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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  March 7, 2016 12:00am-3:01am EST

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they spent in very targeted ways in interesting ways to try to change the whole direction of american politics. poster what are their names and where are they located? re guest: charles koc nd the ones people think of as the coke brothers and in wichita kansas where the family industries are based into david lives in new york and is the wealthiest president in manhattan. there are two others, bill and fred but mostly you don't hear about it in the headlines. >> host: why not? >> guest: they are not as political and in some ways, they are losers in a huge family struggle that took place over the years.
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it's the biggest company no one has heard of it almost every american probably comes into contact with a. but there's georgia-pacific lumber like so many other products you are a consumer of the industries and it was an epic fight who is going to have the control of the company that the father started and the two that lost out are the ones you don't hear about. >> host: what do bill and fred do? >> guest: he started up his business of fossil fuels. it has call and gas.
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he has his company that had a different kind of coke and fred is a shy philanthropist who is very interested in the arts and gives money to all kinds of cultural institutions because the other brothers are splashy and like to get attention and david cokes is known to everybody in new york city because he is ablaze and on so many institutions but he likes to get attention for its where his older friend is quite quiet about it. >> host: when you refer to fred as artistic or you saying that he's gay? >> guest: i wouldn't say that i know because fred has said himself that he's not gay. his brothers have accused him of being gay over the years and a
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say in fact they tried at one point according to a document that i described in the book it is a sealed court documents that describes under oath testimony about how they tried to frame their older brother and they said they called him to a meeting that they said was a company meeting and infected was a kangaroo court where they had their older brother walk him in his 20s at that point and they said they were going to kill their father he was gay and unless he turned over his share in the company to their other brothers, said was an attempt to blackmail his private life. his private life has remained private so i don't feel that it's my role in life to try to out people who may be gay or not be gay. i would like to give him the
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right to decide the privacy he wants to live in but i think that it's too bad his own brothers didn't show that same kind of respect and it's an insight into this family. this is a rough, tough, ruthless bunch of people. and this is the story i tell in the book about the story dark about the story of the family members. they went against each other and the idea that you might try black telling your road brother and they said they would disinherit him if they found out. the older brother didn't buckle under. they've grown up with him and us all the rough. they stood up and fred walked out of the room and before that he said i don't ever want to hear about this again. he didn't get treated the same and runs of inheritance but he walked out on that and in recent
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years he said he is a supporter of gay writes even though people think of them as vastly conservative, but they are not really social conservative, they are libertarians with me that he changed his views on this but it was a brutal confrontation. >> host: held as how does a reporter all circuit a hold of a sealed court documents like that? >> guest: with lots and lots of trying. there are certain things i can't talk about how i got the documents i have. you but you can see that nobody has challenged for the authenticity of it and there are new documents in the book and it's took it took a long time to put this book together up against the law to try to get the information but as a reporter i think the court documents are one of the most
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kind of unassailable types of factors that you can bring to the public. >> host: and dark money the history of the millionaires behind the radical right, were you able to interview any of the family members? >> guest: i wish i could talk more about the people i was able to interview who do not want to be discussed. i can't really talk about that in greater detail but i can say that neither david or charles spoke to me. and i did try for quite a few years and for some feedback people worked with him or talk to people that tried to get an interview, they've got a long history of secrecy. so there is kind of a family saying he said it is in the whale spouts that he gets harpooned and so for that reason he has preferred to swim under
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the surface. so, the story that i tell here is mostly the story these people don't want told and they certainly don't want to help me tell it. >> host: you write the fiercely terry and family owned part of its fortune. these are maybe the country's foremost libertarian influences opposed to the anti-authoritarian, yet the family's fortune begins when the father is a very bright man and an early graduate at mit figured out a better way to crack lille to turn it into refinement and he had this breakthrough he couldn't sell it in america because he felt the major oil companies were blocking him and they had kind of a monopoly so they had to take it elsewhere if he was going to make money so
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ironically the place he went first was the soviet union and he went to stalin and he built something like 15 royal refineries in the first five-year plan of the soviet union and then he realized he could get his own people to design these and they could copy it. so he was kind of out of business bear and looking further for where he could go come he then helped to design one of the most important refineries and not see germany. he got the commission in 1933, started building in 1935 so at this point by then come the people who are watching the rise of hitler became chancellor of the third right in 1983. hitler is in control at this point in a lot of bad things are beginning to happen. but, fred coke was making money
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and this refinery that was built to be personally greenlighted. at first they said they didn't want this american refinery and hitler said he wanted and okayed it and it became key to announce the war efforts. it was a very advanced refineries that could refine high-octane fuel that was necessary for the air force and hitler was trying to build up the military at this point and saw the possibilities and this became a very big part of the not the war effort. the u.s. allies bombed several times because it was a key target during world war ii and according to the reports that came out after my book, in between the and between the bombings was built by slave
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labor by people people who do not cease concentration camp to put it back together again. so it is a historic and interesting twist on one of america's biggest companies and it's kind of the hidden history that i totally didn't necessarily want the world to know. >> host: how is it that they are privately held? >> guest: i think it's very important. i'm not one of the world's experts on business that i did start my day to come come like a rear i could hear was 12 years at the wall street journals of the difference between public and private company is the first of all, the private company is accountable mostly to its owners and in this case that's principally and almost exclusively exclusively these two brothers so they've been able to pile their money back into it over and over again
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instead of trying to show a media games for stockholders. this has helped them make it very successful. it's phenomenally successful, so it's been great for them financially and it's kept out of the public eye so it's been kind of a secretive company that doesn't have to answer to many people. >> host: how long did you work on this book and where did you get the interest? >> guest: i was working on this book -- it started with a magazine piece for the new yorker, where i'm a staff writer, and i did that in 2010, so i suppose you could say that it's been five years or something like that, but i wasn't working exclusively on the book the whole time. maybe the last three years i was working on it exclusively. my interest in the right pretty much is serendipitous. it comes from my career as a reporter in washington in 1983
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"the wall street journal" property to washington to cover the ronald reagan white house and i saw that the campaign so i lived through this period and i've watched these were my sources many of the people in the books i've written were the people i interviewed and i saw and what interested me and part of the reason i wrote dark money is that when i started many years ago, these people were on the fringe. these were people if reagan were president that there were always people that were on the far right that i called because they were interesting for the counterpoint and comments but they were way out there. don't take my example for it, there is a close in the beginning where william f. buckley describes the movement as a narco authoritarian.
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they thought they were kind of the lunatic fringe and so what interested me by the time i wrote this book is that they have gained so much power that in some ways they have become the center of gravity in the republican party. i mean, there is a new study out from harvard who described the effect and they say it is a magnetic pulling on the republican party that has sort of pulled up a whole party with them so i was interested how did they get from way out there to the center of the republican politics and republican politics and in many ways the center of american politics. >> host: is the political network in your view stronger than the republican national committee.
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in some ways what's happened is the network has subsumed the parties of the positions that the candidates take are often the positions that they have the money and offer to campaign funding and other support from all the different groups they have to the candidates who will champion their positions, so as an example right now in the republican field of the presidential primary candidates, all of the major candidates have come to ask for their financial backing service kissing the ring to some extent. there is one candidate who was the exception. he's saying i own myself and all the others around and it's become a dynamic in this
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campaign. >> host: what made the growing financial role in american politics extraordinary was the way that merge all forms of political spending into one investment aimed at paying huge future dividends. >> guest: that is true. in particular, they have a kind of a force magnifier it's not just that they are among the richest people in the world which of course adds a certain amount of clout their political ambitions but they've been very smart as have the other families that i write about about using philanthropy. the idea that these families have private foundations that they can give money to and take the tax deductions, though they are subsidized basically i the public treasury and with those foundations they push their ideology and it pushes their
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interest. they are almost like lobbying operations but they are tax-deductible and each of these families that i described has done that in different ways and it, you know, you've got is people who can give money for the huge corporation, through a gigantic private family fortune and through a network of philanthropic groups that echo their message all across the country and it's the third prong in some ways that made them so interesting and important. >> host: how is that different than someone on the left doing the same thing through their donations? >> guest: in some ways i think that he probably got into counterbalance. one thing that he does is his money that he gives is disclosed
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money. it's called the dark money because it's about money that is given behind the scenes by people who don't want you to see the fingerprints so in order to hide the money trail they give money to these groups that don't show who the donors are and they are supposed to not be principally in politics. that's debatable i would say. so this is about the that theme in particular and how important it's become. she saw rose gives some of that money in an undisclosed way through the organization at least he hasn't passed so his engagement to some extent i did do a big piece about him and when you write about them in the country inevitably what you hear about since they are on the right is people saying why don't you write about him so i might as all get this off the table i
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wrote a very long piece in the new yorker in 2004 which was the year he truly started putting serious money into electoral politics and i wrote all about him and after that, he was very disappointed. he was trying to defeat george w. bush and he withdrew from the electoral politics somewhat. the reason i'm focusing on the kochs, they stepped up their role in politics. they are currently putting together a jackpot they themselves have described as having $889 million potentially for this cycle. at its height he spent something like 20 million of his own money so we are talking $889 million. even now you're talking about a
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kind of money and a few hands that nobody has seen in this country before. >> host: let me show some video and you will know what it is. this is something you write about in your book. >> very soon after i discovered that there had been kind of an opposition research project on me and the people at kochs industries had organized it and they have hired a private eye that turned out to be the police commissioner, the former police commissioner, not current, exactly, with his son and daughter who'd been at the fbi and they have a private firm in new york and i eventually pieced together the story just as a reporter would and found a source that told me they were looking for dirt and if they couldn't find it they would make it up, so they have actually made something up. they put together a story saying that i was a plagiarist and they
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tried to peddle it to a couple of news organizations neither of which would run it because it turned out not to be true but it would have been a pretty terrible if it had gotten into print and luckily nobody ran with it. it's about the top people in than in washington putting together an operation in which they worked with a private eye in new york city today got dirt on me and they spent quite a few months looking for anything they could use to discredit me and i'm not alone in this. there are many instances in this book of specifically hiring them to dig up dirt on people who challenge them. they have a huge private company they are trying to play a role
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in america's public life but from behind the scenes and they don't like it when one shines a big light on them and that is what i was trying to do. >> host: you say that it was set up in the lobbying office. >> guest: there was extra space in the back room. eventually i was able to get a pretty good picture of what was going on and it was extraordinary in my experience. i've covered a lot of things that i have not asked far as i know been the target of an effort to discredit me as quite like that. maybe i should be flattered on some level that anyone would take a reporter so seriously but it was scary in a way. i mean it felt like an effort to ruin me and i think that if they have succeeded in convincing people that i was plagiarizing, i mean for a reporter, that is a crime of purpose to it.
