In 2011, Peter Schweizer went on 60 Minutes with his book Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism that Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison (HMH, 2011).
Congress responded and passed The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. The law prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit, including insider trading by members of Congress and other government employees.
Next month, Schweizer will again go on 60 Minutes, this time with a book titled Extortion (Houghton Mifflin, 2013.)
In the book, Schweizer argues that the Department of Justice has radically expanded the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to “shake down” key targets — while ignoring much more obvious targets on Wall Street.
In Throw Them All Out, Schweizer called for federal insider trading laws to be applied to members of Congress. Congress acted.
Will Schweizer now call on Congress to pass a domestic version of the FCPA?
We’re not going to know until next month.
Schweizer’s publicist, Sandy Schulz, said that the book is “under embargo” because the 60 Minutes has “the first exclusive interview” with Schweizer and it’s scheduled to run in mid-October.
But Schweizer went on Breitbart News Sunday (Sirius XM 125) with Stephen Bannon to promote the book and said that “criminal behavior” was much more of a factor behind — and at the heart of — the financial crisis than people making risky choices.
And according to early publicity about the book that made it’s way onto the Internet, Schweizer believes extortion is now more of a problem than lobbying.
The problem used to be that special interests clogged up the system by showering money on politicians, Schweizer says.
Now the dynamic is reversed.
Schweizer argues that money now rules Washington in a whole new way — by extortion.
Our politicians refuse to schedule votes until corporations and individuals pay up.
They play one industry off against another for months or years while milking both sides for funds.
They pass complex bills so that when they leave public service they can hire themselves out as guides to that very complexity.
(Check out the New York Times front page article today on how former Obama officials are are cashing in on Obamacare — “Reaping Profit After Assisting on Health Law,” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg).
They use leadership PACs to buy loyalty and votes.
Schweizer says — our leaders no longer care about us.
They care only about their war chests.
The book reveals:
How both political parties maintain a secret dues list, forcing members of Congress to pay to maintain key leadership positions.
How those key leaders, in turn, use their positions to extort money from donors.
How leadership PACs are used to underwrite politicians’ lifestyles and purchase each other’s loyalties.
Schweizer says that if Washington adopted some of the ethics laws that govern state politicians, we would be better off.