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tv   After Words with Lindsay Mark Lewis  CSPAN  December 15, 2014 12:00am-1:01am EST

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>> one that we have in the american bar association the first bucket that we focus on is the law firm as a central element of the cyber age and for the profession. the reason that we know it is a profession is because we can have our licenses removed. the second was the critical infrastructure that we be that the major target and it requires a great deal of significant tension to how we are going to be able to secure the infrastructure, but third is the international arena, it's not only domestically but internationally. so we will be coming forward with a product called to norm. ..
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the power to reach out and touch you when appropriate. i assume you all pay taxes. this is a rite of citizenship. the right to be forgotten to remove data from the internet is a major issue, and microsoft trying to pud -- the internet,
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unlike us, as we get older and forget things we want to remember, the internet never forgets. it exists somewhere. that is why we're seeing we need an international set of conventions to think through about how to control the data, monitor the data. and the last thought i'll give you, when you believe that you understand where privacy is, the fourth amendment actually says as follows, it's worth it to quote because it's offer misquoted. the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses-papers and effects, against unreasonable searches elm definition of what a person is, what a house is, what a paper is some effect is litigated. against unreasonable searches and seizures. paul said, who decides what is unreasonable? what you should understand who decides unreasonable is what justice brennan used to say. what the most concept of supreme
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court? >> we're final. >> five votes. five vote is read the majority decision. five people will decide what is unreasonable and reasonable in this united states. and if they make it a constitutional decision, based on a constitutional interpretation, it will require a constitutional amendment to change their interpretation. you have to understand why we think the court is so important, because the court is the ultimate definer of the outer limits and inner limits of what we understand is privacy in the 21st century. and that is how we do it. other countries have different views how they understand privacy. as i said, china and russia have different views how they understand privacy. those are not the regimes we think should be involved in making the final determineses how the internet will be govern it but that where is the next struggle will be taking plus as we move forward trying to figure
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out the interests. >> for the interest0s of time we'll have to call it there. i want to thank the audience. i appreciate your questions and thank the panelists very much on both sides of me. gene, you wanted to say something. >> the book is for sale. >> if you're interested, we'll have books outside and will be there to give you the honor of our signatures,. >> and we will have question ifs you want to come up afterwards. that's fine. thank you very much. can [inaudible conversations] >> every weekend booktv offers programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. keep watching for more here on c-span 2 and watch any of our past programs online at >> coming up next on booktv,
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"after words," this week, lindsay mark lewis, the inside story about how fundraisers allowed billionaires to take over politics. the executive director of the progressive policy institute explains how elections have changed and reveals the tactics used to amass large quantities of cash that candidates now need. this program is an hour. >> lindsay lewis good to have you with us today. the book is "political america anywheres" quite the tale of your madcap run through politics up to today. but you had a fascinating start in your young life. parents who were steeped in liberal politics. your father marched in sell marks alabama, had family that
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marched on washington, dc, involved in a whole variety of liberal and progressive organizations. what was it like growing up in that environment and how even in your early days did that shape your mind when it came to your world view and your outlook on politics? >> guest: first of all, a great family to grow up in. they dade lot for mow. lower middle class family that had a liberal belief and a liberal understanding of the world, and the desire to do good was certainly impressed on me from a young age, and i thank them for everything they did to give me a base of what i believe in and what i think our democracy should be about. i was lucky to have them keep me involved in some of those things they did as adults. when i was a child. and i was fortunate that when i started becoming an adult, i wanted to get in this business and try to make a difference.
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>> host: did they push you into politics? it's sunday, we're going to do all things politics, or morning, noon and night, they want to get you involved in political activities or was it michigan that just because of the environment you took a shine to. >> guest: they didn't push me, and never pushed me to be a fundraiser. more of an opportunity. they gave me an opportunity to be engaged in issues of the day. i remember being a ten-year-old protesting the iranian embassy over the hostages here in d.c., and it was just opportunities to be involved in the issues of the day, and have a say. >> host: did you have any singular experiences when you were a kid that made you think perhaps, all right, seems to be implementerred here for me to get involved in partisan politics. even in raising money for political candidates one day, or at least working on their staffs or working shoulder-to-shoulder with them? >> guest: i didn't have --
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nothing came from the family on that. it was a continual opportunity to be involved, so wasn't a singular moment. i think as a college student, when tom harken got up in 1991 and said i'm proud to be a liberal democrat, was a moment that triggered me back into the business. i wasn't in it in college. i was doing other things, and going to sort of a business track, but that moment, when tom harkin stood in iowa and said, i'm proud to be a liberal democrat, got me involved. >> host: aside from politics, i was struck by the fact you were quite an athlete going up. you were a hockey goalie. >> guest: doesn't show now but i was an athlete back then. hockey, wrestling, winning,. >> host: being a goaley, the metaphor speaks for itself. taking pucks at your identifies time and time again, people are slamming into you.
