tv Book Discussion on Extortion CSPAN December 30, 2013 2:00am-2:51am EST
on the front. thanks for being on book tv. >> peter schweizer argues contrary to popular belief big money interests do not control politicians. he says that it's the politicians who extort money from corporations and other wealthy groups noting that members of congress often introduce legislation for no other reason than to get donations from groups that will be impacted by it. this is about 15 minutes.
[applause] thank you for the warm introduction. i actually got originally involved in the young america's foundation i have an interest in the national security affairs, which i still have it actually ran across a very important news item today that i guess was encouraging. typically the cia has developed a new covert operation to underline al qaeda. i don't know if you have read this. it is a plan that is going to basically be straight recruiting that's going to disrupt the operations and it's going to bankrupt your organization. it's actually a very simple plan. the cia is going to handle the white house to design the al qaeda website. [applause] [laughter] well, i don't need to tell this audience that washington dc and in fact the entire country has changed over the last four
years, but we don't have to simply cite our belief and/or philosophy as to what's going on in our country. the world knows. the world has observed. let me just give you two very authoritative sources that confirm the fact that things are increasingly not right in the nations capital area the first one is the world bank which does a study every year on international competitiveness. the second is an organization called of the world economic forum which meets in the host switzerland which actually puts out an annual survey. both of these organizations put together the studies and a track corruption in developing countries around the world. and since 2009, both of these organizations have found that while in 2009, the united states was in the middle of the pack as far as advanced industrialized countries were concerned in the own with cronyism corruption. we are as of this year dead last
among developing countries. that is the feat in the state to which the country has moved. and if you've been to washington dc recently as compared to even ten years ago you come to the realization that this is a different city than it once was. certainly a different city than the one i experienced as an undergraduate in the 1980s. it's now got the highest per capita income in the united states the past silicon valley. and in fact they have the luxury. there's actually a for our revealer in washington dc. you can go on the website and its for re: of washington dc and they have a quarter million dollar car on the nations capitol building. we did a special called boomtown we went and interviewed a salesman after re: of washington dc and explained to us car sales were great but they were in
trouble with for re: of north america as compared to the dealership in south beach miami and hollywood and we asked if the sales are so great why are you having such a problem with ferrari of north america? he said in california and miami the dealership people come in and financed their cars and that's good for business. in dc they pay cash. that is absolutely true story. what's troubling about this is that this is the seat of government and its developed in washington dc not the same as wealth but its developed elsewhere in the country and in silicon valley you have people like steve jobs and others that people of great businesses and industries and they made their money by doing what? selling goods and services and products that people voluntarily choose to buy. nobody forces you to buy an ipod. nobody forces you to buy a laptop you voluntarily choose to
do so and that is the beauty of the free market system because in washington dc the cash that is sloshing around their doesn't come from the voluntary exchange but i don't volunteer to pay my taxes to the irs i don't volunteer to send my money there. what i would like to talk about tonight is what i see as one of the most compelling challenges that we face in what is happening in the nation's capital and increasingly in the country. that is that we are increasingly moving from a free-market economy and we are approaching an extortion economy of which washington dc is our nation's capital. now what is the image that we have of people that go into politics? and there are very noble people that go into politics and continue to go into politics today. i by no means about the opinion that they are all corrupt and bad and in fact you're going to
be hearing from some of them today. but what you have increasingly is i think a bit about what happens and that is what i call the jimmy stewart smith. anybody see the movie mr. smith goes to washington county old classic film? jimmy stewart is kind of the innocent guy that is very earnest and he comes to washington dc and he just wants to do good. the problem is there's all these bad guys out there, special interests and lobbyists corrupting him. and we've kind of approach to politics in our country that they at least for the past 40 years. in other words the assumption has been that we have these publicly spirited minded people and we've got to keep everybody away from them and if we do that things will be fine. i'm going to convince you that increasingly washington dc is listed jimmy stewart and more like the sopranos. people here watch the sopranos? lots of great stories and lines
in that but one of the things you hear isn't a shakedown operation they would say you're only as good as your last envelope. you're only as good as your last of the loop is what i'm going to continue tonight is yes, we have jimmy stewart's still in washington dc that increasingly, we have people that operate like the sopranos. i've been criticized by some who say when you say they function like the mafia aren't you taking things a little bit too far? i would ask them to simply go back and look at the history particularly the italian mafia and you realize that the mafia literally was organized by the italian politicians. so maybe that tells you something. what we talk about "-open-double-quote what i need functioning in this matter would i need about extortion cracks by the extortion i don't mean the things you usually see in the film. we are not talking about people being violent in the physical sense or people holding guns were threatening.
