WWL>Topics>>Think Tank 1110am, Nick Penniman, Presidential Primaries

Think Tank 1110am, Nick Penniman, Presidential Primaries

Mar 30, 2016|

Is America “on the take”? Authors of a new book say we are crooked on both sides of the political aisle. Is that part of the anger driving the current presidential primaries? This hours guest: Nick Penniman - Executive Director, Issue One

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

I have to admit I've got a bit like a dog with a bone when and talked Britons among Boehner talked to you public. And I assume you think you were so angry and they'll leopard too injured to doing what too easily beat it's the power brokers. Let's. 20 lead to the power broker it is as small group big group or these people. And I have done a little good reading went through a banking and I don't know audited two and Alex's. Pretty highly yeah Braden only for him to warn it. Today. Identified separately for Americans that did that in league. Category and you wouldn't believe how much money. Saved. Control. And celebrants and he's harbored unit roots of the Sydney prints in the northwestern. But I didn't hit a little better goal and two Oregon does in the mail ones so your book is called nation on the take. A big money crunch our democracy. While we can dual. And a Google needed to walk others. Reading a lot about it. Him and that thing of like you have to have that has it been through a lot more questions. Nick and Lynn executive director who won welcomed into. I thank you very much. Listen I do about the global hopeful we start that era and lose one. Liner and you good director of investigated. Bonds stamp. And use people journalism. And newspaper writers magazine writers. And you pull groups on the financial crisis. Plagued poor due to brief recession. Leads me skew the question did you see the movie the big short. No way out what a great movie ask. Us that we invest in you know we we hired twenty him the best investigative journalist whose country. Two. So uncovered the financial crisis and the pollution that occurred. Between the banks in the credit rating agencies and and it was a mass of course and NS too many people know. Not allowed to cut fixed in the wake of the financial crisis and about a particular moment in the big short was the the last 52 one may flashed on the screen in the fact that. You know it was not a single major bank executive who went to jail as president. I think Bloomberg today some time can break through route toward. Still living got a hold talking about the even that and the five the people with in the banks and still dropped. Yeah exactly a and that that's what you know in large part led me to this cause of the money in politics and campaign finance reform and what. Propelled me to write this book. Is that. Is that I spent fifteen years in Washington investigative reporter. Mad Magazine publisher of the news magazine called the Washington monthly. Constantly looking at. The way Washington worked and seeing that. They were deep deep manipulation of policy was occurring. By the lobbyists and the well financed special interest and a major campaign contributors. And that they it was a major reason why we just couldn't seem to get anything done in Washington. I think financial reform is exhibit I mean here's here's a situation where the global economy. Was brought down to its knees we were about to collapse and in the global economy is about an entirely collapsed. And in the wake of that. We passed some minor reforms. With the Dodd-Frank law. So it if it's a crisis like that can't be answered. Appropriately. By our system of government. Then I think we all know something is deeply wrong. American board of writing gets his commentary and they do it from the old to settle. It mentions. Just. The deck collaboration of independent. And asserts in the legal right to provide liberty pursuit from the United States. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive. Of these pins. Is bright people all or. Shouldn't. Or institute new government. Do you see us there. And I do and I I don't think we need to institute a whole new form of government but I think we need to abolish this corrupt system campaign fight. If it is it has metastasized. Significantly. Over the course of the last thirty years of just give you some stats to back. When John Kennedy was elected president there were 250. Lobbyists in Washington. They're now 121000. Lobbyists in Washington. Last year those lobbyists. Disclosed. About just what they're forced to disclose. Two point six billion dollars in lobbying expenses. Okay which is 600. Millions more dollars and actually cost to run congress. 600 million more across from congress. The two to 2000 election cycle was a three billion. Dollar election cycle this election cycle is expected to be a ten billion dollar election cycle. An and one of the more insidious numbers in my mind that this on which is that in 1974. 3%. But members of congress 3% went from being a member of congress to being lobbyists in Washington. Now 60%. Tuesday. So he you know what you basically seeing is the situation in which we go all this money all's well. It's now aggregated at the top of society. And it's asserting itself on the political system. That there really hasn't done since the early nineteen hundreds since the last. Gil de actions and and Teddy Roosevelt. And and we got a situation where we deal breakup that power and if we don't reform the way that we fund politics in America. I don't think we're gonna have we're having illusion of democracy. You know people out and vote all of but in all functionality. It's it's basically an oligarchy. And I can Pergo appears in the audience. By reading the news headline and pulled up and I'm building chose more of our former congressman. Quit congress out of turn number years and that the ink. You resulted committee that regulated. The drug industry became more and there. Top CEOs and eleven point six million dollars would made you. The highest paid helped law lobbyists. In