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i grew up a big buffalo sabre's fan, am today, even though they're not doing very well in the nhl. one of my heroes almost died on the ice. so this is not a position for the faint of heart to say the least. did you see some parallels with politics and sports, even at a young age and certainly when you got into your college years and 20s, where that experience that you hat and you were fairly elite athlete -- prepared you for the type of environment you would find yourself in when you were in your 20s? >> guest: sports is politics and politics is sports now. i have faith in the buffalo sabres. once they get past this year. i wanted to win. that was instilled in me as a hockey player and other sports, and that's all that mattered. and what comes look with that in politics is you want to win. you want to win campaigns. want to win elections, and you want to win issues. >> host: no sports, too, you
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count a certain number of points at the end of the game, if you have more than the other team, you win in politics, when you play the money game, often times, at lease philosophically, the more money you have, the greater chance you have of winning. do you think that holds true and did that hold true in the 90s and has that held true in the past decade as there has been massive change in the way money is raised. >> guest: we changed the way we do campaigns and it's really a recent change, and people aren't pay enough attention to it right now. in 1990, took $250,000 to win a house seat. and that was money you raised in your state or in your district, and now we have moved into this world where it's a million and a half dollars, just to be competitive for a house seat, and that's in 20 years. and we have instilled in the candidates you have to raise more money than your opponent. no matter what you do with that money, the point is you have to
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raise money to show up and be considered a legitimate candidate. which is something we didn't do in the '80s and 90s, or early '90s. it's a new trauma. >> host: back in the '70s or '8s so, you wanted to get into politics, seemed like there were logical routes to go. work up from answering phones in a congressional staffer's office, maybe out in the district, maybe one day you might be a legislative director, chief of staff. nobody really wanted to go be a political fundraiser. you weren't waking up in in the morning thinking i want to be the guy who raises money for the candidate. what fundamentally changed in the 1990s that shifted that environment so that raising money was in a professional sense, such a priority, not only for the politicians themselves but also the political party structure? >> guest: well, let me get back to the candidates in the '70s and '80s. the difference between them and
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what happens today is you have people that got elected to city council, state house, and then moved up. it didn't take a lot of money but they had a base of voters already and a base of support their district. what happened in 1994 is the democrats for the first time lost the house in 40-plus years, the reaction to that moment, money started to increase but hadn't hit eave single member of the house, and in '94, the decision was that we lost the house because we didn't have enough money. and now we have explored and it in 20 years gone from $350,000 campaigns to million and a half to $2 million and that happened in 20 years. >> host: but -- writing about money and politics in the height of the roman empire. money in politics is nothing new. was there something specific that changed the way that democrats and republicans both began to think about political money during the 1990s?
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i might suggest that the internet had a role to play in this, but did you find that to be true or was there something else going on here? >> guest: there's no silver bullet. no one decision that changed the system. what happened after '94 was, you had to races money money north only for your own campaign bark because you were told you wouldn't be a real candidate unless you got to million dollars you. also had a change in at the structure of how the house leadership, whos, and cow you were forced as a junior member or less senior member to actually start giving money to the campaign committees. $50,000, $100,000, pay-in fee to be a member of the caucus. that's money you had to raise you didn't have to raise three year before that. the internet exploded in 2000 with mccain and howard dean took it to a new level in 2004, which has dramatically changed the relationship that members of
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congress have with donors and with their own districts. it's sort of been a gradual change. it wasn't one thing didn't change the way we raise money for politics. >> host: to you, your entry the world was sided with the changes you -- coincide with the changes you describe and also seemed an accidental entry into the world of money and politics and political fundraising. how did that happen for you and how did you get involved so intimatelys' deeply as you would. >> guest: very accidental. i started working -- volunteering and working for dick gephardt in the capitol. i was 22 years old and i was asked to take an envelope one day to this place called the effective government committee, which -- >> host: his leadership pac. >> guest: i didn't know that. i loved the name. effective government committee. and i took the envelope over. it was on 80f street, just down the street from here, and i
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walked in and never left. these guys asked me to stick around' help them out, and they certainly wanted me more than the folks on the hill did. >> host: this wasn't some would paneled congressional office with all the trappings of capitol hill or one of the office buildings there. what did it look like? what was the environment physically that you were working in? >> guest: it was hole in the wall on the eighth floor, with pour people in it, in-one guy in the main office and three younger guys my age, outside, making phone calls. certainly wasn't the glory of being five feet from the capitol floor i was used to before, but it was an engagement that got me excited. i was a little worried. i'd just witnessed the summer of mccain finegold -- >> host: money and politic