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it's something that could take you down. so it wasn't a minor kind of effort, it was a killer effort. so i'm very glad that it didn't succeed, and my colleagues from whom i was supposed to plagiarize where fantastic and stood up to defend me and said that this isn't true. one of the stories that i was supposed to he said not only did you not, you credited me in the next sentence, so it was a badly done operation in some ways but it's unusual and it gives you an insight that these two brothers who wants to much a much power over american politics have played. >> host: where did that title of the book come from? >> guest: it came from the former vice president dick
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cheney. he said in order to win this war on terror, we are going to need to kind of play on the dark side and it wasn't clear what he was talking about at that point. what did the dark side mean. but the book explains what that title and the term was talking about. >> host: did you ever meet vice president dick cheney were interviewing for the buck? >> guest: i certainly have met him and had a chance to talk with him. he did not give me the interview for the buck. for a little while, i had the answer to my interview request on the bulletin board i said can you talk to me anytime in the last two years and the answer came back from an assistant said vice president will be very busy the next two years but i have
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had a chance to see him since. we actually were in a room together at one point going on abc together and it was just the two of us sitting there having our makeup put on and it was great to have a chance to talk to him. he commented on some of the things in the book that seemed as if he had read some of it and we talked about the labrador retrievers which we share a great love for. >> host: this is a complicated story. in the efforts to stop the clock, i'm a reporter, we all see the headlines and can lead a story that's maybe a few inches long, 20 inches long in the newspaper. they are all efforts to say
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there is so much more going on here and the only way that i can do is take a leave of absence from my day job and write deep down and explain what was going on behind the curtain so that's what these books are kind of an effort to do. >> host: you write the lead architect of the administration's idiosyncratic interpretation of american law was a tall and be speckled government lawyer who had the luck dc captain. >> host: that was david addington who is a fascinating character and a true leader. again a lot of his characters i've written about here are people who kind of fit that the justice talked about they are
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true believers even though they feel pure of heart they are in some ways many of the people are dangerous. they are such true belief is that they kind of can take the country right off the cliff and he was a true believer in executive power and secrecy and he was in a position to help guide the bush administration into authorizing the war on terror was behind closed doors from the comfort operations using tactics that if they were public might have been very controversial. >> host: they blamed the scooter libby story. was that a sideshow to all of this in a sense? scooter libby was the aid to
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vice president cheney and he was an important advisor but i don't think that -- it wasn't a major story of what was going on during the period going into that but did you beneath her? >> guest: i wrote this with my friend who had been a friend since high school. we were both reporters at "the wall street the wall of "the wall street journal" at that point and i wasn't really sure -- you really couldn't tell who was telling the truth. i don't know if you watched the hearings during the period. i spent the weekend glued to my television set completely floored. i had covered the courts before that early on in my career and it was like a good trial where two good lawyers on both sides take the stand and you think they are right they must be telling the truth because they are so convincing and both were so short of themselves and so convincing so i wasn't really
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sure what we would find. i think that if clarence thomas had more reason to why he was trying to get a job that he wanted and trying to -- it was hard to see what there was in this. she wasn't trying to get something out of this so the idea was to figure out if we could find out who was telling the truth because the conventional wisdom when we begin at the this was a she said she said story where you will never get to the bottom of it and you can't help who is telling the truth so for
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reporters it means accepting the idea that you can't get the truth and that's kind of like waving a red flag in front of able. we were feeling like there is some way to get at the bottom of this and find out what the truth is. the truth comes out over time so we decided to see if we could find out and it took us three years but i think we got close. >> host: here is a little bit from that hearing. >> this is a national disgrace and from my standpoint, as a black american as far as i am concerned, it is a lynching for uppity with blacks who think for themselves or do for themselves to have different ideas and it is a message that unless the
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border this is what will happen to you. you will be lynched, destroyed by a committee of the senate rather than hung from a tree. it still has huge power, doesn't it? that was just nuclear language clarence thomas was using. for a black man to sit in front of a panel of white senators and say you're lynching me and you're doing it because i'm trying to rise from my low position because i'm uppity is about the most powerful thing that he could have come up with. it's playing the ultimate victim card basically and if you look at it but he's doing is not talking at all about the fact that she brought forward he's
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just plain saying you are lynching me and that was the turning point in those hearings it was at that point that even the liberal domestic senators went and kind of backed off a. of secret about is a most remarkable man and nobody has come forward and they scoured his every shred of life and nobody but you and another witness apparently alleging that sexual harassment has come forward and so maybe, maybe it seems to me you didn't really intend to kill him but you might have, and that's pretty heavy. i don't care if you are a man or a woman.
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but let me tell you if you say what this man says to you occurred, why in god's name when he left his position of power or status or authority over you and you left it in 1983, why in god's name would you ever speak to a man like that the rest of your life? postcode former senator alan simpson. >> guest: that's right, he was grilling a grilling any digital basically accusing her it sounded like of almost trying to kill clarence thomas at least reputation only. she was grilled in a way that was disgraceful when you look back on it and she was accused of being a maniac and the people
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who were trying to tar her reputation were digging for dirt , they were talking to psychiatrists and students that she taught that had made a joke out of the fact some of the hair on her head had fallen into the papers & ugly joke about kind of making fun of black hair and they acted as if it were serious into some kind of a sexual thing she were doing. it's unbelievable when you look back to see what she went through and it was just kind of may be an important turning point when you look back in american politics. we are talking today about how far the presidential campaign has gone to the gutter with some of the language and things going
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on you can see that it was deep down in the gutter during this period on this confirmation hearing of clarence thomas and we've been in the gutter before and i think people sometimes forget that. anyway, it was really ugly. >> host: what was your interview with anita hill like? >> guest: you asked in the beginning whether we thought we would exonerate anita hill and that wasn't the purpose of the book. i think people have to understand that for job and for myself as a reporter first at "the wall street journal" and now at the new yorker there is one agenda that is to find out what is true so when we interviewed her, she had her back up because we weren't there to say your wonderful or you
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were right. we prepared to find out what was true so we asked her a number of tough questions and she was a little offended i think at some point. we were doing our jobs. that is our job and sometimes it ends up with everybody being offended in the end, you know, we wound up laying out all the evidence that we could get and the evidence was very damning for clarence thomas and was very supportive of anita hill. had it gone the other way, we would have gone the other way because our reputations and interests are all about telling the truth and the truth just came out badly for him in this book because the truth comes out badly i'm afraid. >> host: in a columbia university history that you did come here is what you have to say about working with her. i'm not surprised at all she became the editor of "the new york times." her judgment is amazing and she is a killer reporter. she gets right to it and kind of
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knows what to look for. she's tougher than i am. i sort of soften people up and i worry about how they feel. she just goes for the hearts of heart of it. >> guest: that's true. and she's dressed amazingly smart also i have to say. and so, i've known joe since high school. she was a class ahead of me at the school of new york city and she was also a really good transfer early on. she's great and we are still close friends and it was fun working with her and she helped my reporting a lot. i learned a lot from her. >> host: i want to go to the line i soften people up and they worry about how they feel. >> guest: i do and it's funny i don't really -- i suppose being an investigative reporter people expect you to be a tough
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person because they write stories that i don't write them to hurt peoples feelings and i don't like hurting peoples feelings people's feelings i just feel that my responsibilities to my readers and to telling what's true and sometimes that means you have to put out stories that are going to put people in a bad light. i really don't enjoy hurting people's feelings in what we write but it seems my sense is that my gift is to be able to try to help the democracy by getting true and full information out to people and then they can make up their own mind but that is my job and i feel like it is a hopeful job, not a hurtful job. >> host: often in stories, we look for good and evil and characters who were bad and good
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and he rose and fell in. i know that is a really broad brush but, is that fair to say that people are heroes or villains? >> guest: there are a lot of shades. i've learned a few things in the years of reporting and one is that contrary to what i might have expected, most of the people who do things that i consider wrong with her in politics or other things, they have a tendency to rationalize what they are doing. they aren't sitting there thinking i'm going to pull one over on the public or i'm going to get away with it. most of them i would imagine if you interview to clarence thomas today as you interviewed him then he wrote the book i would imagine he somehow thinks that he did the right thing and did nothing wrong and i might differ with him about how truthful he
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was but my guess is that he's totally rationalized. you don't find people who say i'm going to lie to you find people that find a way to justify what they are doing so that makes it more of a dark rain but i think you will find our heroes have to say and they've been among those that have really made me feel good about being a reporter or finding people who are doing the right thing and telling their stories. so in the dark side, for instance, there are a number of people who i so admired. it's their fbi agents who look at the constitution and the bill of rights and to say we are not going to touch her people. we are not going to bend the rules in order to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on people. that's not the r. in this country. there were cia officers that felt the same way, there was the
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general counsel general counsel of the navy, very conservative from a particular family who had been the general counsel appointed by george w. bush. because of his knowledge in cuba he understood how important human rights are and he just said we are not going down this path throwing people into dungeons without any right and he sort of stood up again for the idea of the constitution and these were people who are not left or right, they fall all the way across the spectrum. some of them were lawyers who were very brave and go in very early on to try to say no matter how bad the men in guantánamo might have been they deserve lawyers and as human beings they have some legal rights. they won that argument in front of the supreme court. it is a very unpopular argument
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when they needed that many need it but many people on the right agreed with them who were part of the process. their stories are so heartening to me they were up against a locked. they were people who sold their careers in danger for speaking out. so, i do think there actually are heroes and often in the little people and people. >> host: would it be fair to say that vice president cheney, david addington, the koch brothers are doing what is good for the country? >> guest: i think so. again, they fall into the category from my standpoint as people who have used that are in many ways farther out of the american mainstream and they so believed that they are right but sometimes they are willing to go outside of democracy to get ticket to do what they want to do so you've got people who might wonder what are the connections between the dark side and dark money?
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it's about what people do outside of the public view behind closed doors where they don't disclose what they are up to and there is not the kind of sunlight of the press following them. there's a lot of secrecy in the steeple's actions. so you've got in the case of the kochs, it's interesting, in 1980, they tried the old-fashioned democratic route to get what they wanted. so, david koch ran for vice president of the united states on the libertarian ticket against ronald reagan from the right because the koch brothers thought that he was too liberal and would sell out and they had much more radical views and they didn't win obviously in 1980 even though david coke spent millions of his own dollars to trick you get elected they got
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about 1% of the vote and after that, they stopped trying to run for office. that would have been the way to win america over its cause to keep running and try to convince the public that they didn't do that. after that, there is a description in the history of libertarianism where charles cook basically says he thinks politicians are actors and he's not interested in them becoming an actor. what they want to do is write the script so they decided from that point on that they are going to find the whole machinery of american politics and political thinking to try to change the script in america from behind the scenes using philanthropic groups to fund think tanks to fund university professors, to fund grassroots groups and people going out in
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the streets. they sort of work from behind the scenes trying to gradually create a kind of momentum for their point of view that is of a much sneakier process. in the case of cheney and what was happening during the war on terror, what you see is a small group of people around president bush who felt we needed to go to the dark side and use methods that america had used to try to do illegal torture on people and they don't let everybody in on the the secret even to people who are in charge and should have been let in on its like it like colin powell was kept purposefully in the dark because they know he's not going to support it so they cut people off and again it's kind of a backroom tiny group of people who are working to do things that they know will not be popular. >> host: the afternoon and
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welcome to c-span2 this is our monthly program where we talked to one author and discuss his or her body of work into this is the staff writer who is our guest is the author of four books beginning in 1988 with landslide of the making of the president, strange justice came out in 1994, the selling of clarence thomas title for that book and in 2008 the dark side cannot commit the inside story of how the war on terror turned into a american ideals and the last two books we discussed were both nominated for the national book award, and dark money came out this year the hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right. now it's your turn. we spend nearly an hour talking about some of the books and you can get an idea what the conversation is going to be like. we want to hear from you as well.