the example i would give the sort of extortion i'm talking about is image that comes from urban america about 20 years ago and probably older individuals here like myself will remember this, perhaps the younger students won't be there used to be a plague in urban america called the squeegee man? is anybody remember the squeegee man? in new york city and other places they would wait at a stoplight and you pull up with your car and they stand in front of your car and they have a squeegee or a cloth in one hand and a break in the other and they say i'm going to wash your window, can i wash your window? they never said i'm going to take this break and smash it through your windshield that everybody knew that if you didn't pay him he was going to smash a brick through your windshield so it pretty soon became clear people would pay them and it became very lucrative. rudy giuliani in new york and others saw how destructive this was that it was extortion and
they got rid of it and they nipped in the bud. that is essentially the sort of extortion that i'm talking about here. and when you talk to people that are in the business community, corporate executives or if you talk to surveys many of them will tell you that the main reason they give to certain individuals in terms of political campaigns isn't always because they support a candidate or like that candidate. sometimes they get it because they feel like if they don't, bad things are going to happen to them and their business. in my book i cite some examples of this. one of them came from the former president of shale oil who is telling me about an experience that he had in 2009. you may find this on youtube. he went to appear before this congressional committee and a number of members of congress in this case from both the local parties that if they were led by
maxine waters they were telling him that the reason gasoline prices were $4 a gallon or higher was the fault of shale oil and there were threats in the public camera but we start thinking about naturalizing the oil companies and it was a very heated exchange. with the president told me after that really bothered me. she said after those hearings were done, the same congressmen who had been making the threats came up to him and said if you make a donation or held a fundraiser i might understand your issue better. how would you take that as a member of business executives coming from somebody that is already and threatening action that could potentially harm your company? it takes place and it goes on and it's troubling. and in my mind a function of the fact that government has become so large and so intrusive and so
many of our lives that it gives those who are willing to use these tools and are willing to engage in this kind of exported behavior an in opportunity and e tools that the need to get it done. there's a great line ronald reagan always used that is similar to a line thomas jefferson used and i think it really encapsulates the mindset that we need to embrace and that is that to the extent the government can do something to you -- sorry it can do something for you it can do some into you. think about that for a second. to the extent the government can do something for you it can do something to you. and that is increasingly the experience of people in dc. how does that work quite what we give you some examples of the kind of exported behavior we are talking about and again we are not talking about everybody doing this, but we are talking about i think an increasing number of people doing this because frankly it is lucrative
but the first one is what you might call a milker bill because first of all it has nothing to do with the dairy industry. that's what you need to recognize. a milker bill is something that is introduced by a member of congress were senator and the bill isn't defined really to pass. the idea of writing the law isn't a hope that this is greatd to be good policy or change things. it's primarily introduced to milk the campaign donations or lobby contracts for family members and friends of the congressmen. for example you might introduce a bill that says we need to raise federal excise tax on large oil companies. you introduce that bill. what's going to happen when you introduce that bill? you are going to scare the daylights out of people in the business which is precisely what that bill was designed to do. they are going to come running to that office saying we are concerned about this bill. what's going on? and in the process they are
going to start making donations and they may end up hiring family members of the legislator or former aides to serve as lobbyists. the milker bill of course can be reintroduced again next year and a year after and they can become a form of extraction that takes place and corporations in the basically paying protection money. the second technique is what you might call the toll booth technique. if you are a powerful chairman of the committee were you are in leadership and this has happened under both parties, you can ease and c-charlie charge companies and individuals in order for bills to actually go from the kennedy to being voted on the floor. it can be a very lucrative technique that is used again to extract wealth from corporatio corporations. but it's not just these sort of techniques that take place. there are other ones that speak to the problems we are having in the country today. but they give you another. have you ever noticed those and
walls that are written are increasingly large and convoluted and complex and impossible to understand? glass-steagall was a bill written in the 1930s that basically reengineered or reconfigured the entire financial sector during the great depression. that bill was about 35 pages long. the latest reform change that we had was dodd frank. that was more than 2,000 pages long. and by the way that doesn't include all the rules. so it is going to probably be more than 10,000 pages long when it's done. why does it have been? why are they so large and convoluted and difficult to understand? one explanation might be the world is more complex. right-click that may be part of the explanation but i want you to start thinking about the things that happened in washington dc at least with some individuals not in terms of policy but think of it in terms of a business.
