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Dollars and Votes: How Business Campaign Contributions Subvert Democracy

Dollars and Votes: How Business Campaign Contributions Subvert Democracy (Hardback)

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Recent scandals, including questionable fun-raising tactics by the current administration, have brought campaign finance reform into the forefront of the news and the public consciousness. Dollars and Votes goes beyond the partial, often misleading, news stories and official records to explain how our campaign system operates. The authors conducted thorough interviews with corporate \u0022government relations\u0022 officials about what they do and why they do it. The results provide some of the most damning evidence imaginable.

What donors, especially business donors, expect for their money is \u0022access\u0022 and access means a lot more than a chance to meet and talk. They count on secret behind-the-scenes deals, like a tax provision that applies only to a \u0022corporation incorporated on June 13, 1917, which has its principal place of business in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.\u0022 After a deal is worked out behind closed doors, one executive explains, \u0022it doesn't much matter how people vote afterwards.\u0022

Ordinary contributions give access to Congress; megabuck \u0022soft money\u0022 contributions ensure access to the President and top leaders. The striking truth revealed by these authors is that half the soft money comes from fewer than five hundred big donors, and that most contributions come, directly or indirectly, from business. Reform is possible, they argue, by turning away from the temptation of looking at specific scandals and developing a new system that removes the influence of big money campaign contributors.

Dan Clawson, Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the author of Bureaucracy and the Labor Process and past editor of Contemporary Sociology. Alan Neustadtl, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, is the co-author (with Dan Clawson and Denise Scott) of Money Talks: Corporate PACs and Political Influence. Mark Weller teaches sociology at San Jose State.

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