Washington. The other in this story is even worse from that way so. Housing them. Was the guy who rammed through. The Medicare part. 2000. Medicare part. In social spending since the great society and Lyndon Johnson a connect. It the wood it was rammed through was estimated it would cost the taxpayers. Half a trillion dollars over the course ten years. And of course George Bush was an off the time. Took tauzin a Republican ran through this look this huge expansion of the social spending. A Republican president George W. Bush signed that in the house and doesn't even finish out his term. As a member of congress. Resigned early not because some scandal but because the pharmaceutical industry offered him their top job as a lobbyist. So we went from making 200000 dollars a year as a member of congress to making two million dollars a year as the pharmaceutical company's top lobbyist I mean it's it's almost. If it is it more real it would be laughable. When we asked why do you boring Maria I'm playing good nick Goodman is is begin to explain to us. We're talking about his book and is America all he did take we're coming right back questions comments. Tennessee and 018. Celebrity double rubbed. But fingered about a very interest in broad nation on the take public money chrome so our democracy. And and what we can do about we have one of the authors in the tournament executive director of issue one. Gordon for the until important issue one news. If she wanted a bi partisan organization. Founded two years ago. To. Fight money in politics. Flight to support for campaign finance reform comprehensive campaign finance reform. And we've got. We've got a great group of people we now recruited a 140. Former. US senators and house members Republicans and Democrats alike. Tell us and also some some. Incredible Americans like historian David McCullough author of seventeen having sex and Paul Volcker the former head of that reserve when a bunch of steps so we've got them. We've got a lot of very prominent Americans who have who have like human and like some recognize that the mrs. Issue one that this is the that the the main problem that we all face as Americans to the fact that are. Our system of government being shut down by the special interest. And joining us to fight. I heard a tightening too little bit about this but to move given the blood broader education of few words. Explain to the audience share and word 2013. Newly elected. Democrats to the house. Go through an orientation. Session tell them out. Yet today that it could be a new house Democrats. And they're being given their orientation session by the triple date which has for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And there's also the room and some guys giving a PowerPoint presentation. Which shows them how as new members of congress they should be spending their time. And one of the flies is called the modeled daily schedule. Animal model daily schedule it has two very interesting things number one. It has four hours. Four hours. A day dedicated to what's called call time in Washington. Call time is -- members of congress sitting in cubicles because they can't do this from their congressional offices. Sitting in cubicles at the Democratic Party headquarters of Republican Party headquarters. Dialing for dollars. Too rich people people who can Max out. It's called hard money is that the Maxwell matching gift a politician which 27 dollars. The good matchup between seven dollars so it's a little like cubicles. Shoulder to shoulder has upon just what you call center for. You know eighteen year so you know Farmers Insurance. And day and NATO which people perhaps Saturday. And very rarely is rich people live in their communities normally eleven L player New York Boston tomorrow. And they beg for money. And they just trying to bank the money and so that was that was for a stay in the wires today they said should be dedicated to what's called strategic outreach. Strategic outreach is is is is it too complicated term. Four. Meeting with lobbyists. Basically. Because one of the other major sources of funding for our politicians. Come from the lobbyists. Who represent the industry's. That they're supposed to be regulating based on their congressional committee assignments so drama. Finance committee you're meeting with bank and by the way the backlog is are also matching out their campaign contributions to you to basically that's five hours today. Five are today that the gay couples seat is recommending. To an incoming. Congressman. That they should do just fundraising from rich people and the lobbyists who represent the industries they oversee. And congress people. General elections. Every two years so consequently. From the beginning and the end of the two years thereupon Burress. Yeah it's if it's at a permanent campaign mentality basically. In fact I can't over the name of the congressman right now but there was a guy who was elected in the 2014 cycle. And instead of showing up for his. In between junior 2015. Further little. What Google's ceremonies when it's warm and speaking instead it was a hundred. So what you see is that he you know is that this is just nonstop. And and yet at the house members to that you elect every two years but they have also terrible for the senators because they've got to raise. Even more money to run. So if you take. For instance. Former Republican senator. George Voinovich George was from Ohio was the governor of Ohio and Republican senator is that rock group Republican. And I would I attended the press conference. A couple years ago when he announced that he wasn't gonna run again for the senate. Many said the number one reason why it was because he just couldn't stand race in the money he he says that he would. Indy in past two years before response to run again he said if you were Iran he would have to raise 121000 dollars a day. Over the course those two years just to be a viable candidate in the state of Ohio. In in who dictate and we'll be used rich people or that they call