 book tv is live with author and journalist jane mayer on in-depth, are live monthly college show. jane. jane mayor is a staff writer for the new yorker where she reports on government secrecy, the role of money in politics, and u.s. counterterrorism policy. in her most recent book, dark money she reports on the political and economic underpinnings of the conservative movement with a focus on charles and david cook. her other titles include strange injustice, and and which she examines the sexual harassment allegations against justice clarence thomas during his confirmation hearings. in the landslide which looks at internal dissension within the reagan administration during the last four years of his presidency. in 2008, jane eight, jane mayor appeared on book tvs afterwards program to discuss her book, the dark side. >> if you start at the very beginning right after 911 the lawyers pretty much laid the
foundation for a program for coercive interrogation. the first thing that happens it is -- it decides to get through the geneva convention and uphold the standards of how to treat prisoners of war. when they get rid of the rules, the rules of war and they also declare that the detainees are not criminal which gets rid of the criminal code, they're basically in a limbo when they make up the rules going along. >> jane mayor live on book tvs in-depth,. >> the university of arizona for the eighth annual tucson festival of books.
the following week is the virginia festival of books held in charlottesville. then on saturday, april 2 the fourth annual san antonio book festival. later that month look for live coverage of the 21st los angeles times festival of books. from the campus of the university of southern california, on april -- for more information on book fairs and festivals will be covering it to watch festival coverage search for the book fairs tab on our website, book tv.org. [inaudible] >> in the final statements of bush that came out of that. a revelation about wiretapping by my future colleagues in new york times. this was essentially became a
specialist in this layer of what the government has been doing and continuing dilemmas after 9/11. you may remember in january 2009 when president obama was inaugurated there was a moment in a moment in which it looks like the world on terror was suddenly, abruptly over he ran on a platform of change from george bush's war on terrorism and was a
intake torture lawn they would blow me off. this demonstration come into the white house, i went in and talk to greg craig who was obama's first white house counsel in his office. we went through this litany of things and he explained they were knackered to shoot from the hip, bumper sticker slogan, they were going to look carefully at everything they had inherited and move deliberately and that involve going out to the pentagon and so forth during the transition to be briefed by the members of the cabinet. it was like what the programs were, why they were necessary, what they were doing, what revoking them would entail. he argued that whether it was civil liberty people on the left
or right, the people who are upset by that or if it was bush administration veterans who are seen in claiming vindication, both sides were wrong. they were charting their own course and people should give them time to work it out. >> you can watch this and other programs online at book tv.org. >> the colombian school of journalism and neiman foundation established the anthony gay award to honor the best in nonfiction writing. they recently recently announced this year's finalists for works in progress. nonfiction writing and history. the first award is for unfinished books, the finalists include sasha eisenberg who is writing history of same-sex marriage in america. author steve luxenberg is looking at segregation and the united states. another works in
progress finalist is steve onie whose whose researching the creation of national public radio. meredith wadman is examining cells used to develop vaccines. the locals prize also gives awards for nonfiction writing finalists include a field philosophers guide to fracking which reports on the efforts of a texas town to stop and oil companies use of oil fracturing. two dollars a day looks at extreme poverty in america, the prized by dale is another non-fiction finalists. the book reports on how to work, new jersey school system use the donation of $100 million from facebook founder mark zuckerberg. other finalist for nonfiction writing are stupid look at -- followed by history and the last award is the market lenten history price. it it focuses on works of narrative history.
the final list include sean and the endgame which examines world war i, the end of the ottoman empire and instability in the middle east since the early of the 20th century. next, the train to crystal city recounts a secret prisoner exchange program during world war ii and the american internment camp that was at the center of it. also on the narrative history shortlist is the study of the holocaust and tj stiles book on george custer. the winners of the jfk prize awards will be announced on march 30. book tv has covered many of the books that has been nominated this year and you can watch them on book tv.org. >> next up on book tv, chronicle the journey along the oregon trail in a covered wagon.
>> thank you so much for that introduction and i am glad to see so many people here. i thought we get to the end of the day and there would not be any book levelers left in savanna. i'm especially happy to be here and i think the organizers sort of a rounding back on savanna it is typical of my life and the things that happened in 1970 while a a freshman in college i came down to participate in a vista program project before there were any houses out there. there is just the old community and so forth and remanence of the plantations that had been there. i was down here for combined work-study and the kind of things that college students in the 60s did a lot, the early
70s. i had to get out there every day and there is a boat that only ran and they said it's there's a schoolteacher and she's down at the boston docs every morning from 6:30 a.m. and you can get a ride to the island any day you want. so i got down there and there is a skinny guy there, mid- 20s guy, i remember he had a beautiful sunburn. i felt like we belong together you can just tell that he may have had a wacky upbringing just like me. so not every morning but a few mornings a week that i will go out to the islands i would write back and forth in this little metal boat with a skinny guy by the name of pat calmly. pat went