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(202)748-8202 if you live in the east and central time zones, 748-8203 for those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones and you can also e-mail booktv@c-span.org or post a comment on twitter@booktv and make a comment on facebook page. finally, you can send a text message as well and this is not for telephone this is simply for a text message. if you want to send a text message we will begin taking those calls in just a few minutes. we need to touch on landslide for the passing of nancy reagan. but you tell a story in there actually two stories that are
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kind of one-off stories, red dress and recommend. >> guest: you mean the story of calling on me, yes. it's funny i was at "the wall street journal" and i was covering the white house and he was going to have a press conference and we had heard that he loved red so i wrote a little piece about how he usually calls on people wearing red especially women. i actually didn't wear a red dress that day and my bureau chief said you go home and put on a per address, so i did, i changed and went to the press conference and there i was in my red dress and ronald reagan called on the right of way and said there's there is the little girl in the red dress. so i was young and i thought it was funny so i did get called on
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in that way but she was a great character. i found she was kind of the untold story of of the times. i do talk a story in the book about how the chief of staff in the second term made a cardinal error which was finding her a pain in the neck and so he at some point because she was always interfering, she took her husband's business. seriously so he put in a given place between himself and the first lady that would deal with her supposedly he tried to delegate nancy to somebody else and she was having none of it and it wasn't very long after that that ronald reagan got himself fired, kicked out for being chief of staff. he learned about it from the media. nobody even told him about it
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directly but everybody knew who was behind it so she played a gigantic role in that white house. why didn't you cover the summit? >> guest: because even though i did cover the white house back in those days there was a saying that women don't do throw weight which meant women reporters couldn't quite understand all the complications of nuclear warfare and it was just too much for our little heads to be able to wrap around so i was told no i would have to be to get to stay home and be with send one of them to cover him. i would stay home and i was told me while i was home i could do a story about her favorite dress designer suite gives you a
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glimpse into how the world has changed back then you could be the white house white house reporter but still be told you couldn't manage the cover of arms control but dress designers were probably a better subject for you. >> host: what was it like to be a white house reporter? >> guest: in many ways a look back on it and think i was so lucky to have been able to see him up close and get to know -- -- that was there was wonderful access during the period so i really knew a lot of the people that truthfully come, as a reporting job, it is one of the worst because you don't really get to get beneath the surface with anyone you are constantly covering every day to all day long you never really get to find out the real stories and that's kind of why i wrote the first book wanting to see how did this happen because we had missed one of have missed one of the biggest stories in the white house which was the iran contra
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deal. we were sitting there covering everything every day with no idea that this double scandal had been unfolding and was the attorney general who gave us a briefing and was like what you've got to be kidding so at that point you'd have to realize defeat. we haven't really managed to catch the news in the white house. >> host: where did you get the title and subtitle? >> guest: unmaking of the president. the idea of the book was and you can see i just looked at it again it's been a couple of years since i ever looked at it really. the story is how the president's second term unravels and it's not unusual historically. they are tough for presidents and in this case, ronald reagan had kind of a theme and they
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didn't really get public consensus for any of the things they were trying to do because they didn't run on issues so it's how they went off course in the second term. >> host: (202)748-8202-the east and central time zones, (202)748-8203 for those in the mountain and pacific into fuel to send a text message, (202)717-9684. clyde and in hand and name your first up today. >> caller: good afternoon. i bought the book. it's a great book. i'm about a third of the way into it. i really appreciate. we have the details but never comprehensive and in-depth like this book does.
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in the pages of the book she mentions that justice thomas and justice scalia both addressed the brothers secret meetings in the early stages of trying to organize their conspiracy. i would like to know if she has any more information on that. there have been a few more stories about both and there has been coverage of that. what happens when he's talking about they have meetings twice a year with top donors that they've gathered around them with 400 to 500 of the richest conservatives in the country get together behind closed doors and they bring an important figures to talk to them and candidates to talk to them who are sort of auditioning for support from
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this extraordinarily wealthy group, and over the years among them, the public figures who attended the secret meetings are the supreme supreme court justices, one former justice and current justice thomas. what transpired? print of the reason i wrote this book is because it's all been so secret. it's hard to even get lists in fact you can't get lists of all the people that have gone to these meetings. the donor list had one such meeting which gives us a guest list but basically, it is a closely held secret and they've gone out of their way to try to keep the secrets. they've even at some point used these kind of white noise makers and they surrounded the perimeter of one such meetings with the press couldn't eavesdrop or hear anything. so i wish i could tell you more
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about exactly what transpired when the supreme court justices were there. i think the public should know this is obviously very important business. these are hugely powerful people with tremendous interest in front of the u.s. government and great influence because of their wealth and you've got people who two of the nine justices meeting with then i think the public has a right to know about it but we don't really so but i'm glad we know they were there at least. >> host: you also talk about the bradley foundation in dark money. who and what are they? >> guest: i am glad you brought this up because it is about the koch brothers but it's a history about the founding fathers of the conservative movement. they were the founding families, too. the foundation has been
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terrifically important in funding academia in particular to balance the founder in academia and he's about to use a fortune from his company to change that by having his foundation funding and all kinds of programs in colleges and particularly in law school. there's something called the economics movement which his foundation funded which tries to make judges and lawyers think about not just what is just but whether it will cost businesses money and take that into consideration and they have been quite successful in the movement that's taught in many law schools particularly aiming for the ivy leagues and they managed
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to make a lot of headway to the judges that support this point of view now. so he was an interesting man. his company was interesting. he inherited a company from his the company from his father and was a family in a privately owned family company and -- >> host: what did they make? >> guest: they make firearms and chemicals and became quite big. i was interested in why he is particular became so conservative and why he got engaged when heated in american politics and what i discovered was that his company produced a lot of chemicals that were accused of creating terrible pollution in the country.
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they created things that left the towns polluted with mercury ponds and running into streams. one of the places that they have a plan to become the first toxic waste site when it was created you can see the foundation from the movement of the environmental protection agency where there was a bipartisan movement actually at that point environmentalism but some of the corporate captains in the country that were being accused now of being huge polluters basically they took umbrage at it and john was somebody whose fortune was made and was being accused of polluting and took his fortune to try to change the direction of the thinking of the
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country in academia in particular, and fought in part to the environmental movement. there was a big part of the cause. >> host: didn't he put in his will he wanted the money to run out of? >> guest: he did and this is also interesting. some of these families have the sort of conservative funders were afraid their children might become liberal because it happened with the family and they are looking at this and saying we do not want our fortunes to fall into liberal hands even in our own family. so, he made provisions that his own he would have name would have to be spent completely out and you will see in the universities at some point so they packed that fortune. they were the two brothers from milwaukee who made a fortune in
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creating thermostat kind of things, and the fortune they were quite civic minded about milwaukee and they were very right-wing that they were interested in kind of improving life in milwaukee. when they died, and their fortune moved on, they moved onto the hands of other people who became super committed to the conservative movement and they earmarked the money for the things we see now. .. on among right wing foundations now. much of the money came from defense contractors. ironically really because much of the money and the bradley foundation is earmarked for antigovernment, but so many millions of dollars came from the u.s. government contract. >> host: this is a problem in
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brookline massachusetts. they completely agree what i >> >> can you reflect on your own education in a letter provided me as a basis for your own ethical viding ability? brandeis was a piece of cake >> thanks for asking. i went there from the time i was for almost until the end of my high-school education that i went to boarding school in england but it
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made an unusual some have chapel or some sort of religious orientation. said that meant we spent one hour every week and at the time i have to say we did take it that seriously in school. we were kids we didn't think we would be created if we could force around. but in retrospect it did have an impact that we were interested in rights and wrongs and issues about power that i think is the theme that runs through. but i still struggle to this day this survey bleeds it
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allots of reading of great literature. >> host: you are on booktv i want to tell you i have completed your book it is very powerful and congratulations. have i wish we could have more people like you. to talk about the koch brothers board did wichita event all of these techniques tried to control the situation the populace especially the workers earn
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under pressure with these programs put in place. as a trump all of their efforts through donald trump or bernie sanders. >> interesting. to hear what they were like at m.i.t. it was the huge figure. i agree that what we're looking at with the trump phenomenon in some ways it's like a frankenstein created by the huge voters. these right wing voters who
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access that called the so far to the right to on economic issues and to observe the interest of the big donors to fight all kinds of social programs for people who are struggling and the left of the middle-class and working-class. and if you're looking at how they have done during the obama administration, it has done phenomenally well and so have the other top donors in the country. but they left a lot of people behind like they wanted to abolish so security and then to talk
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about privatizing. i thank you are right they have left a lot of people behind and they are pushing for these minimal governments you don't do much for anybody. they have left a lot of people really bad and some go to bernie sanders and a lot have gone to donald trump to interestingly that say things at different like social security. he says he thinks medicare and medicaid are a good idea. and for those who don't really pay their taxes with that carried interest tax loophole. he says the popular thing where he says they get away
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with murder but a lot of that middle-class and those rank-and-file voters hear that and they are mad at the party that the daughters have created. >> host: please include your city and first name if you send a text message. thought sohn said justin united? we'll be overturned? >> he answered it will be overturned the is up to the court. is the key moment for issues and citizens united is one of them. hillary clinton said she would overturn an bernie sanders said the same eye of "the donald" trump said anything one way or another although he is self funding. i don't know if that is an improvement to make it to
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the presidency on their own or if it is better to have the billionaires' behind the scenes just like they back the resources. either way as far as i am concerned it is a huge problem for the country. and republicans and the lack of transparency that dark money comes through the group's ended is a huge problem millions of dollars of secret money comes through washington politics at this point. politics. >> host: contrary to prediction, the citizens united decision hadn't triggered a tidal wave of corporate political spending. instead, it empowered a few extraordinarily rich individuals
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with often self-serving. >> guest: that it's true. it would unleash corporate spending. and so people thought businesses will pour money into politics and overwhelm the debate. that is not what happened. it is too controversial. they don't want to alienate their customers by getting heavily involved in partisan politics. we've seen companies like target back off. instead, what we've got are enormously wealthy individuals. think about what kind of people want to spend that much money in american politics. most normal people don't care that much about who inevitably you will get people with very, very intense views are people
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who have a lot at stake. people of self-interest at stake. >> host: next call comes from joe in olympia, washington. hi, joe. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call. still keeping with the same theme of the power of money and being an artist, i'm very enough role in culture. the role was looking at the carpenter family and the price of old violence. i want to know what true you to that story, how you got appointed and what your take away was not that you've thought about it. >> guest: i wish i'd written it. it sounds really good. i wonder if maybe it is possible it could have been written by my colleague, jane kramer. sometimes we get each other's complement and i wish i could take credit for her work.