visited. Somebody that constantly is Europe home being wrong. Would politicians and teaching for money. Who come to improve the lives who says who called weekend and where and why. Yeah so that they both parties has. You know crop are constantly refining and expanding these lists of donors. Average people. And running through them to try to figure out you know who who would be best to call Steven Spielberg and who would be best to calls from bank executive. They kind of run the demographics on configure a should be calling you know. And you know listen I've talked to a lot of political donors. Who are totally with this process also because there are calls ringing off the hook. In fact I talked to a guy the other day who comes from the Rockefeller family. And he said. He's had you know I did thank you have a setup a dummies cellphone number but I never answered but I have a proposition because they just can't stand technicals anymore. So he you know. It that it the dollar's fall to two categories of people. One are. Which would call ideological donors and those are. Rich people that just believe in electing more Republicans because there Republican simply couldn't elect more Democrats because it. The other ones are transactional numbers. These are donors who are absolutely trying to play. They understand the government has become coin operated. And they're putting coin machines that they get access and that they can band the lawmaking process. You know divided by estimated I would say it's about half and half after ideological one pepper transactional donors. But either way listen I underway. Here's what you know are members of congress and do their avenue immersed themselves. In the mindset. But by their very rich people even if they're just ideological donors very rich people. Or in the mindset. Transactional donors like lobbyists and corporate executives were trying to get something in return. And what they're not doing is thinking about you on May. Let them Integra brig for noon when we come back. Although there is the question I I theme. Go Iberia it's implicitly understand that should bring poured troops said well. We yell at these corporations would let the average people give this kind of money it's all part of Reid's speech we can't restrict it. If I understand that correctly. How to give panels that ruling. In should really good chance that rule. Come right. Man about. There was silicon but it leads the power brokers. The human eggs showed little report and I'm from India and abide. Of those people. Businesses those entities far. And I think of Sobel overbooked and answers a lot of questions what is called nation only ten. A big league for a charge democracy and while we can do about them go one of the alters the Clinton. On the review board. Nick if I remember correctly. Ugoh directed Teddy Roosevelt that was something similar to where did god change. Yeah so so Teddy Roosevelt became president in the early nineteen hundreds. During what was called the gilded age and the gilded age was it was another time and our ministry of our country. In which there was huge. Aggregation of well at the top of society and the of the well the credit Rockefeller's from the comedies in the masters and the big in the big names that we summit today and these corporations. Had immense power over. The government. And they were also. Transforming themselves from being competitors in the game monopoly as so the oil trust the bank trusts the railroad trust these roll forming. It's very similar as today where you see a but how well at the top of society. Then not much at the bottom at all the declining middle class. And you've got corporations that are exerting some that are huge and bigger than ever exerting their power over government to try to do what they want out of it. So so you know that a hundred years ago income Teddy Roosevelt to the situation. And he was the greatest reforming president that we've ever had and he he busted up the trust. And as part of doing so he also fought for campaign finance reform. And specifically fought for something called the Tillman act. In 1997 which is the first law in this country to ban corporate contributions to political campaign. It looked inappropriate to him and he fought like held and but what to expect that and he is that he knew. That you'd have to do campaign finance reform to be able to do the other stuff he added do you critic. To being two or two reforming all the other stuff. Our interview will we bring them with a bright colored slow Rudy. Euro would do that. On Marco. I hope I'm wrong it. That. They care. That attitude in. The court the end I could be wrong about this but. Allow. I thought it was a law. That precluded. Our congressmen. From becoming. People. It became obvious within two years only in office. I don't know that. I remember of that tune and. Attracted. And so you know Washington is tricky little counsel lawyers. So what what happens is they leave and they go work for lobbying firms that they don't register. As lobbyists write so if you take Newt Gingrich Friendster and since Newt Gingrich during the financial crisis. Was working for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Which is we all now we're at the center of the crisis because they were the ones who work in purging a lot of as reckless mortgage funding. Newt Gingrich at the time was actually classified as a historian. Historians that is how they Freddie and Fannie disclosed their payments to him as a historian for them not a lobbyist for them. So. So there are people want what happens typically is when a member. The congress leaves office to become a lobbyist. He or she has to sit around for two years not as a registered lobbyists in the called something else the law firm like strategic advisors senior advisor. And then after that cooling off period they've they've been officially registered lobbyist. Let me liquid taken of break when we come back. At a more true roadway human blue ribbon tends to happen on good in tandem on. Number of reports. That