if you are in business what you want to do is create demand for your services. let me tell you what happened with dodd frank. as you can imagine it was written by in large part under the guidance and direction of individuals that work for senator dodd and for congressman barney frank. when that bill became law, this highly complex bill that nobody seemingly can understand, those staff members quit their jobs and what do they do? they went into private business charging large wall street firms and large banks, charging them enormous fees to interpret the bill they had written. think about that for a second. it's a little like saying you going to write a bill making it law and then i'm going to serve as a translator. in other words you have to pay me so you can figure out how to conform with this law. that is really what is taking
place to a large extent and that is a form of extortion. lots of companies and individuals want to comply but a lot of times they can't figure t how to comply with the law without paying a consultant. and guess what, it's designed to operate that way. perhaps the most troubling part of extortion that i've come across is what has happened in the executive branch particularly over the last four years. something unprecedented has happened in the u.s. department of justice. when president obama was elected in 2008 and organized the department of justice in 2009, he created the most politicized part of justice we had at least since the nixon administration if not before hand. and this isn't just opinion. it's a sixpack. think about this for a second. the department of justice is an entity that is the signed to interpret and enforce the law. when president obama appointed the attorney general he appointed eric holder who had
been the campaign chairman and anti-campaign bumbler a large dollar fundraiser for his election and for other senior fr spots at the department of justice also occupied by campaign bumbler's. that is unprecedented in american history. and during the last four years what you've seen in the department of justice is a centrally enforce the law in such a way as to where they go after the political opponents of the president and they lay off the political friends and supporters of the president. it's a centrally using the department of justice like the brick for this week g. man. there is statistical evidence that shows if you are a campaign contributor to this president and you are in trouble with the securities and exchange commission or the department of justice, you actually are going to suffer far fewer penalties and have less chance being prosecuted if you are a campaign
donor than if you are not. that's where we've come to the point of justice in the united states today. i think the final point to make as it relates to extortion is that the money flowing into washington dc isn't just about winning the election and re- election but certainly that is a part of it. what's happening is that increasingly the campaign funds at least for some who are running for office are being used for lifestyle subsidies and for enrichment of members of congress and they use very creative techniques and methods for doing this. as it was mentioned in the introduction, there was a special that we have on 60 minutes a couple weeks ago. i don't know if people have a chance to see that but if you want to look at the creativity that takes place, that would be a place to begin. let me give you a couple examples of things that have been done. we highlighted a congresswoman from california, congresswoman napolitano who is from los
angeles. very creative technique that she developed for self-enrichment. she ran for office in 1998 and in the midst of the first campaign, she loaned her own campaign of $150,000 cash. but she thought it would be a good idea to charge her own campaign 18% interest for that loud and she decided i'm going to wait a while. maybe i will wait 20 years before i actually pay that loan off. the end result is that she ended up with several hundreds of thousands of dollars in her pocket and interest payments that her campaign put in her pocket. and if you saw on 60 minutes she was actually confronted by steve about this fact. she informed steve dot she had to make the loan to her own campaign because as a hispanic and a woman she couldn't get a bank to make that loan to her ignoring the fact that they cannot make loans to politicians running for office.
