Honest Graft: Inside the Business of Politics

Brooks Jackson, Author
Brooks Jackson, Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (337p) ISBN 978-0-394-56452-4
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
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)
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