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Honest Graft: Inside the Business of Politics

Honest Graft: Inside the Business of Politics

by Brooks Jackson

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this well-researched study, Wall Street Journal reporter Jackson describes how special interests often influence election results by providing needed funds when campaign contributions within legal limits prove insufficient. Moreover, with TV ads, polling services, post-free ``franked'' newsletters, professional staff work, etc., incumbent members of Congress can overwhelm a challenger, notes the author, and therefore frequently run unopposed, thus in effect disenfranchising the American voter. The heavy cost of campaigning, Jackson finds, can lead to ``soft'' or indirect money benefits for a candidate: fund-raising events, ``appearance'' fees, investment suggestions and so on. Such measures, he argues, are instituted in many cases by political action committees (PACs) representing business, labor, banking, real estate and other groups or individuals likely to be affected by pending legislation. Jackson details little-known, extra-legal money-raising devices and names names reaching high up into party leaderships in this overlong but eye-opening look at American politics. First serial to the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. (October)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Wall Street Journal reporter Jackson paints an ugly picture of this new form of political patronage: special tax breaks and deregulation to help businesses in exchange for funds and support. In chronicling the years from the 1970s to 1986, the author details the role of the political action committees (PACs) in funding campaigns through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and its Republican counterpart (RCCC). In layperson's language, he explains how PACs and party committees evade campaign finance ``reform'' laws via such techniques as using ``soft money'' and ``bundling funds.'' Proposed reforms are cogent and constructive though utopian. Highly recommended.Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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1st ed

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