if it is illegal according to the federal law. she then went onto explai on tot well, you know, i live in the same house and i still drive the same car so what's the big deal. and i guess the question becomes to the constituents is it a big deal? are they going to continue to re- elect an individual whose self-enrichment helps in this matter and i think that wealth probably be something that only an election will tell but the other thing that's happening is you see these vehicles like leadership pacs which perform legitimate functions but can also be used as a form of lifestyle enrichment. if you have a campaign committee like friends of peter schweizer there are restrictions what you can and can't use the money for. i couldn't take my kids to disney world in the middle of the campaign and have my committee pay for it. jesse jackson junior is in jail
today in part because he was using campaign funds for personal household items. but leadership pacs are a little bit different. you see, leadership pacs don't have, according to the fec to those kind of restructuring. so you find instances where a congressman decides to take his family to scotland and have his leadership pac pay for the entire trip. or you find other individuals who enjoy golfing so they used a leadership pac funds to purchase some of the best golfing resorts in the world. the point is when you think of money in politics and people raising money for politics it is not only just about election and reelection. sometimes with some candidates it's also about a lifestyle subsidy. the criticism i always get from people when they read my books is they get terribly depressed and angry. and i guess i just have that affect on people.
i apologize for that. you may find this hard to believe that i'm by nature an optimist because corruption in american politics is not new. we have been through this before. there are good people in washington that are trying to make a difference and doing the right thing. but i would contend to you that we need to start thinking about what goes on in washington and start coming up with ideas and reforms that tackle these problems in a different way. but just give you a couple of suggestions of things that i propose in the book that i think would be really good ideas. the first one is this is a radical concept to some. nancy pelosi said this is a ridiculous idea of a but why not simply ask our lawmakers to read the law but they are voting on before they vote on them? in other words, if you are going
to have a 2500 page bill that nobody can understand, you ought to at least make them read it. and i think that is a totally reasonable and a totally legitimate reform. and i know that there've been bills introduced to that. senator rand paul and others. i think that is an excellent idea because it would bring some clarity to highlight as others suggested the bill ought to be read out loud on the house floor before they are voted on. the second suggestion i have come and again this is a radical one but one we ought to consider. at the last 40 years as we looked at the issue of money and politics the focus has always been largely restructuring behavior of american citizens, of donors and people outside of washington dc and that's really very unusual because think about this for a second. what you're talking about when people are making campaign
donations especially voluntarily they like this candidate or this idea it is a first amendment issue as far as i'm concerned. people have the right to express the notion of who they support. there are very few restructurings on the conduct of politicians when it comes to raising money and that's not to say that all of them do so badly or do bad things but there are abuses that occur and so my thought is that the reform we ought to consider is this. why not do in washington dc what we do in the state of florida where i live and in the great state of texas they do in washington state and elsewhere and it's a very simple and radical idea and that is when the legislature is in session, politicians cannot solicit or receive campaign contributions, period. if you did that i think one of two things would happen, probably both. first of all you would feel a lot more efficient c. when
congress is in session. in other words if they are there to make the while knowing that they could not raise money at the same time, it would put them in a position to focus on lawmaking and that i think would be a good thing. the second thing that would have been as it would probably dramatically shorten the congressional sessions which i think would also be a good thing as well. they would be dirt to go and do more fund raising. and that i think would also have an effect on reducing the link or the connection in terms of what i describe as the extortion process. right now you have a situation where let's say there's an part in building for the energy committee and the night before that vote, some members of congress will literally go out and hold fundraisers on the eve of the vote. and if people don't make the right contributions or they don't make enough or generate enough enthusiasm, they may abstain. they may not vote or show up for their vote. so it puts companies and its
