Money Talks: Corporate Pacs and Political Influence

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BasicBooks, 1992 - Business and politics - 272 pages
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Here is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what PACs want from Congress and how they go about getting it. Everyone agrees that in politics "money talks" and that political action committees (PACs) have transformed our system of campaign finance. But what exactly do the PACs hope to get in return for the money they contribute to the campaign chests of politicians? Although much has been written about how such money corrupts Congress and shapes public policy, this remarkable book is the first to ask the men and women who actually spend the money, the PAC managers themselves, exactly how they work - how they decide whom to support and with how much. Based on extensive and extremely candid interviews with key officials from every major kind of corporate PAC, the book shows that the impact of PACs is more subtle - and more insidious - than merely changing votes. Money Talks shows how PACs work - out of the public eye - to make minor changes in the wording of a bill, long before it reaches the floor of Congress. If a company can get the wording it wants, according to one PAC director, then "it doesn't much matter how people vote afterwards". PAC directors are not worried by reform proposals, the book shows. The PAC is only one of many ways they can influence Congress, "a tool and nothing more". If PACs were abolished, they are confident they could find ways to evade the rules. The authors argue that multiplying regulations won't work and that PACs will always stay one step ahead of any regulations. As one PAC director said, "by the time they change it, it's too late", and the book cites several PAC managers who explain how they would get around the system. Money Talks argues instead foran innovative system of public financing, one which would cost us far less than the tax loopholes and giveaways that are the products of our current system.

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Money talks: corporate PACS and political influence

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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 ... Read full review


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About the author (1992)

Dan Clawson is professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is an editor of the ASA Rose Series in Social Policy.

Neustadtl, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland.

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