Journalist Jane Mayer On Charles And David Koch's Influence, And 'Dark Money' In Politics

Aug 25, 2016

Central to the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders was a critique of the role of money in politics, especially large donations from wealthy individuals to help candidates who support their policies or principles.

Clearly, millions of people agree with Sanders and supported him, yet more and more money – including "dark money" from undisclosed donors – is pouring into politics in the hope of influencing elections.

The New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer spent a number of years researching the sources and impact of this money. She writes about it in her book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

"I mean, I think what's good for people is to be smart consumers in politics, as in other areas, and ... pick up the rock and see who's funding that argument you're listening to," Mayer said on Vermont Edition on Thursday.

Jane Mayer, author of "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," spoke to Vermont Edition about the influence of Charles and David Koch on American politics.
Credit Courtesy of Doubleday

On the program, Mayer primarily talked about the influence and impact of wealthy brothers Charles and David Koch on American politics.

She also commented on the prospect of there being a change to the current system.

"I think this year we've seen huge disgust nationally [from] both the left and the right against the idea that a few of the richest people in the country will control our political elections," Mayer said. "That's why Bernie's been popular, and in a way, it's why Trump's popular. I think there's a kind of a rebellion taking place, and if that can be channeled in a positive way towards reform, I think there will be reform."

The full interview with Mayer from Vermont Edition can be heard above. She will lead a discussion about the 2016 election at the Weathersfield Center Meetinghouse in Weathersfield on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m.