industries in the position where they feel like they have to make donations. why not try to separate lawmaking from money making and say money making takes place and then they could use the rest of the money accordingly. but finally, i think the ultimate solution to all of this is what i alluded to earlier. why is it that washington dc has become so fabulously wealthy? why is there so much money flowing into that city? why is there so much money to be made? fundamentally it is about one thing. it's about the size and scope of government because it is indeed true that if you give politicians the opportunity to do something for you, they can also do something to you. and what you give the political class in washington the opportunity to pick winners and losers to make businesses in one of the successful or destroy those businesses based on the regulations and policies they approach you give them the power
to extract and as long as we give them the power to extract, things in washington dc are only going to get worse. i would say thank you and take any questions that you might have. [applause] thank you. thank you. [applause] thank you. yes, questions. >> my question is though westway westerlies talks about citizens united and stephen cole there basically dedicates the show [inaudible] can you comment on the case and what should be done and how --
>> let me preface this by saying i'm not a lawyer so i don't pretend to be. but it's been established for quite some time that being able to connect your funds to political causes is a first amendment issue and the reasoning was twofold. number one, we live in the era where it's about communications and it's about television and necessarily in that kind of society if you have a first amendment right to talk about issues you care about whether it's national security or second amendment rights or the environment or whatever that that necessarily involves spending money. and i think that's true. the second point tha i would mas money in politics is as important as being able to protest because not everybody has the time and the ability to show up everywhere with a picket that they can certainly write a check. so i actually am not a critic of
citizens united. i do believe people have a first amendment right and whether it is somebody on the left or on the right, they had earned that money and they possess that money and they should be able to spend accordingly. my question would be to people who for example like a public financing of elections etc. is do they really trust incumbents, those who hold seats in congress to design a system that is not going to favor incumbents? i know that sounds terribly cynical but we know by and large people operate out of self-interest. so there is no easy solution and people who say i want to get the money out of politics where i want to delete a public financing elections those are throwaway lines that don't really offer a solution. >> you began by talking about the jimmy stewart movie
mr. smith goes to washington and i think it true we've internalized this notion of washington corruption as a matter of individuals and if only people would act better everything would be great other than the way that you presented it in the sor a sort of public e institutional notion. why do you think it is that we have this unmerited high expectation rather than think of it institutionally and why the more public choice -- >> that's a good question. i think as the government has gotten larger and there've been more opportunities -- you look for example at while being very and they have a long history in the united states but in terms of being a major industry, it's really been over the past 30 to 40 years. and i'm not an anti-lobbyist per se. people have the right to petition government and explain their positions. i think that the problem is it
has become incredibly lucrative and that is what has changed. so it's taken on a business logic all on its own. when you discuss politics i think you need to kind of discuss it the way you talk about sports. do you know any sports fans out there? if you're talking about professional sports you can talk about quarterbacks and running backs but eventually you have to look at the question of money. there is kind of the discussion about this person's contract without. we have to approach it the same way. it may sound cynical but i think it is indeed the public choice approach to this which is where is the money flowing into why is it flowing in that way? a lot of what happened in dc are individuals who are market focused in terms of the political market and trying to create demand for their services and you do that not by solving problems in dc. you do that by not solving
problems. so i think we need to follow the market incentives and you are quite right to public choice theory makes the most -- explains the most. if you look back at the 19th century certainly some of these things were in play but you didn't have the food and drug administration and health and human services and all these large government institutions handing out so much money or making vitally important decisions for huge sectors of the economy. there just wasn't as much to be gained as there is now. yes sir. i'm sorry. i wasn't even looking. please go ahead. >> i am from ucla and i thought it was funny that you brought up the great congresswoman janet napolitano. my question must be mentioned how she used to this kind of scheme to make money.