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it might've been a jane kramer story. i do come from a musical family. my dad is a composer and my brother is a concert pianist. but i have never met about violent because i was kind of the musical reject the family. >> host: you-all say laymen as in lehman brothers. >> guest: my defendant, my great, great grandfather and great great uncle found at lehman brothers, the investment bank on one side of my family. that side of the family were, you know, from germany originally and on the other side of my family, i come from christians from illinois who had a hog farm and my grandfather eventually left the farm and came to new york and became an historian and ran the history department at columbia.
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i like to think of my family is kind of a melting pot. we have a little bit of everything and it makes the history of the country because it is very varied in my family. >> host: next call comes from richard in harvard, massachusetts. you are in tv on c-span2. >> caller: things come in c-span. my wife and i were in the middle of the book. i want to talk about the koch brothers and what they couldn't get done in washington. they focused the attention and money resources in the state. electing a lot of republican governors, a lot of state legislatures that are republicans. consequently the 31 republican governors and restrict did the voting rights, women's health care services. a lot of the stand your ground
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laws. the right to work state laws. they were big fans from wisconsin. you know, this year and 2018, the governors that takeover for another 10 years. it is going to be pretty bad if that happens and we get gerrymandering all over again. your comments, please. >> guest: well, you're absolutely right and i think people often miss this. people in the press been so much time looking at presidential politics. they don't really pay that much attention to what is going on in the state and even below state level. with the koch something really smart about with their operatives who have looked at american politics like engineers and figured out how do you engineers social change in this country and they realized the
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states were key. among other things, money goes so much further at that level. at the presidential level, it is very hard to have money legally what you want. but if you pour money into a race where there's not much press coverage so voters don't know much about it one way or the other, you can frame the issues much better and you can have a much bigger impact. so the koch specifically in the conservative movement specifically at their site on states going back to the 80s. you are talking about the american legislative exchange council, an organization that the koch have funded and charles koch held to bail it out in financial trouble early on. they've been very important and they are focused specifically on state legislatures, which most people don't pay much attention to really. but they are very important, especially to businesses. they poured money into them.
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in terms of gerrymandering, to tell the story in my book about how in 2009 when obama was popular still, conservatives were within about what they could do. one very smart guy, ed gillespie who had been the chairman of the republican committee said we should focus on the states. in 2010, which is going to be a redistricting year, they had something called red map and it was kind of a secretive project where they aimed to target legislatures with money and flip them from democratic to republican control and see if they could get as many as they could because the following year, those legislators would redistrict the congressional district. they did fantastically well. they picked up 537 legislative
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seats that year for the republicans in the over one house of representatives of course. there was a republican tie the ticket helps in the redistrict it. the amazing thing that plays, the gerrymandering was in 2012 ,-com,-com ma america cast more votes for democrats than republicans, but more republicans were elected to the house of representatives. the districts were so expertly gerrymandered that even though the majority voted for democrats, moore took their seats. they did an amazing job. there was a lot of secret money that went into it. it was smart and the thing about the koch's you have to remember is they are engineers and they work with people who have precise ideas about how to effect change.
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they are not mushy thinkers. you know, they are very precise and if something doesn't work, they go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong and try it again in a different way and they did a great job in 2010 unwrapping those legislators politics. it's a big frontier for them. >> host: do you get to pick what topics to cover in "the new yorker"? >> guest: to some extent. i welcome that somebody has good idea because i ran out of them sometimes. often, one story leads to another. writing about the kochs was my idea and in part it was just serendipity. i was turning a corner in manhattan and i looked at the lincoln center. i grew up in new york and there was david koch's name. i knew a little bit because the
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magazine had done a story 10 years earlier and i remembered it. i knew they were putting a little money into the tea party at that point, which like a mass uprising. as i looked at his name i thought this had one in manhattan have any idea who these brothers are? i think there is a story there. so i started digging. at that point, they have nothing to do at the tea party. they were behind it, and they were giving an interview so i just lou to one of the meetings they were having a sort of a big weekend rally. it was filled with tea party people in the organization americans for prosperity were training. they were getting training sessions to the tea party. they were given awards out to tea party members. so their own political organization was deeply embedded
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tried to organize the tea party. when i asked the woman in charge there, her name is peggy and i said are you guys supporting the tea party? she said yeah, we were into the tea party before it was cool and gave me this whole interview about accounting or related the two things were. it was clear that a lot of the money going into the tea party was helping organize the entering the opposition into a movement against obama coming from super wealthy donors. >> host: very effective movement. >> guest: and was very good. partly because the obama white house is so in effect you. they were taken by surprise. remember, obama was elected with this idea that there's no red america, no blue america. we are all one united states of america, which is a really nice idea. but he didn't really offense or
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notice the right way nasa was organized against them and i don't didn't do much about the big money come in after him. he had tangled with that much before in his career. it was organized in as soon as it was the lack it. they had a meeting right after he was inaugurated at the doubters got together to figure out how they could fight back. >> host: cynthia in california. good afternoon, cynthia. >> caller: good afternoon. thank you for taking my call. i am very interest it. i haven't read your book, but what i am wondering if have you investigated anything about the client foundation and all of their money and what they are doing with? we care a lot about other controversies influence in politics internally and our country through their foundation. so there's many an those sites.
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am not naïve enough to think that only the conservatives have big money supporting them. have you done any investigation? >> host: that was cynthia in california. dorothy has a text message very similar. incidents like the united bank of switzerland donating $23 million to them after hillary got the irs to drop an effort to get the names of 55 billionaires. >> guest: i don't know about that, but i have written about when clinton was president of course they were all kinds of financial shenanigans that took place. when he was president i was still a reporter at "the new yorker" and wrote about the revolving door practically with the lincoln bedroom for a big donors are coming in. it was the chinese donor, who described the white house as being a turnstile where you buy
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a subway token and when you put in the money come the u.k. to come in and get what you want. it was a pretty steamy sound and picture. so i've been on book leave working on this book for the last five years. so i haven't had a chance yet to really dig into the clinton foundation, but it is certainly fair game to take a really close look at it. all foundations in my mind should be much more carefully policed by the irs to make sure that when we as citizens give them tax breaks for putting money into that, they are all supposed to be doing things that are in the public interest, not things that are just in their private interests, not just pushing your corporate interests or political interests. they are supposed to be in the public interest. i really would like to see much better policing of foundations because they're something like $800 billion right now in
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american foundations. that is a huge pot of money and it packs a punch in our public realm in terms of public policy. i certainly agree with the caller that no single party has coming in now, all the angels on it side and all of this is an area that reporters need to look at very, very closely. >> host: how did you get to "the new yorker"? >> guest: i got to "the new yorker" for writing a book about clarence thomas. someone at "the new yorker" asked me to review a book called the real anita hill by david brock. and it was a book that said anita hill had made all of this. first i remember thinking i shouldn't review about it i said it had a conflict of interest and it didn't seem like the right to do. so i just said let's wait and
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see. anyway, while we were waiting, this book began to be taken seriously and i knew from the reporting i've been doing that it wasn't true, that i was filled with lies and i began to feel i've got some responsibility now. i'm probably one of the only people who really truly does know that this book is full of lies because they had been so much reporting myself. i thought okay, i've got a responsibility to just get the truth out there. so i reviewed the book of "the new yorker," with joe abramson. it was just as i started having my baby daughter i remember fact checking while i was in the hospital delivering in the review came out and i think we did the right thing. it's kind of shona linux
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interest to things in the book and many years later such a strange story. many are satyr, david ruck changed his point of view completely. he admitted that his book was wrong about anita hill. he apologized to anita hill. he apologized to myself and to joel abrams personally and he has now become kind of the leading pro-hillary operative on the democratic side and the conservative operative so it is a very strange story, but i've got to say that at least bears out the fact that joe and i were right. he admits themselves. that book is not right and he is now saying so. that is how i got to "the new yorker" without review. it stirred up a lot of interest
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in soon after that, "the new yorker" said, which you can do to writing for us? i was on maternity leave from "the wall street journal" and the upgrade. first of all, the new york was the most amazing publication in the country, so i jumped at that. and also it seemed like a way i could be a mom and write at the same time. tina brown was the editor and i thought i would have a little more control over my schedule so i could be home with my baby some of the time and write these stories are the best publication nightmare. >> host: bubbas alike to like to work for tina brown? >> guest: shoe is great, actually. she is a genius i think when it comes to the subject of comparing writers for subjects. we would sit in these meetings and she was like, you know, a producer in hollywood and she would say we must have so-and-so read about facts.
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she was right. the combination would be completely combustible. so she was really fun to work with. i enjoyed working with tina a lot. she was a past master, too. we get faxes at 3:00 in the morning so you jumped. she's demanding, appreciative, i really enjoyed working with her. >> host: howard from st. cloud, florida. you are on the author jane mayer. >> caller: thank you for having me. in your book, you talk a lot about the funding by the kochs of universities. it made me think of the death of the liberal class and he excoriated liberals who may have been faked thumbs of koch's nefarious work in the university system. did anybody -- did he ever discussed this with you?
