This episode aired on June 15, 2012.
"Let's face it," the founder of a super PAC recently told Mother Jones magazine. "Politics in this country is coin-operated." True enough, as evidenced by the billions projected to be spent in this year's elections -- untold amounts of it unleashed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. Even with all that money being cashed in, the busy check-writers and the influence they purchase remain largely hidden, including those who helped Republican Governor Scott Walker dramatically out-fundraise his Democratic challenger to win last week's recall election.
While much of the mainstream media looks the other way, some are working hard to identify the fingerprints super PACs and their benefactors leave on our victimized democracy.
On this week's Moyers & Company, Bill talks with historian Thomas Frank, author of the bestseller What's the Matter With Kansas?, about the power of concentrated money to subvert democracy. How does a society built on democratic ideals allow them to become so corrupted? Frank's most recent book is Pity the Billionaire.
Bill also talks to Mother Jones editors Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein, who continue to throw light on what they call "dark money" -- the conspiracy of cash that allows the rich to influence our most fundamental political freedoms. On the show, Bill calls out some of the biggest super PAC donors, revealing how easy it is for the wealthy one percent to sway an election.
Finally, as his grandson graduates from high school, Bill reflects on what we're leaving the next generation of Americans: a country mired in debt and inequality, and controlled in large part by Wall Street insiders and Washington hucksters.
Bill Moyers (now retired) hosted a weekly hour of compelling conversation about the state of American democracy, featuring a range of scholars, activists, scientists, and newsmakers.