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scandal. >> guest: huge scandal that washed over. it scared me. i dididn't want to be involved in any of that what seemed to be to be a corruption age. being wanted in politics is a great thing, and they wanted me, and i did it for the next 20 years. >> host: you write in the book more time is can count you waned out, you thought it was a dirty business, not a business that you wanted to be associated with any longer than you absolutely had to. what kept you in? >> guest: it is a dirty business. i hated virtually every day i worked there, besides a few really fun days. what kept me in there was unfortunately a paycheck for most of it, and the opportunity to do thinged that nobody else my age was doing. was traveling around the country with the democratic leader of the house, a flight every weekend, going to some city to raise money, or going on great vacations that were paid for by these campaigns, and i was
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skiing in tell uride or at the beach in north carolina so -- but it was not a happy experience. i didn't want wealthy individuals, especially to have the influence they did, and i was part of allowing them to have the access and ability to do what they wanted to do. >> host: it is a fundraiser, seemed like it took some sort of personal toll on you, too. some of the stories you tell in the book almost push the boundaries of believability. you tell one story about when you're in the virgin islands and you're stuffing bricks of marijuana in the handbag of dick again hard's wife, jane you. tell toot story about passing out underneath a desk. when dick gephardt game by. the minority leader of the house and can he can't find i you because your under your desk passed out drunk. my favorite is you blew off a
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ted kennedy fundraiser because you were playing a video game. was this endem mick in fundraising during the 1990s for dem contractses or just you trying to grab until some very odd ways with the pressure that was being put on you to raise as much money as you possibly could for some of the most powerful people in the world? >> guest: first, let me say, unfortunately these stories are true, even though they sound outrageous. they are what my life was in the '90s. it was a don't grapple -- constant grapple. is was being paid a lot of now raise a lot 0 money and i couldn't connect the two dots of why i was doing this, when i despised doing it. therefore i did stupid things along the way. so, sometimes avoid doing it, avoid making those phone calls, avoid setting up the next fundraiser. it was my self-medicating way of coping with the situation i was in. i think a lot of fundraisers
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back then do that, or did that. i don't know what they do today. i hope it's nose -- it's not as bad as it was. >> host: you mention some notable politicians and some people whose names you might not recognize as just an average person reading this book. but you write about how you chenged a lot over the years and how today obviously you're a very different person than you were during the 1990s, when you were involving yourself in some of the more madcap aspects of your job. what's go back to dick gephardt. how did change over the course of your seven years, was it -- >> guest: yes. >> host: seven years roughly with him. seemed as if he himself had a sort of transformation from somebody who was very much for the middle class, very much for the union work, the laborer, to somebody who was bee holding to david force by the time then
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1990s closed out. talk about that transformation in regards to dick gephardt. >> guest: dick was a unique individual. one, i had a high level of respect for the man and still do. i think he was a champion of the middle class. i think he unfortunately did change a little bit towards the end. he was chasing what happened to him in 1988. he ran for president and ran out of money. he won iowa and had no money to compete new hampshire, and when the -- after losing the house in '94 the democrats went out searching for new money, and he was the leader of that, and we became a coastal party of wealthy individuals from california, and wealthy individuals from new york. it's what we needed to do to raise enough money to compete. what we told ourselves we needed to do. i think the one unique think about dick gephardt which -- i hope he's not -- he never cared.
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he made phone calls, not knowing who he was even talking to. it was a process to him at that point. but because he had to spend so much time doing it, it changes who you are, changes the process of how you think. now you're appealing to donors or a donor community that is not the same as a midwestern district and that's the unfortunately occurrence when you -- we have increased so much money in politics, is it's not a -- it's a very subtle change but it's a change into who you actually represent when you're in congress. >> host: you wrote that money became a sort of central preoccupation of dick gephardt. what did you mean by that when you wrote it? >> guest: i think -- one, he was chasing -- running out of money in 1988, and he was chasing winning back the house for the democrats. and we became -- this was his focus. raise enough money to compete with the republicans we can win the house back or he could
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become president of the united states, and when you do that, you lose sight of what you're trying to do. you loose sight-door lose sight of who you're actually recruiting to run for the house and we became the party that looked for candidates that could either raise a million dollars or write. thes a check for a million dollars. it was no longer what i call the greatness of the '80s, which was when you described a senator, you described how as an alabama democrat or a massachusetts republican. that doesn't exist today. you're a tea party candidate, liberal candidate, a national -- because of money it's a national campaign now for every house seat. and we have changed the dynamic of who serves in the house because of this. >> host: the schedule of the congressman or a senator, it's not -- public is not privy to those schedules.