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did anybody ever bring this to your attention? >> guest: now, actually don't know the book you're talking about. i haven't read that. you know, what i write about is really in some ways the frontier of what the kochs the offending right now. you think a lot of them putting all this money into presidential and other races this year and that money could eat hundred 89 million is huge. but they are doing so much more deliberately and systematically is funding programs in colleges and universities to try to recruit young people to having their point of view. i think the foundations are currently funding programs from something like 307 different schools, colleges and universities and pretty much every month i see an alert on another school that they are
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beginning to pour money into. what i write about in my book is they have had their eye on young people from the start almost. i have a paper that i discovered that as part of the secret history by someone would need to start a radical movement. they are open to new ideas. somebody he was working with at that time, another libertarian at that point that we should copy the movement. they are creating a sense of identity by getting very young
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people into a movement where they identified as a particular ideology. this was the plan and this is the fulfillment they are trying to plant their programs and economic department mostly. >> host: jerry, phoenix, good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. it is of interest that i debated of the spokesman at arizona state hall at that time that john bird society was swinging
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and the right-wing newspaper. well, after that debate, i quoted of course where ms bluebook calls eisenhower a tool of the communists and so forth. while i then went to a debate when they debated another lawyer in phoenix about us of the right issue that the lawyers club and rehnquist coded at length that month's issue of american opinion. american opinion was the semi-monthly publication of robert welch. i thought you might find of interest and that in phoenix that was generally known to those of us who are knowledgeable that all of that power in arizona was tied into the john bird society and the
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arizona republic controlled the state in the editorial column for my criticism of the john bird society, so i don't know if anybody has ever checked to find if in fact rehnquist was a member, but the debate was taken entirely from matt blunt's american opinion and rehnquist when i called just that he didn't want to talk. i thought you might find them interesting. >> guest: that is interesting. i assume when rehnquist was even confirmed that people must have looked at his ties to the john birch society. both charles and david were members of the society as was their father. fred was one of the founding members. again, what i found so interest
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in is again we all think of the john birch society is kind of a fringe group. you know, people who belong to it thought, as the caller said, but eisenhower was a secret communist plant. it's a bit far-fetched, face it. but just the same, that worldview that seems so kind of laughable in some ways has generated these brothers that are so powerful now in this republican party. i think the story, the history i have been trying to tell is how did those views become more so mainstreamed into american politics. part of the answer is that there was so much money poured into mainstream through so many organizations that most americans didn't realize for fun and buy one tiny group of people. they just kept pouring money in
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and the organizations that didn't look connected cap militating for these ideas and eventually, the ideas come our currency. they are very much accepted. many of the republican candidates for the presidency are talking about abolishing the irs. it sounds like a ludicrous position. we may not like the irs, but somebody has to do it. that is a position the libertarian party took in 1980 when dave koch ran as vice president and with considered laughable then. today is the mainstream republican candidate. it has moved far. the center of gravity on the republican side of politics has been so far to the right during the period i've been covering politics that people forget about it. part of the reason is because a very determined, very smart and
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very rich donors. >> host: does the john birch society still exists today? >> guest: some form has been rent car needed. it is not a major factor, but i suppose what is more important as a lot of the ideas seem to be coming up again. >> host: every month we have an author ron and we ask him or her about their influence, the books they are reading comments that her. what we asked jane mayer that information and here is a look at what she said. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> host: jane mayer, charlotte's web. >> guest: charlotte's web. i discovered when i read it to my own daughter is beautifully written. it is so gorgeous. eb white is such a hero with beautiful use of the english language. it is the most moving story
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about life, dad, regeneration, love and pigs. will bear. >> host: 202 is the area code if you'd like to talk to jane mayer. 748-8202. 748-8203 in a knot and pacific time zones. we have a little over an hour left in our program today on booktv. you can also contact via social media booktv spot on trent@c-span.org if you would like to leave a twitter message and you could make the comment on her face but page. facebook.com/booktv. you can send a text, not a phone call to (202)717-9684. just text only and if you would include your first name and city, that would be great. jane mayer is the author of four books beginning made to mediate with landslide, the unmaking of
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the president, strange justice cannot a 1994, editor jill abramson, the dark side, the inside story of how the war in terror turned into a war in american ideals came out in 2008 and finally dark money came out this year. you wrote darkside in 2008 when the bush administration was still in office. guantánamo is still open. >> host: it is not what many people thought would happen. i want to get to that. before you leave and i just want to say one other thing. i was just thinking about why does the book resonated stick with us from childhood on. and now, one of the things about charlotte's web is the story of the rant, wilbur who is the piglet that was going to die because he was the runt of the litter.
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you know, there is something about rooting for the underdog that i think is so appealing to most americans, this idea that you could start as the runt of the litter, but you have talent and in the end he does really well through sort of trying really hard and he is saved by a little girl who doesn't want to have the farmers sell them off because he is the rant. these are in some way such an american story and that it resonates so much with so many kids. anyway, also beautiful illustrations. in the beginning i wanted to be an illustrator, not a writer. i wanted to either illustrate children's books or be a cartoonist. the first thing i submitted to "the new yorker" were cartoons, not tories. >> host: did they get published? s. code now come i got nice
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rejectionists. i did get published in "the wall street journal" when i worked there and had cartoons published when i was in college. it's really about i wanted to do. anyway, much of my heart -- i love children's literature. i love having a kid where i could read those stories out loud all over again. go into slightly darker subjects, by the subject of guantánamo, and you know, i think it is just a pity that these countries seem to be kind of gradually acclimating to the idea that we would have people held in detention without trial is indefinitely. i mean, we have the right to a speedy trial.
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we have a fantastic justice system. we have a justice system that is her triumph of terrorists and put them away for life. some of the most dangerous terrorists involved in the 9/11 era situation. you know, it is only politics as far as i can tell that i've gotten the web is doing us doing the right thing here, which put inmates terracing guantánamo and they really should put them in article iii courts and the prosecutors are itching to prosecute them. they have many cases down in wonton amount and it's congress standing in the way and in some way the terrorists are too good or too powerful to be tried in our own courts and i think that's the belief and i think
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it's a real pity. >> host: hasn't the obama administration continued the same policies the bush administration had? >> guest: in many ways they have. they tried in the beginning as you might remember for the first week he said he was going to aim to close down on time and all. they have argued their hands have been tied by congress, that they have participated in some of the same policies. for instance, there is going to be some of the detainees down there were weaker as, sort of chinese muslims. according to the bush administration they were not terrorists. they're about to take one or two of them to stay in good faith that we too could rehabilitate some of these people. when word got out about it, the obama white house freaked out just as much as the republicans were out. they were afraid that is going
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to look bad politically, something bad would happen. said they will shun a deal to take some of the uighurs into america. they were sent to bermuda of all places where they were busy working at least one or two people working at a country club, taking care of the sand traps. we could've done this in this country and demonstrated that we too can take some of these people instead of treating them like lepers that are too dangerous to have in your country. i think it is pitiful really. >> host: office calling in from overland park, kansas. you are on the phone with jane mayer. >> guest: greetings from the state of kansas which has been described as koch industries. i am really interested in the last chapter you talk about the rebranding and use site to
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professor wake forest to describe the powder of reforming in the way up and check dean a new no-space-on free market capitalism. i'm interested in your elaboration because they really see it is really the next major influence and how it being propped up and appearing at universities. >> guest: thank you for asking and heights campus. i read about it and then this last chapter of the book is based partly on the week he came out from one of the meetings with their donors. in that meeting, there is some fascinating material for richard
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faith who has been one of her whole article lieutenants for many years one of the problems they agreed they had up to 2012. the election was a big disappointment. they had helped in their donor group for money behind romney and they could stop obama from getting real like that and obviously they failed. afterwards they did at time of internal market research according to richard fink, their aides talking and describes how they did all of these focus groups and looked at something like 170,000 poles and he describes how they realize they have an image problem. the country regarded them that is very right-wing, libertarian corporate donors as greedy and they needed to have peter to
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have good intent if they were going to convince the country to come their way politically. the country is divided in three parts. one third of the country is flat ring are liberal and one never accept it. it is 30 with them as they describe it, the middle third is what they are aiming not. if they want to whenever the country and get their policies implemented, they need to win over the middle third. they did all this research, market research that is not unusual for a huge corporation to figure out how you solve a koch brand. not just a brand of koch industries, the koch politics. how do you market it better? they came to the conclusion that if they needed to show good intent among the things they should do is describe their
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movement as the movement for the well-being, that free-market makes people happy. free markets supposedly give people opportunity. if you shrink the government from the way they describe it, you will bring well-being to america. so from that point on, they started a well-being institute and they started talking about well-being and many of their programs. you can have that word again and again. they also came to the conclusion that people regarded them as highly partisan, very right-wing due to the fact they actually occupied the furthest right wing of the country on the spectrum. they did an alliance with allies and among the allies to introduce is a criminal defense
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lawyers in the united college fund announced they were going to be giving more money in the past of these groups. they will get a lot more money to these groups and make a push for working with democrats on some issues like criminal justice reform. they also turned into corporate advertising which i've seen it at baseball games. you've seen it on tv, probably sunday mornings. he seen it all over the place where they have the traditional focus as the s.a.t. of huggies and describes how they are creating a better future for america. we call it the new koch. go see it out there everywhere. but it's the same philosophy
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induces food sold in the the new way. >> host: you quoted as saying the weather gets harpooned as one who spout. but here are two recent media appearances by the koch brothers. >> some days it seems like all of david koch does is give, give, give. he gave $100 million to help support the ballet. he gave 185 into m.i.t., 20 million to the american museum of natural history, an entire wing to new york presbyterian hospital and $65 million for fountain says a metropolitan museum of art. >> you are not well liked primarily because of your very conservative politics. describe your political point of view. >> well, i am basically a libertarian. i am a conservative on economic matters and i'm a social liberal. >> host: you support.
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you support a woman's right to choose, a conservative candidate, many of them do not have those views. >> that is their problem. i do have those views. but i want these candidates to do is support a balanced budget and i'm very worried if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur in the economy of our country could suffer terribly. >> candidates you support her because of fiscal policies. >> that's exactly right. and really focus on economic and fiscal issues because of those go bad, the country as a whole suffers terribly. >> t. think it's good for the political system that so much of what is called duck money is flowing into the process now? >> well first of all, what ideas politically, that is all
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reported either two pac or candidate and want to give to my foundation is all public information. a lot of our donors don't want to take the kind of abuse that i do. they don't want these attacks. they don't want to threat. so they are going to participate if they have to have their names associated. >> or you don't really consider yourself a republican. >> not at all. i consider myself a liberal. the way i look at it, democrats are taking us up on hundred miles an hour over the financial cliff and republicans are taking us there at 70 miles an hour. >> lesser of two evils. >> i don't like to put it that way. i would say -- yeah, plus unproductive. >> host: what did you think about that? >> guest: well, it has been so
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interesting to watch. the widows they didn't want to be harpooned are now swimming around. it is such a change from when i started writing about the kochs. just five years ago they were the most secretive billionaires in the country and that was saying send in. this part of the new public relations effort that they are following. they are out there trying to talk and put a human face on their views. you know, it is a smart policy probably. they have certainly gotten a lot of great publicity for barbara walters. it's about. it is interesting in that interview, if you listen carefully, what you hear is david koch is saying i am a libertarian. don't hate me. she is saying to sort of liberal new yorkers where he is a big player, i am good on and i am
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fine with abortion, but you are giving money to all these candidates against them. what you hear from that is very true. the kochs made regardless of their libertarian views on social issues, where they put their money, which is what matters, where they put their money is behind far right candidates that push all kinds of anti-abortion issues. it's not important to them. what is import to them as the economic issues, the fiscal issues. they want fewer taxes and fewer regulations. fewer taxes on people like themselves and fewer regulations on businesses like theirs. that is where they put their money and that is the movement they are fueling. the rest of them think it's just not that one way or the other at this if you judge by where they put their money. so when charles says in the cbs
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interview people say well, he says he doesn't like the republican party, so it's not that a republican. he doesn't like either party, so it kind of sounds like somebody is not really been engaged in politics. he just doesn't like politicians, is the same you've had since 1980 when he and his brother had his brother run on the libertarian ticket. they are way to the right of the republican party. they been trying to push it to the right all these years, pouring money into it and its candidates, but not because they like where it is. because they are trying to pull it their way to have even lower taxes, smaller government, fewer regulations. they want this government to be way far right of where it is now. >> host: while obama's health care bill was useful at night in a tea party protesters, is environmental and energy policies for the real target of
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the many multimillionaires in really matters. if you had five minutes with charles koch, what would you ask them? >> guest: now, it is hard to know. i'm very interested in how he got these views. they really are initially radical. and i'd like to talk to him about his radicalism and what is vision is for this country. he talks about a lot of insight corporate cronyism, which sounds like something everyone can agree is not a good thing. but what is the libertarian vision for america? what does america look like when it has almost no government? where is an example where this to place with almost no government is a happy place, places with no government or places like failed states. they don't look like happy places. so i kind of like to know, where is he trying to take this country?