I have gotten hold a bid that likely come from reputable places poke it clean. Just sounds so coach ringing. A mortgage for repair and say what is. We're trying hoopla of the easily lead to the power brokers who is it were so angry. At this. And can anything be done and once they or is it him or that of we're doing it about a very very good book to view are curious about leads the power brokers that Americans over the vote it's. During the being so angry. Concerning their actions their power their money. It's all nations all the Terry how big money for our democracy what we can do about it. Wonder via our batters thankfully you mean a lot of it is time in the tournament nick is so important report. I've read a 2014. Start by professors at Princeton and northwestern. And it's called testing period in American politics leads interest groups in the average citizens. Do you view a car pool of their conclusions. Number one compared to economic and leaps average voters. Have been low from non existence. Influence on public policy. Number two. In case of words that it's and to obtain their due to higher quality outcome. It was an impact due to be influence of the leads. Ran under them to citizens themselves. And overall business oriented groups have almost twice the influence of maps based group. Indeed true through this in the so what can we do what's. Yet that I know that study by by mark ambulance was the professor at Princeton to the town of the up and listen this in this is girl this is what is. At the core of the trop. Phenomenon this year it's at the core of the burning phenomenon. That is what you talked about the black people are so pissed off. Because. What we Euro realizing. Is that we've lost control of our own government. And you know I think for some people government. Seems like a bad word but I think we've got to remember that the first right. That we gave ourselves as Americans. Was the right to govern ourselves. The right to govern ourselves and self government we the people in the first words in the United States constitution. So what's happened and I think we all know wouldn't feel it is that the government has been hijacked. By a a small group of wealthy elites. And they are running it. To their own benefit and that's what that study by Princeton professor groups is that they you know the policy interest the lawmaking interest of regular people. Do not win now in blasts they also happen to coincide. With the interest of the rich people or donating all the mind of the campaign. It's. So that is that is so here's the deal this is very fixable. There there's there's really up in the stands in the way of this getting fixed other than. Us American citizens exerting our power over our politicians. You can do we can cope with all the ways of financing politics in the country might. Favorite model. Exists in New York City where. If they incentivized small donors. To give more money in the system by matching small donations. 621. So all of sudden fifty dollar donation is match with 300 dollars from a public funds from the New York City public fund. And so the Kyoto looks like a big deal looks like major donor to politician. And so they search is mum the regular people like you it means that it chasing rich people. That that for me is the big game changer so you know when you say some people say oh you wanna get money out of politics we'll actually know what we wanna do is we won. To redistribute. The way money gets in the politics of coming from all of us. As opposed to just from the rich people and because of because you know he who pays the piper calls the tune right well when the rich people pay the piper. And the politicians they get equality and for all paying the piper we get to quote him. So that's number one number two lobbying reform it's absurd that registered lobbyist should be able to donate to politicians. Because they've. You know in the yen becoming lobbyists they said the they're trying to accomplish something with the government. When you add money the equation looks like corruption it looks like legalized bribery. And frank in and by the way in the in South Carolina. They banned lobbyists from being able to make political contributions twenty years ago and a conservative state. Number three transparency. About 20% of the money that's in politics today is very hard to Trace it shouldn't be we should know where every dollars being spent. And that finally we've got to put a better cop on the beat the Federal Election Commission. In Washington is. Is fallen into status but dysfunction that's dysfunctional behavior basically. So we epic the FCC. I know that sounds like a lot. But but listen compared to fixing education. Or developing a new energy program for the country or jobs or repairing. Hundreds of billion dollar infrastructure that is actually really easy effects it's very easy it is technically access but it's gonna take a movement. It's gonna take all of us. Did standing up and Americans not as the liberals or conservatives because Americans sank that we have come to reclaim. Our right to self government. Nick Swisher had read more words they choose to Obama and Jimmy you and our viewer important time in the book news. Made Schilling will only take a big money corrupts our democracy well we can do that element of consume comes. And thank you looked and I get him back later date people really don't understand it and everything I've read about the book is it seems to be there. Anytime grow really really have to do it must appear to be talked about the Jews so much have a great day thank you need to pay and write that down the aisle. We're bold seen a lot of ups and downs in the oil industry in the state. I don't think I've ever heard that drilling activity. Have admiral Tom blown. Favored got courted by a bridge running hitting the golf but only five owned land. We're chip led troops what led beams and more important Lou we're good to have the questions. Anybody's you'd turnover. And and so time and it's a grubby old coming right back.