>> not related to congresswoman janet napolitano, no. >> i hurt you in the past talk abouthatthe investments that cos people make based on their policy choices and i wondered if there was any development with regard to that and whether there's been any legislation passed through on that. >> that's a great question. yes in my last book i looked at the fact that politicians were in a position where an effect they could engage in insider trading and you had members of the senate armed services committee who were deciding what the procurement is going to be of the military budget, which weapons systems are being bought and that they are free and often do trade stocks in the same defense companies. there was a study done in the journal of quantitative economics a few years ago where they looked at the stock portfolios of u.s. senators and what they found in the academic
study was that the average american underperforms the stock market with the stock investment and the hedge fund beat it by 8% a year and by 12% a year so the question was always are these guys all incredibly brilliant investors or is there something else going on and i think that we all come to the idea of we don't have to deviate that very long. basically what happened is that the book came out and a 60 minutes did an excellent story on it. there was something that gathered steam called the stock act. it's not a bill that i was a big fan of because but it basically did is said yes inside trading was illegal for members of congress. the problem is that you are counting on the securities and exchange commission to enforce this and given that congress sets their budget, the fcc commissioners get confirmed by the senate they are just not going to enforce it. i think the simpler and better
solution would be to see if you are on the senate banking committee you cannot trade bank stocks. you can't trade it in stock i think that is the better approach to take. so they passed the stock act which essentially created this new law and also expanded the disclosure may be more frequent than they have to disclose their financial transactions and it was signed by president obama with great fanfare but then something unusual happened about nine months ago. they basically gutted the bill and for those of you who think that bipartisanship is dead in washington dc, the stock proves it's not. what basically happened is that in the house it passed on a voice vote with no deviate. harry reid did the same thing in the house and president obama quietly signed it and basically gutted of the law. the answer to the question is that very little has changed. i think they are aware now that
more people are watching what they are doing so perhaps some of the more egregious stuff that we saw before is gone but it remains a problem. thank you, great question. >> my name is david cooper. i stumbled on your book one time and there's a couple of things that came to mind that were fascinated. one was the second tarp vote but failed in the house and the about these $110 million worth of bribes and 57 members swapped their vote real quick and there was another thing that came about but don't do if you wrote it in your book or not how the house or senate committee chairmanships are up for sale depending how they fund raise and a few things like that. i know congressmen have always bought bought and sold although in the 19th century they were much cheaper but because the government into the budgets and the stuff the government is responsible for now you see a lot of deviate about how much we
can tweak this program for this little piece or reduce a little bit but whether it's energy or education i think the db should be whether these programs or departments should even exist at all and you would just take the contribution corruption out of it. >> i think that is a great point. we need to have a more fundamental debate and i do think that one of the problems i talked about italk about in "exs that those republicans and democrats in the house have a system of so-called party do and they make it sound like a country club think what you've got to pay your dues in the country club. this is like a country club that you may not be interested in joining but you are going to join is basically how it works. you come into congress and you are given essentially a priceless and we print piece in the appendix in the back of the
book so for example if you want to sit on the house financial services committee come in addition to your own campaign fund raising, you have to raise in that cycle have a million dollars to go to the party committee. if you sit on that committee and you don't raise that money and you consistently don't make that mark, they will threaten and take you off that committee. i naïvely thought you'd get elected to congress and you're an attorney or banker and dwelling upon the judiciary -- exactly, but it's not. there's a price tag associated with it. and again that is an example where, you know, political consultants have put members of congress in a bind and the problem is that several members of congress have told me to pay those party dues you don't go back to your constituents in ohio and say i need to raise money for party dues can you make a donation?
>> my question is pertaining to the third solution to this extortion in washington which is basically no fund raising while congress is in session and i wanted to ask even though they wouldn't be allowed to fund raise during the session it wouldn't necessarily stop backroom deals doing fundraising so how would it solve the extortion problem? they might just have more excellent than in fees from the lobby to make sure that they will keep their word when congress isn't in session. >> you bring up a good point. there is no silver bullet that is when to fix the problem. the experience in florida and texas and washington state and others, when you talk to the people of the chamber of commerce they will say it helps because it gets rid of that
immediate pressure. right now they get phone calls in washington right as a bill is being brought up to the committee. and it's like you better put up. they will literally walk from the floor of the house, go out to the steps on the house on a cell phone and do dialing for dollars as the vote is about to take place. so it will certainly eliminate those kind of situations but you're right it's not going to get rid of all of it. i don't think we will have a system that ever will get rid of all of it but if we can at least try to mitigate and separate it to some extent, we can get rid of more of the extreme forms. >> mark downing from mississippi college. i have a simple question with a simple answer. basically you have interesting research and have written books with research. have you ever thought about doing any documentaries were making a movie possibly with it quick.