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.. and even then he is not exposing it. he's just raising a ruckus against a. i'm a little lost and i-- thank
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you again. >> host: that his mark in minneapolis. >> guest: thank you for those kind words. i'm a reporter, not a politician, so i'm not necessarily the person to turn to for the antidote to everything, but my personal reason for doing this work is i do believe that the beginning of reforming things that are wrong is knowledge. you have to know what's going on. so, the beginning for me is reporting about it, getting the information out, tried to get transparency, trying to let the voters and the citizens in the country understand why, when congress seems to do nothing it won't deal with common sense issues, why is that. while coming up understand it's hands are tied by private interests that it's serving and
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you need to be able to cert-- see who those interests are, so i think knowledge is the beginning. i think activism, people getting involved in voting is truly important. i think both trump and bernie sanders have shown there's actually a very big population in the country, that is hot-- unhappy with what they perceived to be political corruption right now and it's not an issue that's really been address that much before this campaign. but, the amount of anger surrounding it on both parties is fascinating. it suggests very alive topic out there, which means that it's a live area where you could see before because obviously an awful lot of people are upset about this. >> host: jane mayer, we talked about this earlier, but elliott e-mails in, should tax code brothers, but what about george soros supported obama?
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>> guest: george just did put in money to tory clinton's or supposedly independent pack that supports hillary clinton. none of these super pacs are truly independent of their candidates as far as i'm concerned, though legally they are. it's interesting that he is putting serious money back into politics and i think that the idea that our political system would be so influenced by such a small group of people with that much money is disturbing on both sides of the person divide. i really think most americans just object to the idea that 400 or 500 of the richest people in this country will be picking the next leader whether you're a democrat, republican in the middle, i mean, whatever, it's just not really the same as the idea of one man one vote, so i
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think there is a lot to worry about in both directions. the reason i have focused, though, and i have to say this even though it will create controversy a liver again, the reason i have focused on the cobra brothers in particular and the republican right wing money in this book is that when it comes to dark money in the last election 80% of the undisclosed money in 2014 was on the right. that is where the money is and if you are political reporter you follow the money and if you are following the money you will get to the koch brothers in this country. >> host: the new yorker, december 18, 2018-- 2014, by jane mayer, the unidentified queen of torture. what are we talking about here? >> guest: i did not identify. there is someone at the cia who is an officer who claims to be undercover and the agency says his undercover who in many ways has her fingerprints all over among the most egregious cases
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of what i regard as torture, having to do with the antiterrorism program. we are not alone to identify her because the cia says she's undercover, but it's a long story. i tell it in the dark side of how the cia in many ways people have to realize this the threat of al qaeda before 911. i hate to sound like donald trump or some of the left we conspiracy theorists, but i have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the story really is and there were many warnings that there was something terrible would happen to the united states and they were coming from some members of the cia. the white house was not jumping as a probably should have at this warning and there were also warnings that the cia believes they dropped. the cia specifically had some information that some of the people who later became those hijackers on 911 were in the
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united states and the cia did not alert the fbi to the presence of two of those people who became those hijackers. so, there were a lot of things that were fumbled before 911. it's human. it happens. but, there were reasons why people in the cia felt bad. it was intelligence failure, 911 was. after 911, some of the same people who had felt they dropped the ball overcompensated and they did everything he could to try to make sure that they were not blindsided again and part of what happened in that overcompensation was that they used methods that were, i think, in some ways unconscionable and what's interesting, the identify-- unidentified claim of torture in the store you're talking about was involved in both the dropping the ball ended overcompensation afterwards.
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so, there are the same characters who run through the story before 911 and after and she is one person in particular who has been singled out for her role in this behind-the-scenes, but we at the "new york times" did not decide to identify her because she was undercover and we don't do that. >> host: is she still there? >> guest: she is still their energies in a a major role. what's interesting is a number of the people who did drop the ball before 911 at the cia have been promoted sense and our store-- still involve. you know, again, maybe this is just human nature, people are not perfect, but there was never a complete open kind of investigation from all this. after pearl harbor was bombed, they were public hearings that went into great detail and there were corrections made right away.
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there was not that kind of hearing that took place publicly. he didn't get into detail of who dropped the ball at the ci day and these names have never come out. >> host: october, 1983. where were you? >> guest: i will never forget where i was that my. i was in beirut. i was a young reporter for the "wall street journal". i was filling in for a more seasoned reporter and i was rocked out of bed by the sound of two huge explosions, one of which was our own barracks being blown up by a terrorist. >> host: and? >> guest: i jumped out of bed, got there as best as i could, followed around a reporter who knew more about what he was doing then i did and that was friedman of the "new york times" who is a spectacular reporter and tried my best to cover what was the first certainly glimpse i ever got of radical islamic
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terrorism. it was a horror to see. it sticks with me every october 23, i think what i saw. marine barracks was flattened like a pancake with layers of people in between the floors that had fallen down and when i got there you could still hear voices screaming from inside of it, begging to be dug out, but a lot of them just died, so i think over 250 young guys died in that solution. and, you know, it was a wake-up call for this country i think about islamic terrorism, but when i look back at it now i think how interesting it is that hillary clinton gets so much grief over benghazi.
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we had so much trouble during that. not in beirut, with marine barracks being blown up and with the cia headquarters being blown up. i mean,-- we had a great loss of american life in lebanon during the period, and somehow ronald reagan and his teflon was never really blamed for it, but hillary clinton apparently does not have that teflon. there is nothing like the loss of life that she went through in benghazi, but it sticks with her >> host: november, 1989. >> guest: november, 1989, is also a night i will never forget. i was in berlin, again for the "wall street journal". i began to feel a little bit like calamity jane. i had the luck of being sent over to germany to cover what seemed a strange, which were demonstrations in east germany that suggested maybe the iron curtain was beginning to shimmer a little in some strange way and
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so i went over there to see what was going on in a few days later the berlin wall opened and i was actually standing there when the first people came through. i had been having jet-- dinner with a german family and they were listening to the radio and said they are opening checkpoint charlie, so we drove over there and we thought it must be wrong because nothing was happening and as we were standing there people started to pour through, so it was the most unbelievable sight for someone who's interested in history and assume the germans were just dancing in the streets, popping champagne scene and i was dictating live to the front page of the "wall street journal". and the next day, all of the serious reporters who really knew about-- a lot about foreign affairs came in, but i felt really good that as a general assignment reporter a foreign editor at the new yorker and i had had the luck or foresight or whatever you to the foreign editor to get there a few days early. >> host: at the "wall street
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journal"? >> guest: ansari, at the "wall street journal" to be there. >> host: filled in massachusetts, thank you for holding. you are on without her, jane mayer. >> caller: hello, jane. thanks for taking my call and all of the great work. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: donald trump just said that he would break of dp by which, of course. he meant to say epa and i'm wondering if you feel that the democratic presidential candidate should try his or her best to associate the republican candidate, whether it is trump or someone else with the environmental crimes of the coke industries and cope for others relentless assault against environmental regulations. that's my question. >> guest: well, thanks. i think it's very interesting question because people think of trump as being not a cope
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brothers candidate. the cope brothers said they dislike him behind-the-scenes. he's not reliable in terms of their point of view, but he does share a lot of their positions including about global warming-- warming and of our mental matters, and those positions are incredibly important to cope industries. they have a terrible record on environmental pollution, some of the bid-- biggest judgments of any company in terms of pollution judgments and the largest creator of toxic waste in the front tree where it was recently according to epa statistics and so it's not really up to me to tell the democrats how to run their campaign, but i think to me as a reporter it's something worth pointing out that donald trump is carrying the water of the fossil fuel industry when he takes these positions and of other polluters and you know
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something, i don't think it's a smart political decision for anyone to take this point. if you look at polls in this country, the vast majority of the people really care about the environment. they were clean water, clean air and they are concerned at this point about climate change. people seem that the weather strange. they are worried about the polar bears having no place to swim as the ice caps melt and public opinion is changing a lot on this issue and it's not where the republican party is on a. so, i'm surprised in a way that donald trump is taking the position he is on it and you really have to wonder why he is because he has been pretty good at figuring out where the gaps are between republican orthodoxy and the public. on this when he is not where the public is. >> host: a few legal violations could be understood as misfortune accidents, jane mayer writes, coke industries pattern of pollution was not just write
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reports agree justice, but also to willfulness in that comes friend "dark money" and this is robin diego, text message. do you find it hard to say-- stay dispassionate and if so how do you overcome those extreme feelings regarding what you have uncovered about the koch manipulation about our political system? >> guest: that's a good question and because it's very important if you're going to be fair and credible, not to get too personally invested, somehow. i mean, you have to be open to the possibilities that the koch maybe do some good things, which i think some of the things in the money they give away to the science and art site is good. you have to remind yourself to be, you know, that they are human. one of the things i did, i was really sorry to not have a chance to interview them because i find that process definitely helps a reporter even if you
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regarded as hostile, you begin to understand the people you are interviewing more on a human level and so one of the things i did even though the koch declined to be interviewed by me, twitterberry in writing for this book came out i went into wichita and i interviewed some of the top people in koch industries. i just showed up at an event. i was uninvited, but i was at a public event. >> host: chamber of commerce. >> guest: it was and i bought a ticket like anyone else like never hide who i am and i put down my identity and that i was with the new yorker magazine and i was covering it for a new yorker story about them changing their image and i should've the next day and i went to the speech that charles koch gave and charles and david were speaking and then i went to a public event they had a niche induced myself to the head of their public relations and to
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their general counsel who is there and i think it was really really useful. i got to sit down for a cup of copy-- coffee with them and i think it humanized them a bit and so you are talking about how do you manage to be this passionate, i can get really to realize these are people that have a strong point of view, they have a right to have a strong point of view, you know, there's a difference between doing illegal things like polluting, which i think are something you can't condone, but having a really strong and maybe extreme point of view in american politics, that is a legal thing you can do and it's good to see that these are just people, so i was really god to have had a chance to talk to them. it was off the record, but, i mean, it helped a lot, i think. i hope it helped them a bit because i am sure they have very demonic sense of me as well. >> host: in santa barbara. hello, kathy c3 hello, jane.
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thank you for coming on. you are talking about the koch brothers starting a campaign or investigation about you and the idea that if they can't find something they will make something up is so reminiscent of nixon's paranoia, i mean, it's like exactly the same thing. you mentioned that they have worked in state legislature and even city politics trying to influence state elections, and you are pretty heavyweight journalist with the "new york times" and the new yorker, but what happens to a reporter writing for a small website or newspaper who is investigating these tactics that are going on at the state level with someone who doesn't have maybe the protections you do or whatever? are they doing that too small newspaper reporters as well and what happens to those people? >> guest: they actually have for
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a wild than pushing back very hard at all kinds of reporters. they had something they put up called koch back where they would do things like publish private e-mails that took place between the reporter and the company trying to ask questions back and forth to try to embarrass the reporter and generally try to undermine reporters. they have gone after it reporter at something called claimant news that was in a very personal way, i mean, you sense-- excuse me-- when you take them on that you are up against a very very powerful bunch of people with that much money they can bring lawsuits. they can do pretty much a lot of things to cause trouble to a reporter, but i do think reporters have something that in their quiver that is very powerful also.