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you can't use a freedom of information act request. you made their schedules in part. what was the change in terms of fundraising from, say, a point about 25 years ago, to a point in time much sooner to today, in terms of how much time either day-by-day or week-by-week, a political candidate was spending strictly on fundraising and nothing else? >> guest: it's changed dramatically, and this also goings back to change for a lot of ropes. members who don't have competitive seats forced to raise money because they have to give it to the committees, which is -- didn't happen 20 years ago. i think 2014, will raise -- the democratic campaign committee will get $27 million in contributions from the house members. 1992 they got a million dollars. it's gone up 26 million in 22 years. dramatic change. and what happens when you need
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to raise that money is you spend a lot more time on the phone. you're -- right now -- they're they're not in session but every week the trolley of members walking down to the phone banks to make calls didn't exist 20 years ago. the average incumbent when they got re-elected that year after that, they'd actually govern and legislate. and they'd have maybe one fundraiser a year, sometimes two. and now you have an opportunity to raise money as a member of congress two or three times a month. that's what has changed. >> host: you wrote here of another person who you mentioned, former congressmannard mart -- congressman martin frost. i covered one of his campaigns you. said of him back in the 1990s, quoting, seniority would now be based on money, not on legislative skill, and you
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attributed that change to him when he was in charge of the democratic congressional campaign committee. how did that manifest itself in reality, this notion that it wasn't based on merit that you would get a very high ranking position in congress, but it would be based in large part on your fundraising ability? >> guest: this goes back to the '94 election who democrats lost. martin is one of the few people in politics that didn't just like fundraising, he loves it. this is his life and he was very good at it but it think what happened is, democrats convinced themselves that in '96 we lad to have more money than the wad in '94. so this goes back to the dues to the democratic congressional campaign committee and martin was part of a team that led the change. they whoa show up at a caucus
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meeting on a weekly basis with a list of members that paid their dues and a list of members that hadn't paid their dues, and who would raise money for the campaign and who hadn't, and it became a system of approval that you wanted to be at the top of the list. somebody didn't want to be at the bottom, and if you were at the bottom you weren't going anywhere inside the house leadership. just was a fact of the day. and you had to pay your homage to the committee in order to be considered to be a part of the caucus. >> host: this is in no way aning significant change because some much of the legislative action is happening at the committee levelful did this dodge damage in your opinion and the matters shifted toward money as opposed to legislative skill. >> guest: i think it caused a lot of damage to how congress works. this created a very partisan
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atmosphere. you had to raise money to be part of the campaign committee. three years before this, you maybe gave $5,000 to the d triple c. by 1996 you had to give 100,000. if you wanted to blow considered part of the team. and that changes, one, how you think about legislation, changes how you act with other members of congress, and it certainly makes you much more partisan because you want to be able to raise money, which is -- can be done through fear, through constant contact. it changed the entire dynamic of how congress actually works. >> host: a couple more name you mentioned. steve elmendorf. not a household name in the country but certainly here in d.c. one of the more powerful democratic lobbiests in d.c. talk about his evolution from somebody who at the time was chief of staff for gephardt and
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of course became a very, very powerful fundraiser orman-giver in his own right -- or money-giver in his own right. died you see a transformation the way money and politics worked together? >> guest: i did. he is part of the generation that i think had a -- more in line with where i was in the early 90s, which was money was not a good thing in politics. and that increased in the next six to ten years. they became part of the process. i think steve was a fine chief of staff for d.c. he understood how the city works. and one of the funny things about him is this is a guy who despised lobbyists. we weren't allowed to invite lobbyists on our trip. was against the rules per his direction. and here he is 15 years later,
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i'm sure, going on all the ski trips he can fit into his weekend schedules. so, i think this is how the city changes people you. come in with an idealistic view of how the city should work and you also become part of it, and done extremely well for him and good for him -- for himself and good for him. the city certainly changed him. >> host: senator kent conrad, patrick kennedy, terry mcauliffe, in a position of power him, howard deep, all other folks you messengered and not all the time put in the most positive of light. if there's one connecting theme i see here, these are all democrat, when people think of big money and politics and big expenditures, often thinking of the koch brothers, karl rove and super pacs and nonprofit groups have the been very, very successful lately of the past couple of years, at least on the
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republican side. but you're putting the own news on democrats here for the changes that have happened in money and politics. why is that? were democrats doing that republicans weren't in the 1990s that helped the process and system change so dramatically over the past 20 years? >> guest: a couple of things. i do -- i'm a democrat. obviously my book is about democrats. but i also -- this issue is not a pathway a. issue. democrats do have an issue with money. got to find a way to fix it and solve it. and we're not going to solve it by saying this is a republican issue. democrats are clean. last week, pointed out we raised money money for some of our super pacs than the republicans and the koch brothers. it is -- it isn't a democratic