>> that's a great question. i've been involved in some documentaries. there is a documentary here that the foundation has available. it's called the conservatives, which talks about conservative philosophy. there's also the documentary that i was involved in called in the face of evil which is about ronald reagan blank successful execution of the cold war and winning the cold war which i think the foundation may have copies of -- to campaign finance. i have not done that recently. i've done certainly something -- the minutes and others but doing a documentary myself, know i have not but it's a good idea. >> you mentioned all this stuff going on, all of the corruptions of to speak. why hasn't the media exposed it and what are the people doing to respond to that?
you for ten bucks on these and it's making people upset and angry and frustrated and reasonably so. so why isn't the media covering it and if they were with the people be responsive enough to ensure that it wouldn't have been? >> that's a great question. there are some people in the media covering aspects of this but i think there's a couple things working against them. one is that there is a cultural mindset in dc and if you are in immediate there are a couple of hurdles that you have to get over. one of them as you are so much involved in the immediacy of what's going on its artistic back sometimes and this is kind of a story you need to be able to think through and look through the different trees and branches into that just takes time and a lot of the reporters in dc don't have the time to do that because they are chasing the story of the day.
the second problem is that some journalists rely on people in powerful positions further stories. they don't want to offend people in power because they might not get that interview that's going to help their position so it's basically changes them from watchdogs into lapdogs. they don't want to offend people for the fear of doing this. and the third part of the biggest cultural. i have this experience there is a gentle and who i won't give the name. he probably wouldn't mind if i did but i won't. i had a conversation with somebody that is on television very frequently. i was talking to him about a year ago he said i like your books but i could never write a. he said these people are my neighbors. my kids hang out with their kids. so if you were part of the washington culture it's hard to
do that so those are all factors that have sort of lead the media. there are some very good reporters out there but they don't have the opportunity to drill down in a way that i enjoy doing so much. it's good to see you. i have a quick question for you building off of what he said. in general as we have seen with people voting to increase their salaries and benefits and all kinds of wonderful things that make us smile at the end of the day and take medication i have a question for you and that is on a large scale have two hold
people accountable. >> doinfundraisingdoing fundrair different periods of time and having things more straightforward and to the point but also getting to the point that we actually have agencies that were people whether it's in the media that actually are addressing keeping people accountable because it almost seems at the point now maybe it is a lot of people in this country. people will agree with us on the fact that there is a lot of unethical behavior and if they hear that we can inspire them to realize that these people are not as beautiful as they may seem. my question is how do we keep that in check for the future generation in decades to come into office suite don't have to
keep reinventing the wheel and try to solve problems that we already solved. >> that is a good question. the focus needs to be where washington dc is in terms of its size and scope. i keep returning to that but i do think that this i take of the human nature that's pretty basic and that is that people are people. there are good people and bad people that operate in a sector that operate in the governance. they throw the weight of ground to gain the benefit and people are going to do that. it's just going to be a problem. i focus less on this person is bad and that person is bad and focus on the fact that the notion of having a large powerful and intrusive government this way yo you're asking for trouble. ..
>> yes, sir? >> hello, i am jule and one of my solutions, you said, it would be to not allow them to be on the the committee thereon. a while later on that, they could trade information with one other person and one is on health care and the other is part of that information and you can profit off each other's information. so is there anyway that there would be to pontificate that? >> no, that is a very good point. i mean, there are a couple of
proposals that i mentioned and that is certainly one of them. the other one that i proposed is why not have members of congress that their assets in a blind trust and a lot of people think that they do but they don't. and a lot of people publicly said, and i'm thinking in this case that senator john kerry. when my book came out i noted that john kerry was intimately involved in directing the affordable care act. and regulating or redefining this large part of our economy and at the same time he was doing this and his stock portfolio was flipping health care stocks to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars and his office has said that their assets are in a blind trust. and again, it is not perfect. there are ways around that. and i think that what we have to realize is that there is not going to be any kind of solution
that is going to work perfect. people could exchange information based on these assignments. but i think we have to look for ways to make it more difficult for people to engage in this kind of self-enrichment. and it is a mystery to a lot of people, but we are starting to understand. why is it that you have some individuals that are middle-class. and after 15 years of public service, they are multimillionaires. it happens because they come up with creative ways to make part of their own ends. we can't change human nature, but we can try to change the policies worry make that a lot more difficult. and with that, i will say thank you and enjoy the weekend. [applause] [a