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which is the ability to write publicly. so, what i did in my book is writes about how they came after me and i got the information. i confirmed it and i called howard safer who was the private investigator who was hired at the time by someone connected with koch industries and exposed it. exposing them is a very powerful tool. actually i can-- quote someone in this book, someone who used to work for koch industries who then in a trial testified against them about their behavior and about what he said was really this behavior by them and he-- i asked him were you scared to do that and he said, yes, but we had something that was stronger, a weapon that was stronger than the koch and i said to him-- his name is phil debose and i said what was that weapon stronger than the koch and he said, the truth.
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so, reporters can tell the truth and i think that is very powerful. >> host: henry holt is your publisher, believe for "dark money"? >> guest: no, doubleday is my publisher for "dark money". >> host: doubleday. they will kill me. c-2 doubleday, fantastic editor. >> host: we work with all of the publishers. sorry about that, doubleday. what kind of fact checking and lawyering goes into a book like this? >> guest: a lot. we are proud of it and at the new yorker we are very proud of it also. i went through not just first of all fantastic copy editing by doubleday. they went through it with a fine tooth comb and they fact checked so well. people say that publishers don't edit any more. that is so not true.
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on this book they edited beautifully at every level, but in addition, i hired an assistant who was fresh out of harvard where his brain cells were still working well and he went through the whole book with me very very carefully. 's name is andrew and he is not fox and he did a beautiful job researching and then i hired another round of fact checkers who had worked at the new yorker who were spectacular and they went through it also, and then i married glad to someone i say this bill hamilton who is now the washington editor of the "new york times" and he was heroic in terms of going through this also. i mean, we took up a week. we were supposed to be on vacation and we sat there in the living room going through every paragraph of this book together. so, i mean, we did everything we could. i notice readers every now and then writing and say, you
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describe something as happening in the roman empire. it was not the roman empire. it was the roman republic and if so then i make note of anything that is wrong, send it to the publisher, so that for future additions we will fix it and we wanted to be perfect and we have done everything we can. we are human and inevitably in 450 pages there will be things that are correct, but i tried everything i could do. >> host: "dark money" by jane mayer was published by doubleday. stephen in woodland hills, california. hello, stephen. >> caller: has a male editor who is doing his job ever been fired for being too abrasive? your good friend, jill abramson, twice was doing her job, which she had been fired if she was a male? >> guest: well, have to say her predecessor at the "new york times", paul raines, was pushed
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out right before her, so it's not as if male editors necessarily don't come under scrutiny also. partly, what i think the brief was against paul who is a very talented writer, but i think there was something about the wake he handle people that became the issue in addition to the fact that there was a reporting scandal that took place at the weber at the time and and it was the way that jill handle people that then became issue for her at least according to them, so i do think all of these jobs, you reach the top, you are under a cuter scrutiny. these news organizations now struggling to survive and there is a lot of criticism of everything they do that doesn't succeed and they are blamed personally for at the top. it's hard to have these jobs. so, i don't-- i'm not at the times.
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i think it's a shame, what happened to jill. jill is really truly one of the most talented and smartest journalists i know and i think she put out a fantastic newspaper. so, if reporting was really really good and i don't think anyone thought otherwise about her reporting homicide on a. i just don't know. you know, all i can say is i think it's tough for everyone these days in journalism at the top. >> host: she is at harvard now? >> guest: she is at harvard now, teaching. she is writing a book and she has talked a little bit about it herself and she has said that she feels she didn't listen the enough. people who were around her at the time, so, i mean, she is smart enough to realize none of us is completely perfect or bulletproof. that said, i just don't think at this point it's hard especially
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-- i'm not going to say necessarily in journalism, but i think this whole issue of how women can be bosses without being accused of being bossy is not solved. i think it's something we're working through and i don't think we have reached the other side of it yet. >> host: next call port jane mayer is marjorie in west virginia. marjorie, please go ahead. >> caller: hello. i would like to the back to the issue about the republican domination and a some of legislatures because here in west virginia we have had what some of us believe is our own infamous corporate hit named don and he-- many of us believe he is responsible for the death of the 29 comb miners and thankfully he was found guilty in a federal. however, an event to stop
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families of minors to shoeing in the event of another, and disaster a recently repack-- elected republican legislature sponsored a bill giving immunity for these corporate heads to not be sued and held accountable by surviving family members. a few years ago we had our own water crisis where freedom industries, a chemical company, these chemicals into our drinking water and then democratic held legislatures passed a bill that ordered inspection of these chemical containers. when the republicans gained control of both houses for the first time in 83 years they said it was too costly to pay for the inspection, so those dropped. finally, we had a democratic reelection legislature here at who became a republic in the day after he was elected. then, he quit his job at the legislature to work for the nra. his changing from democrat to republican gave the republicans that majority that they have had
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i fear that if these stories don't get out nationally particularly the one about the immunity that this could spread to other state legislatures giving corporate ceos who are not responsible for negligent immunity-- >> host: marjorie, we are going to leave it there and see if jane mayer has a comment. >> guest: she should talk to someone from west virginia because it is a state where an awful lot of money from koch industries and from the koch foundation is flowing. they have got a very big program they are funding in west virginia. and they have got a lot of money going into a fight right there now about the right to work law that's being debated, the so-called right to work law, something that makes it harder for people to join unions.
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i don't know whether their money is involved in this liability side, particularly. but, it is a state where there has been a very big amount of influence by the koch and by the donor groups they have got and it's a poor state and it is a great illustration of how super wealthy donors can pack a super big punching ace poor state. money goes so far and can make so much difference with things like legislative races, so it's very interesting. they played very hard in west virginia and they are having a big impact on things. >> host: kevin grace posted on our facebook page and there is a couple of comments i want to read that kind of goes to our issue of heroes and villains, black and white, shades of gray in between. given the money spent on our liberal programming, public--
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public education, liberal university and liberal journalists like jane mayer in the new yorker it is strange that their opposition to the koch money would be worthy of such paranoia of psychotic proportions. he goes onto say that koch industries employs 60000 employees, mostly blue-collar and oh, no i'm a unionized. they still evil? >> guest: well, as your collar maybe did or did not year-- or i don't use words like evil to describe these people. i describe them as people who have views that are far outside of the american mainstream, where they are imposing their views on the american mainstream by their huge wealth. so, you know, this is simplistic and cartoonish to be talking about evil like that. so, a-lowercase-letter. >> host: john post on their wet-- facebook, in your eyes is dick cheney a criminal and
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should he be prosecuted? >> guest: you know, there has been debate even almost serious debate about whether someone should be prosecuted for the torture of the 911 suspects and i don't think probably-- again, i am a reporter, not an advocate particularly, but i see these as political problems that need to be solved with polygonal answers. i think these policies debates are important policy debates and i sort of imagine after years of covering politics in washington that if someone brought charges against a vice president cheney, the backlash would be so intense that everyone practically would be on cheney's side. i don't think it would be a useful thing to do. >> host: this is mary, as a union-- this is twitter, as a
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union who makes a living from the arts i'm conflicted about an night's apart-- about koch support. >> guest: i think a lot of people in new york feel that way because david koch has put a lot of money into the lincoln center and modern museum of art's. i can't say i'm against giving money to the arts. i come from a family of artists and i come from new york and a family that gave a lot of money to the metropolitan using itself, so these are things that i regard as, you know, the good side on the ledger here. i think it is great also that david koch gives money to scientific research, but on cancer, but giving money to cancer research is good, causing people cancer is not so good and they don't really talk about that side of what the business does. i mean, in the arts, think it is stepping back and is a bit of a
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shame that the culture world has to wait for handouts in order to view up to provide culture. in europe the don't find it that way. it's not just reliant on rich people getting out handouts. the government actually funds a lot of the arts in europe and they have fantastic museums that don't seem to be struggling, so there are other ways we could do this, but i can see why the conflict. >> host: next call for jane mayer, sheila connecticut. hello, sheila. >> caller: hello peter and jane. do you believe, jane, we the people as a united front can get rid of the pomp and circumstances, i call them the delegates and superdelegates. they are supposed to be necessities before nomination is decided, where they have all the
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power. i feel that this way if we get rid of them it will give bernie sanders a fair chance to win the nomination based solely on the popular vote and i thought about this, jane, and to me and election has to use the same analogy as when building a house. when you build a house you have to start with a strong foundation. if you want the house to withstand all of the pressures it will undergo bills and to me that only way bernie is going to win the democratic nomination is if we the people-- that this election has to be based on solely the popular vote and i can't comprehend how we have let the parties convince us that we need this so-called necessities in order to choose the right winner. i'm talking about the delegates, superdelegates, endorsements, electoral college, gerrymandering-- >> host: sheila, think we got
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your point. jane mayer, any comments? >> guest: the book doesn't really get into the subject of superdelegates and delegates. i do talk about gerrymandering and i do think that gerrymandering is something them by both parties, but it's gone way too far. i mean, it's really distorting the democratic process and i suppose that's what the collar's argument is true of the superdelegates also. there are a lot of mechanisms that have encrypted over the years, but the electrical college goes way back. i think it's healthy to have this debate. the bottom line is that good people are asking questions and i think bernie sanders has brought up great questions. 's in strange way from his even bringing up questions in terms of whether the parties have lost touch with the voters and are serving only the big interest, the money interest and i think a lot of people feel that. >> host: jane mayer, in 2013,
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you set pound with corby a university for a history. how many hours? >> guest: i did not know it would go on for such a long time. >> host: two days. >> guest: i was not ready for it at all. yeah, anyway, the thing is my grandfather started the oral history program at columbia, so i did not feel i could say no. but, i wasn't ready for that much of an inquisition. they were very thorough. >> host: and is it accessible to anyone? >> guest: it is accessible to anyone. it's up there and i think all of the oral history is. i think it is great. part of the reason the oral history program was started is with the country moving away from the us mail system and written letters are there some me fewer documents and so many fewer diaries for historians to use and for reporters to use and
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e-mails to serve, so the idea was that people would then leave this kind of documentary record and historian to go through it and they should. the colombian oral history library is very accessible at how people use it. >> host: you are still kind of on book two or four "dark money" at this point; right? >> guest: im. >> host: will you do the festival circuit? >> guest: a little bit. i want to get back to reporting and cover the campaign. this is a wild campaign. this one is irresistible, side anxious to get back in and do my regular day job. >> host: have you even thought about another book? >> guest: the thought of it is too awful right now. you know, this was a hard book to write, actually. i felt because of the fact that the people i was writing about had come after me at some point that every single thing had to be absolutely right and it was an uncomfortable feeling and it just altogether i felt i was
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sort of taking on very powerful interests and i'm just so happy to not be working on that right this minute, so my family says i have done "dark money" and "the dark side" and it's time to do something a little lighter, so we are thinking maybe dark chocolate next. >> host: from your oral interview at columbia university, it's an overwhelming thing to write up book, but what i started with was in this is about "dark money", put together a chronology because this is really a narrative. i think the chronology came to be 380 pages long. >> guest: correct. i did the same thing with "dark money" money as well, chronology. what you have to understand is these books are narrative histories, really. they are stories. so, i think, what i'm trying to do is explain who the characters
