Political Mercenaries: The Inside Story of How Fundraisers Allowed Billionaires to Take Over Politics [NOOK Book]

Overview

When Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, their campaigns spent a total of $192 million--combined! In 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent over $7 billion, including outside funding from superPACs--nearly 37 times more than just 20 years earlier.



All that money didn't appear out of thin air. In Political Mercenaries, Lindsay Mark Lewis tells the outrageous tale of the fledgling days of fundraising and how he raised over $200 million for the Democratic Party, ...

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Political Mercenaries: The Inside Story of How Fundraisers Allowed Billionaires to Take Over Politics

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Overview

When Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, their campaigns spent a total of $192 million--combined! In 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent over $7 billion, including outside funding from superPACs--nearly 37 times more than just 20 years earlier.



All that money didn't appear out of thin air. In Political Mercenaries, Lindsay Mark Lewis tells the outrageous tale of the fledgling days of fundraising and how he raised over $200 million for the Democratic Party, its candidates, and its causes over a fifteen-year career. Sure to raise the eyebrows of everyone from ordinary citizens to Citizens United, he pulls back the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the relationships between politicians and their financial backers in this thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud insider account.



The outrageous Lewis starts off as a wide-eyed 22-year-old who thinks raising political money is a means to an end--helping Democrats win. Lewis' tactics aren't for the faint of heart. Along the way, he launders $40,000 from an (allegedly) murdered casino mogul, smuggles marijuana, and passes an Elvis impersonator off as Bill Clinton! But he becomes increasingly conflicted as he continues to sell access to politicians in exchange for ever-larger checks and a loss of control over the party's priorities. Lewis eventually rises to his party's top fundraising post at the Democratic National Committee, and attempts to redeem himself by waging an ultimately losing battle against the party's elite billionaire donors, who force him out.



Contrary to conventional wisdom, Lewis and co-author Jim Arkedis conclude that the real damage isn't the raw amount of money spent on elections, but rather the amount of time politicians spend raising it. It's time they should spend governing. And Lewis lays much of that blame at the feet of the Democratic Party, who sold out--not to corporate or lobbying interests, but to a very few liberal wealthy elites.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at how politicians raise money."—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-27
The executive director of the Progressive Policy Institute explains how "politicians, donors, and fundraisers" have distorted our politics. After falling into the job almost by accident, for 15 years Lewis raised money for politicians as well-known as Richard Gephardt, Ted and Patrick Kennedy, Kent Conrad and Howard Dean and for numerous lesser-knowns running for office at all levels. His fundraising talent eventually landed him the post of finance director for the Democratic National Committee. With the aid of political analyst Arkedis, Lewis submits 66 slight chapters, each a vignette drawn from his career. For Lewis personally, it's a Hunter Thompson-style story of drugs, alcohol, traveling and partying; for the fundraising "profession," it's a tale of groveling, corner-cutting, deception and fraud. The real scandal, as the saying goes, is what's legal. Wheedling money from lobbyists at expensive lunches, from the rich and famous—Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Norman Lear—at catered "events," from sit-downs with the merely rich—George Soros, Peter Lewis—and even occasionally from the grass-roots used to be a mere adjunct to our politics. Now the fundraiser's role is crucial. Throughout, Lewis styles himself as a champion of the average Joe who entered politics for the right reasons but was seduced by the proximity to power. As he became aware of the harm he inflicted, the damage done to our politics, he insists he made repeated efforts either to reform the system from within or to get out of the business entirely. However, the author takes too much delight in his skulduggery and indulges too willingly in tiresome Washington score-settling to be entirely believed. At best, his professional memoir will be received as the political equivalent of Jose Canseco's baseball tell-all Juiced (2005). No one particularly admired the messenger or the book, but the whole squalid story turned out to be true. A hugely depressing deep dive into the cesspit of money and politics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137474643
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 297,428
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Lindsay Mark Lewis is the executive director of the Progressive Policy Institute, a center-left think tank in Washington, DC. His thoughts on money in politics have appeared in The New York Times , Daily Beast , and Politico . He has raised over $150 million for the Democratic party, its candidates, and its causes.


Jim Arkedis is a writer, political analyst, and consultant based in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, among others.


Lindsay Mark Lewis is the executive director of the Progressive Policy Institute, a center-left think tank in Washington, DC. His thoughts on money in politics have appeared in The New York Times , Daily Beast , and Politico . He has raised over $150 million for the Democratic party, its candidates, and its causes.
Jim Arkedis is a writer, political analyst, and consultant based in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, among others
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Table of Contents

Contents


PROLOGUE


SECTION I: THE GEPHARDT YEARS


CHAPTER 1


CHAPTER 2


CHAPTER 3


CHAPTER 4


CHAPTER 5


CHAPTER 6


CHAPTER 7


CHAPTER 8


CHAPTER 9


CHAPTER 10


CHAPTER 11


CHAPTER 12


CHAPTER 13


CHAPTER 14


CHAPTER 15


CHAPTER 16


CHAPTER 17


CHAPTER 18


CHAPTER 19


CHAPTER 20


CHAPTER 21


CHAPTER 22


CHAPTER 23


CHAPTER 24


CHAPTER 25


SECTION 2: LAS VEGAS AND THE AFTERMATH


CHAPTER 26


CHAPTER 27


CHAPTER 28


CHAPTER 29


CHAPTER 30


CHAPTER 31


CHAPTER 32


CHAPTER 33


CHAPTER 34


CHAPTER 35


CHAPTER 36


CHAPTER 37


CHAPTER 38


CHAPTER 39


CHAPTER 40


CHAPTER 41


CHAPTER 42


CHAPTER 43


CHAPTER 44


CHAPTER 45


CHAPTER 46



SECTION 3: MY CHANCE TO CHANGE POLITICS FOREVER


CHAPTER 47


CHAPTER 48


CHAPTER 49


CHAPTER 50


CHAPTER 51


CHAPTER 52


CHAPTER 53


CHAPTER 54


CHAPTER 55


CHAPTER 56


CHAPTER 57


CHAPTER 58


CHAPTER 59


CHAPTER 60


CHAPTER 61


CHAPTER 62


CHAPTER 63


CHAPTER 64


CHAPTER 65


CHAPTER 66


EPILOGUE



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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2014

    Political Mercenaries is a fascinating book; a page-turner with

    Political Mercenaries is a fascinating book; a page-turner with tons of insight into the seedy world of money and politics. Every voter should read this book to understand how American politics got so screwed up...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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