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issue. it's a washington issue. we changed the way who runs for office because of money and politics, and if we want to change the system and solve it, we have to admit it's not a -- we're not out to get republicans. not going to change is to screw over republicans. aboth of us. we have to come together and find a way to actually make the city work, and the first step in that is admitting we're a part of the problem. >> host: ow write in the book that democrats sort of have a motto that our money is cleaner than republican money. >> guest: right. >> host: what exactly did you mean by that? is democratic money somehow cleaner than republican money? is a million dollars or ten million dollar from a big-time republican donor any worse or better than ten million dollars from a big-time democratic donor. >> guest: i think democratic moat toy is my billionaire is cleaner than your billionaire. it's the wrong way to approach
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the problem. we have to admit that big money is a problem in politics and it's skewed our politics to what the sheep will care about, and to say that our liberal billionaire is a better person than a republican billionaire, i think is a complete false road to go down, and provides false hope. there is a little bit of a difference between republican and democratic money. it's gotten out of control with the super pacs and mccutcheon decision that can allow unlimited money. but at the core, a wealthy republican has the same beliefs as a core republican house candidate. it's less taxes, less regulation, it's almost an easy phone call to make. republican member can say issue want to lower your tacks, send me a check. democrats have a much harder sell to make. specially to wealthy donors and
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what a democrat rug for the house in kentucky has in relation to an upper east side liberal, it's a harder sell, and you change that candidate that's running from kentucky because they need to raise that money, that wealthy liberal in new york. >> host: i came away with the impression from the book that you were disappointed in yourself being part of this machinery, that you were disappointed in some of the people that you looked up to, disappointed in the gephardts the martin frosts, terry mcauliffes of the world. did you have scores to settle with the book, particularly when you were saying some rather unflattering things about the way that they either conducted business or the way that their philosophies about money and politics and the way they interacted with constituencies changed over the years as big money began to take hold not only of the democratic party or the republican party but in a demonstrable way the entire political system more so than in
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previous year snooze. >> guest: some of the stories are in there to keep it as a pain turner. one of the main reasons for write is i'm hoping that people outside of washington actually want to read the book, and stay informed. the biggest score i have is our political system. some individuals are called out. they use it as examples of what has gone wrong with our system. what i'd like to do is set al score that is saying, we have missed this up in -- memphised this up the last 20 years and have to find a way to get out of this. if i fall off some people's christmas card list, so be it, i'll live. but if we can actually have an honest conversation about how we have changed the system, and for the worse, i'll be okay with it. >> host: we are sitting in chairs by now but your a big guy, probably 6'5". are you look over your shoulder at all when this book comes out,
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wondering what people will say about it or how they'll feel about what you have written about them? >> guest: it was a risk writing it but an important conversation to have. so i took that risk. if the people don't like me or hate me, so be it. maybe we'll actually have a conversation about we need to come together and solve this problem. just in case, i do practice on the weekends, just for my future, which is -- would you like fries with that? who knows what will happen. i think i've contributed to the conversation of how messed up our system is now, and if that's my swansong in d.c., i'm okay with that. >> host: say nothing of fries. you have this almost religious moment, i believe, in amarillo, texas, at the big texan steak house. if you eat an 82-ounce steak you can eat it for free.
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you thought, maybe shy do anything than what i'm doing right now. in the mid-'90s. why didn't you just quit. why didn't you just get away? why were you so wrapped up in this that you can't distract yourself from something that time and time again bit your own admission ownboards you thought was almost killing your soul from the inside out? >> guest: certainly the days i wish i had quit. by the way, the billboards for that steakhouse, the greatest thing on route 40. i couldn't wait for the next story to be told. genius marketing on their part. they should help raise money for politicians. they'd do well. i think for me, again, it became -- it was the easiest pay check i could get. this was a pretty simple job to do. it was a fun job to do at times without realizing the damage you're actually doing to the system.
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so when i got back to d.c. later that year, i got a job working for senator conrad, and i got paid twice a month, a decent amount of money. i wasn't going to make that doing something else. i probably should have. >> host: part of the book reads like a story of sex, drugs and tony bennett concerts at big fundraiserses houses. were all fundraisers, democratic or republican, was that hard to escape? there obviously was some pretty nice credit creature comforts. >> guest: a lot of benefits to being a fundraiser. i hate to tell kids that -- >> host: is it true today, what you experienced then in 2014. >> guest: unfortunately it's more today than it was 20 years ago. when i started raising money in '92, you had leadership that did certain things. you had these concerts you had
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weekend trips to the beaches and golf resorts and ski trips. it was a select few members of congress that actually did this. today, it's virtually every single member of congress has a weekend trip, once or twice a year, where you can pay $5,000 and go golf for three days or go to saratoga race course for opening weekend or go to san diego and sail for three days. that's the perk of being a fundraiser. creates -- one, it creates a ton of waste in the system. a lot of money you spend to actually do that. and i don't know why you wouldn't want to keep doing that if you didn't have prims. it's a fun life. >> host: despite your transgressions here and there-underror star kept rising you. had some bumps in the road, got fired a couple times, lost some jobs, but yet you kept even when you were taking a step backward you took two forward.
