Believers in democracy should read this distressing account of political economics. The authors, university sociologists who conducted surprisingly candid (though anonymous) interviews with political action committee managers of major corporations, demonstrate how a politically unified American business community influences legislation through PAC contributions to congressional election campaigns. Further, the authors found that corporations, without paying directly for favors, commonly gain ``access'' to lawmakers through fund-raising events, lucrative lectures, golf foursomes, air travel and so on to create ``an atmosphere of dependency'' that can lead to unpublicized tax breaks or pollution exemptions. AT&T, for example, in 1983-1985 achieved tax-free status for $25 billion in profits while investing a mere $1.4 million in PAC campaign contributions, according to the authors. (Sept.)
Money Talks extensively explores a central topic in American politics: corporate political action committees (PACs) giving corporate money to politicians and political campaigns. Carefully examining the access corporations have and influence they exert through these contributions, the authors rely upon in-depth interviews with corporate PAC directors to provide excellent information on how these directors ``establish political action committees, raise money for them, choose candidates, given them contributions and gain access.'' Moreover, the authors discuss the goals these directors pursue and their attempts to influence congressmen and shape public policies. Saying that currently proposed campaign finance reforms would be ineffective because they ignore the contradictions between politics and economics, the authors propose a public financing system for all House candidates. This excellent and well-written analysis is highly recommended for all political collections. Previewed in ``On the Campaign Book Trail,'' LJ 3/15/92, p. 110-12.--Ed.-- Steven Puro, St. Louis Univ.