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are, but more how one event flows into the next. sinks have repercussions. the decisions people make in back rooms and at the affected the entire country and so you really can't see the causality of events until you put chronology together. and you do it and then you say that is why they did that. i get it. i get it now. and ucl of these relationships that you could not see otherwise , so it's actually quite a fun sort of exercise to do. it takes forever. but, it's really useful when you are writing a book. >> host: one more quote from that interview. this is about landslide, the making of a president. i hope in this issue speaking, i hope someday someone that there will be a real vision is to review in the midst of all of the reagan and they will go back and look at this again. it could be that i was wrong,
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that you are too close to the president and his staff and you don't see the greatness, maybe. >> guest: that is true and it is funny, someone has gone back and of all people it is bill o'reilly. he has written a book that uses some material, some of the most important material in landslide. he references that landslide in the back of his book. he doesn't have any actual footnotes that attribute the material, but we had a blockbuster opening. i save me we because it was doyle mcmanus and myself and we had a blockbuster newsbreak in it, which was that president reagan's own top advisers looked at him at some point and they thought that he had so lost it that they considered invoking the 25th amendment, which would take him out of office because he was a competent. they were afraid he might be mentally incompetent and so they actually had a meeting where
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they took a close look at him and kind of tested him to see whether he could manage to answer questions and seemed fully in his full capacities and they came to the conclusion after that that he was okay. but, the reason that they went through that process was his own advisers were speaking about him as if he was out to lunch. i mean, they were saying he wasn't interested in the job and let other people sign his name on documents as was spending a lot of time in the residence and was watching tv. it was a litany of complaints about ronald reagan from his own people that really scared the new chief of staff who was coming in at that point the white house and that story is retold by bill o'reilly in this book as if it's breaking news all over again. i guess it shows you that 25 years go by and everything is reinvented, but who knows, maybe we did and again, i think it's a
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good question, did we who were covering reagan and the white house that something by talking to the people around him that did not necessarily regard ronald reagan as a god or even as a superhuman president, particularly. they saw a lot of flaws and said we has as reporters. we were right in there and they say no man is a hero to his valley and maybe we were too close to being valets, but he seemed highly cumin when we were covering him. >> host: sarasota florida, glenn jane mayer is listening. >> caller: hello, jane. first, i was taken a while back when you mentioned about some of these people worrying about their offspring becoming liberal i had a little experience in that my son-in-law was at one time the director of the melon clinic in haiti, after doctor millon passed away. comparing him to another relative in that family who
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didn't have anything to do that. other than that, i wanted to ask you when he mentioned the time about the money being given by right and left, i was going to ask about that and you mentioned that 80% was on the right. i am amused because in the journalism of today we sometimes get on this hand on the other hand rather than the facts and it makes it seem even when it is something when someone brings up george soros in comparison to koch and everyone else on your side, so for to one is a bit different than even stephen. finally, just a question about trump. you mentioned him supporting social security etc., but he like the rest of the people running are all in for tax cuts
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particularly with him the inheritance tax and anyone looking at the program understands there are billions of dollar shortfall and how you end up supporting social security medicare, medicaid when you have that kind of a cup plus the fact that he will have a military second to none, whatever that means, or as if we don't already have it. i don't understand the contradiction. that's why i refer to the republicans as the tooth fairy party, but any, you have on that i would appreciate. >> guest: i mean, it is interesting to talk about how these families, these extraordinarily rich families whose stories i tell in this book all pushed for huge-- or elimination of the estate tax. people seem to think that because you might be very rich
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you don't care that much about money, but you have so much of it. that is not true of these families. they push on every direction to try to accumulate more money and to protect the fortunes they had and they did it in many many different ways including trying to get rid of the inheritance tax. there is some great information in there and a good study coalition that fought to keep-- to get rid of the inheritance tax and it includes the koch and a number of other families that you would think i mean they had tremendous fortunes. anyway, i don't know where trump is on the inheritance tax. you may be right. i have just not follow that particular question. >> host: ten minutes left in our conversation with jane mayer, the author of "dark money: the hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right", "strange justice" and "the dark side". are those articles assessable online?
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>> guest: yes, all of the new york-- new yorker articles are. >> host: even if you're not a subscriber? >> guest: i think, up to a certain point. give it a try. >> host: mohammed in sandusky, ohio. good afternoon, sir. >> host: i have a different line here punch. i apologize. i have george in massachusetts punched up. george, are you with us? >> caller: i am, peter. >> host: sorry about that. hang on, mohammed. we will get to you in a minute. >> caller: thank you peter and thank you to c-span. it is wonderful to see ms. maier on tv with her book. i think this book is a godsend. many of us have been waiting to read a book like this. i did go back to school as an older students to the university of massachusetts and while i was
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there majoring in sociology we read other books like, the met-- best democracy money can buy as well as the excellent book by g william who was actually conservative called: who rules america. it talks about the money and as just the jury what i would say, follow the money. so i find it interesting that your author today on c-span has written this excellent book about the dark money especially after citizens united. my question involves a greater scope of this money. we are all aware of the koch brothers and their influence and how they manipulate public opinion. to further their agenda. my question to your author is on the greater scope, does she-- and her book does she talk about
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other groups? groups that are touched upon and some people on the fringe touch upon, but most people have never heard of and that one group in particular that i'm interested in knowing if she has done research on is the builder berger group. does she talk about the builder berger group and the influence-- >> host: lets talk to jane mayer and see what answer is. >> guest: i do not and i have only heard a little bit about the builder berger group, but i think i wanted to say that some of the things i have heard sounded sorted like overheated about it and a bit conspiratorial about it and this book is not about a conspiracy. it's a book about a very small group of people with very intense views huge amount of money who set out to change the direction of american politics because they did not like where was going in the 1970s. they thought america was too liberal and they wanted to turn
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it back from where was going. they did not like the environment of movement, they didn't like the consumer movement, the public interest law movement, they didn't like the expanding welfare state. it's not a conspiracy. it's a political movement. i don't know how i would defined the difference except that a lot of this was done in secret, but some was in public, also. so, anyway i have read that book. i remember reading it in college and i thought it was great. it was a really helpful book. there is, you can never learn too much about the role of money in american politics because it packs a punch. >> host: text into you from california: does the evidence support and need at those claims of sexual harassment? >> guest: the evidence supports anita hill's claims that clarence thomas spoke to her explicitly about sex in ways that made her uncomfortable.
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whether that is legally a definition of harassment, .-dot no. i'm not a lawyer, but i can say that what we discovered was that clarence thomas had a long history of speaking very explicitly about sex. he loved to see put on the free. many people if you go to that book describe it from fellows that were in school with him. he had a history here. it supported what she said. you know, i don't know if that meets the legal limit of harassment, but it made her uncomfortable to meet other women uncomfortable and there were other women who wanted to testify against him. part of the news of that book was that there were other women that were never allowed to testify against him. they were waiting in the wings. there was someone named angela wright, someone named rosa jourdan who has since passed
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away. there were other women who had memories of him acting inappropriately. now, you know, at that point was considered harassment-- this was sort of a new concept almost in a way that people were talking about it way back then. now, i think you would find a lot of people would be upset if their boss spoke to them the weight clarence thomas spoke to need help. back in the days there was a lot more haziness and debate about how bad it was or wasn't. many people also wondered why in the day he'll had gone to another job with clarence thomas after she had undergone this behavior that she said had upset her so much and so there were mitigating questions, but the description she gave of the clarence thomas was born out by the work that jill abramson and i did. >> host: does it hold up 20 some years later? >> guest: i think whenever really. >> host: twenty-two years later. >> guest: i think completely.
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i think completely including the fact that david brock who gave-- who took the other side had come out and said he was wrong. i mean, it's a pretty devastating. >> host: what is anita hill doing today? >> guest: i think she is a professor at brandeis university and she is speaking out more and i think she is in a comfortable spot and i believe there is a new documentary-- sort of a docudrama that is starring cary washington plane and need a hell that will come out any minute now see what a few minutes left in our program. mohammed, sandusky, ohio. please go ahead, sir c3 thank you. hello, jane. i love the new yorker. you, it's about what happened in beirut, 1982.
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>> guest: 83c3. >> caller: they did not even know who did it and now it is so easy with everything happening in the middle east. >> guest: they have actually named who the person was who they thought was involved in it and it was on iranian backed terror group that was working out of syria at that point. so, it's not a big mystery, really who is involved in that case anymore. i mean, it's not to say, i mean, i'm not trying to say something anti- islamic, but it was an iranian backed terror group. >> host: gary fox lake wisconsin. please go ahead, sir. >> caller: hello, jane. >> guest: hello.
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>> caller: i have been watching a lot of television and i'm getting more and more confused with injustice being done, but what i kind a look at is the supreme court, which is seems to control a lot the way our nation is run. i think that's a cause for separation of people. in families and everything else. my question is: have you or anyone else ever studied the supreme court? finally the koch brothers with their funds and the integrated some way in their? i know they control the house of representatives by putting funds and like you said and supporting the party, tea partiers and stuff like this that got in there and now they are controlling of who or when the supreme court and its also gone into the senate. that's where it's really jumped
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up a step. it used to be a little different in the senate. >> host: lets leave it there and see if we have a comment from our author. >> guest: it is so much an issue of controlling. i don't think people control the supreme court, but what you can see is in the briefs filed in many cases you can see koch funded groups are very involved in many supreme court challenges and you can also see that they have helped fund the right wing legal movement, the federalist society and the law and economics movement and help generate a number of the cases that is their money has supported organizations that have funded a number of the cases including the citizens united case. they have been exposed of campaign finance limits for a long time and they have helped push, push, push to get the lobby visited by the court and
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so you can see-- you can definitely see that influence of koch funded organizations in generating cases they get to the supreme court. >> host: it's been in the media recently that the koch brothers are active in criminal justice reform. >> guest: it is and they are also active in right now, they have in the past funded a group called the judicial crisis network, which is already involved in trying to keep the democrats from obama specifically from naming or confirming a new supreme court justice. i mean, the thing that is amazing and the reason i hope people get a chance to really look at the book including the chart in the front is there is so much money on some a-levels-- so much money on semi models, so you practically need to be a forensic accountant to follow it >> host: this is the chart and there is another one in the back of the book. here is the chart on the opening
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cover of jane mayer's book "dark money" and it's where the money goes, who are some the groups involved. you can figure this out for yourself. there is a similar chart, this is the network and this is the chart continued, i guess, in the back. >> guest: those are dark money groups on one side and more visible money groups on the other side. >> host: hears that chart as well. peter in la, we have 30 seconds. >> caller: jane, my name is peter. i have not read your book, but i watched some of your interviews in the last couple weeks and i'm curious about an issue that i have not seen raised. you have mentioned the koch brothers are strict libertarians and not only believe that government is limited, but it is evil. do they hold that view also for
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the national defense? i suspect not and-- >> host: we are out of time. >> guest: they are actually libertarians about national defense and would like to see less spending on it. >> host: jane mayer has been our guest for the past three hours. 1988 landslide the unmaking of a president came out. "strange justice" came out in 1994. "dark money" 2008. and "the dark side". "dark money" is her most recent book. thank you. >> guest: thank you for having me.
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