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how did that happen for you and how were you able to keep your career together and keep it cobbled together in such a way that over the long term texas long arc, you were getting promoted. >> guest: it's a scary thought of our democracy. i was an awful fundraiser. i hated rich people. i hasted calling them every day. and yet over 15-year period i go from a deputy kid, working for dick gephardt though, national finance director of the democratic national committee. i have no clue how it happened itch kept doing what i wanted to do. i think at the end, you know, i was extremely excited about the possibilities of actually changing the system through howard dean, and i glommed on to him and rode him to washington. >> host: he came in as a bat out of hell in politics. said we're going to change the system, going to do things a different way, going raise money in a different way. that was really the first election and of course he was
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the first candidate, as you well know, to seize the power of the internet as a fundraise tool, at least in a national sense. were you heartened by that? did you see that as some sort of pivotal moment when all the things you hated about the fundraising system in the country as it applied to politics might go in a different direction. >> guest: very heartened. this is why i got excited about the dean for president campaign. an opportunity -- i got sick of the way we were doing it, you know, going to new york and meeting with a wealthy person six or seven times just to get a thousand dollars check out of them. this is not good for our democracy. dean comes along with a great team around him, of people that were way ahead of their time, and produces this grassroots fundraising, pushing an e-mail, push a button send an e-mail, raise $750,000 in a day.
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this is what i wanted. what i thought was the holy grail to fixing our system, and i stayed with that for a couple of years. unfortunately, going through that process, this was not the way to solve our money in politics problem. it actually has increased the problems that were associated with big money. we have become -- >> host: you're saying small dollar donors are as much a problem as anything. >> guest: they are. >> host: what do you mean by that. order to attract those donors and keep them excited, you have to speak to them, and that's heated rhetoric, that's quite -- this government is the greatest thing for online grassroots fundraisers. ted cruz, treasonning to shut down the government, this greatest boon -- if he did it every week he would raise $2 million every single time. these folks want something in return, and they want action, and they don't allow you to
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compromise. they don't allow you to govern because that's not what they're excited about. they're not going to give you to the $20 if you god forbid team with a democrat if you're a republican or a democrat teaming with a republican. you can't compromise and appeal to this new grassroots. it's actually done more damage to our politics than big money has. >> host: john kerry would go on to win the nomination on the democratic side, lose to george w. bush, and won re-election, but let's go back in time and stay that howard dean had won the democratic nomination, had won the presidency, would we be in the same place today in terms of money and politics with howard dean presidency for four years or eight years than we are with history having spooled forward the way it has? >> guest: i think we would be in the same bad place we are. i think unfortunately -- especially for democrats, we haven't stepped back and
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accepted the grassroots fundraising like this is not what we need. we need that money. we actually do need the money. what we don't need is constantly, every single day, trying to appeal to these masses and you have to do it by being over the top. the two greatest fundraiser in the last couple years have been allen grace and allen west, the two florida people that couldn't do anything but scream about something. their day was made by sending an e-mail that was over the top and accusing the other side of doing something awful, and they raised a lot of money off of that. >> host: i want to ask you about time spent in a moment. let's step back and talk about an interesting element that you had in the book about the labor movement. a lot of people still think that big labor is a perennial force in politics, that will be able to dominate an election on the
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liberal side. queue didn't seem to see it quite that way as far as labor is acting and concerned in the here and now. has labor's power waned over the past couple of deck sunny day. >> guest: more than waned. almost dissipated. especially in democratic pot ticks, which is their base. money is a direct result of this losing of power from the labor movement. if you ran for congress in '92, almost 40 to 50% of your money for that campaign came from the labor movement. there were almost 100 labor pacs at that point and getting $4,000 or $5,000 from each of those provided you more than enough money to run for congress. as money went from $3,000 campaign to $1.5 million campaign, labor got pushed at bit to the side. didn't matter as much. and you see that now.
