Review of Dark Money

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  • Controversial
  • Background
  • Engaging


In January 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as president of the United States on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Also in January 2009, as New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer reports, a different gathering took place at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort near Palm Springs, California: Billionaire Charles Koch brought together a group of affluent conservatives. Over the course of a two-term Republican presidency, Mayer explains, these wealthy conservatives had exerted considerable influence over tax and regulatory laws, and had amassed enormous wealth. They feared that the new administration represented an “end of a political order,” and they planned to use their wealth to pursue a politics that promoted their interests. Mayer meticulously traces how a small group of extremely wealthy investors put a stranglehold on American politics and continued to enrich themselves. While it may provoke controversy and disagreement, Mayer’s detailed report will rivet anyone concerned with how the self-interest of a wealthy few can shape United States economic policy – and history itself. 

About the Author

Jane Mayer, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is also the author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.


A Convention for Conservative Investors

In January 2009, Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration brought the sense that a political sea-change had placed Democrats into power indefinitely.

That same month, award-winning journalist and New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer reports, a different gathering took place at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells, California. With invitations from billionaire Charles Koch of Koch Industries, the guests included extremely wealthy conservative media executives, politicians, political players, writers and editors. Their host invited them to open their wallets to thwart the legislative agenda of the newly elected president.

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