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right or wrong on something like keystone, i actually have no opinion on whether we should build it or not. but for democrats, the liberal environmentalists in california have more pull than the labor movement that wants to actually create the jobs and build it, and you -- that wouldn't have happened 25 years ago because you didn't have to appeal to the environmental wealthy individuals. >> host: very practical sense on the ground and whatever state you want to point to, how has that affected the way that policy works? if labor is waning, don't quite have as much political power today as they used to how are politicians legislating differently? how are they talking differently? how are they acting differently because of the change in that dynamic? >> guest: the key to this is that it's the candidates that actually run for congress. 25 years ago it would have been a working class person that
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could actually come together with enough support in a local district to run for congress. today it is not that person. you can't afford to do it. unless -- a person who has a lot of money, democrat, doesn't have a lot in common with the labor movement. it's just not who they grew up with. they didn't grow up in a working class family. weren't milk truck drivers or teamsters and there's no relationship there, and when you get to congress, you can meet with them, get to know them, but it's not the same as coming from out of that woodwork. >> you know the adage as well as i do time is money. talk about it in the book in a different sense, slightly different color, which is that time is money in a political realm when politicians are spending hours every day, dialing for dollars, conducting
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fundraisers. beyond labor, beyond any discussion of any specific constituency, talk about the time element strictly, and how big a factor that is when politicians are spending that much time fundraising and not legislating or not working with their constituencies, and how that changes a politician and how he or she will interface with the people who have elected him or her to come here to d.c. to do their job. >> guest: right. the time problem is certainly new. 20 years ago you didn't spend as much time as you do today. didn't have as minute fundraisers. and we're the only democracy in the world in which you can actually take a vote and two minutes later step outside of the capitol and make a fundraising phone call. in fact, 44 states in the united states restrict that. cannot raise money when you're in session. but that's an issue with the
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times. but it changes who you are because you can be elected from texas as a democrat or republican and you get to d.c. and it's almost like it's a secondary issue now, is what your district cares about. you're on the phone or in meet little or going to lunch with folks that represent new york or california. if you're a democrat, or kansas and can he koch brothers ifover a republican. these are the people you're trying to represent because you're spending time on the phone with them or in meet examination not as concerned with your home district. >> host: democrats and rub are e you d-rubs are doing this equal -- republicans are doing this equally. >> guest: absolutely. there's no difference. you can't say democrats are cleaner when raise money because they do put the time in. down the street, the dccc there are phone banks set up and they're making calls every day, the more vulnerable ones.
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the less vulnerable ones are doing it do because they have to give money to their friends in the caucus. it's changed the -- i think 25 years ago you would have come to washington, especially as a young member and gotten to know how the city work, got ton know the issues you cared about and you actually might have got ton know the other party because you had time. you didn't have somebody to go to dinner with. now you're going to dinner with a donor or somebody that can get you a donation. which is a change from the '80s and 90s. >> host: how quickly did it change? a couple years, a decade? was this a very rapid shift? i think '9 4 was the marking line of the shift. i think in -- that's the '96 cycle you saw an increase in '98 a bigger increase. it's gone up every year since, and i think you were told when
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you get to washington as a freshman member of congress especially that the most important thing for you is not the committee you're going to sit on, not january 5th when you get sworn in. it's the march 31st filing deadline you first financial effect deadline file and if you don't show money, 50,000 or 100 touchdown 0o200000, then you'll be tarringed to be defeated by somebody, either somebody in your open party or somebody in the other party. that's whatter who told when you've get here now. and that means you have to go make phone calls. you have to meet with donors. and you have to change who you are, unfortunately. >> host: we had the marquee legislation proposed by john mccain, russ feingold, bipartisan, signed by george w. bush. changed the way that money and politics worked in the country. ever since that has been eroded.
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other peas of legislation have gone effective live nowhere. nor lately, overtours about amending the constitution to overturn the very seminal citizens united decision of 2010, which truly opened the gates in a major way to unlimited amounts of spending and fundraising, to advocate for and against candidates. but you don't see any of these as real solutions. you talk about there being a time fix. talk about what you mean by that and how time more so even than money could be in your opinion a solution to what you described as the problem? >> guest: sure. i think you can try everything you want to try to limit the big money in politics. it's going to find a way in. i think we -- the folks that were so behind the mccain mccain-feingold build in 2001 were told this would happen, a super pac would happen because that money wasn't just going to
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disappear from the sim system. this folks found a new way which is super pacs. when you look at the -- not that it want to become a european democracy, europe actually -- you can't raise money. you can't do campaigning, and it changes the way they work with each other. we can do a better job over here but i think all these other solutions -- disclose act, that's great. it should be transparent. but how is that going to change the system? still means you have to raise money nonstop. means you're under the pressure, as soon as you get re-elected, to start raising money the next day. i say a seat of paper for 25 members of congress that have fundraisers in the next six weeks after the election. that's unheard of. something you didn't do before.
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>> for debt, for 2016. >> guest: members that don't have challengers that are actually having fundraisers in november and december. i don't understand the logic behind this. why -- you just got re-elected. how about actually trying to do something before you start appealing to people to get re-elected. >> host: you talk to conservatives conservatives and they say it's the first amendment, the ability to speak freely and money -- they equate with speech and if you have a million dollars or a billion dollars or whatever the figure is to spend on politics, who am i or the government to say you can't use your money to advocate for whatever you whatnot to or for that matter advocate for a politician who believes what you believe. what's your response to somebody who believes that? >> guest: it's an easy answer. i also want almost a first amendment right for -- you have
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to have the right to say no to somebody, and when you have that much money, over -- when that money is available every day, which is nonstop campaigning, you don't have a right to say no as a member of congress or even at the state house level. yet you can't say no when there is no time limit on the money. i think consecutive conservatives -- there's a point to it, but does that mean that you have to raise money every single day? the billion dollars when these folks -- we're looking at almost a full billion dollar mid-term here. that money is going to find its way into the system but if you actually restrict the time on it that that the money can be put in the system it we start decreasing because there's a lot of waste in the system. also the opportunity for a member of congress to not have to raise as much money as they do now. >> host: if you could snap your
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finger and restrict the amount of time politicians were spending raising money, what would the system be? >> guest: there would be a slight transition because a lot of members of congress wouldn't know what to do on a wednesday night in d.c. they'd find some new restaurants, that some fundraiser wasn't paying for them to go to. you reside see more compromise, see actually solutions come out of washington, because you're not tied to, one, a grassroots appeal, where i can't come around to the other side, and you actually have the opportunity to take the time and work with the other side or even in your own party to come up with solutions. there is no time for that now. you go from a committee hearing to votes ton the floor, to the phone bank. or to your fundraising lunch or your fundraising dinner. you need to -- the process in d.c. needs to change. it's not about the amount of money right now. at about the amount of time.
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>> host: are you suggesting a dedicated period of time, say, behalf primary, before an election, when that would be fundraising season and everything else would be legislating season in how would it look on the calendar as far as you're concerned? >> guest: it would -- i don't know the actual answer for the time. i suggest 100 days essentially before a primary, the first time you can raise a dollar. legislating is not governing. i mean, legislating is governing, campaigning is not governing and we don't separate it right now, and what is wrong with having 100 day campaign? i don't think -- you're still going to end inwith inculp bened being re-electioned. just won't have as much money. you actually give an opportunity for somebody that doesn't have a lot of money to maybe actually compete more. your don't have to raise $2 million or a million and a half just to be competitive. if you have 100-day campaign, half a million dollars is a deposit chunk of change to
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make -- decent chunk of change to make a difference, but governing and campaigning are two different things and we don't separate it today. >> host: president obama came in 2008 on a wave of reform. talked about money and politics a lot. talked about in his opinion how it was corrupting the process. we're near 2014 now and since 2008 we have had the citizens united decision, had the speech now decision, you have that the mccutcheon decision and very you others that have method it easier to put money into the political system. have deregulated the process of putting money into the political system. what happened? >> guest: it's washington. a city that -- a lot of people make a lot of money off of the system, and part of that system is campaigning and part of that system is raising money. there's a lot of vested interests that don't want to see it changed at all. but i think the most important thing right now, especially for
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democrats, is we have to admit money is a problem for us also, and i think the reform efforts have especially coming out of congress and barack obama has nod said much about this in the last two years, besides speaking about the evils of big money, but reform efforts in congress have blamed republicans without looking at themselves and saying, we are -- i we have to change how we do this, too. >> host: democrats this election cycle no 2014, one of the most successful super pacs and pate frat majority u.s.a. is a nonprofit organization, doesn't have to disclose its donors. various other successful big-money operations that were animated by the citizens united decision or speech now decision, which effectively created super pacs. are democrats trying to have both ways? on one hand you get fundraising e-mails from democrats saying citizens united is horne, but
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give me money, and the super pacs are doing their asking and soliciting big dollars from mass of donors. can democrats go forward and survive in this environment while trying to work both ends of the argument? >> they can't, and they have to admit that -- we raise as much money as republicans. may not do it the same way they do it. i think i got 20 fundraising e-mails yesterday from senate candidates, three of which don't even have campaigns. they're up by 20 points. at the same time we're complaining about the big money from republicans. we're spending all of our time raising money, spending all of our time appealing to folks that are not what we should be as democrats.
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that has changed because of money and politic inside the last 20 years. and we have to start thinking about what we want out of our democracy? if you're a progressive, we want governing you can't campaign and govern at the same time and we have let that happen over the last 20 years because we associated winning with money. >> host: do you expect that president obama during his final two years, doesn't have to worry about re-election, he is going to go back in a way to the roots of his campaign in 2007 and 2008 and make this an issue on his personal agenda. >> guest: i'd love it if he did. ...


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