Politicians often come into office with relatively modest assets. As investors, they regularly beat the market and sometimes beat the most rapacious hedge funds. Even without making stock trades, they often retire rich. How do they do it?
Billionaires and hedge fund managers often make well-timed investment decisions that anticipate events in Washington. How do they do it?
When such former politicians and federal appointees as Al Gore, Dan Quayle, and Madeleine Albright decide to launch investment funds, wealthy clients sign up. Why?
Welcome to the insidious world of crony capitalism.
Cronyism exists not so much as outright bribery, using suitcases full of cash, but rather in accepted insider routes to wealth: Members of Congress trade stocks based on privileged information. They insert earmarks into bills to improve their own real estate holdings. Campaign contributors receive billions in federal grants. Nobody goes to jail.
Crony capitalism transcends party lines and has become a big business hidden in plain sight. Using personal financial information, government databases, and a team of indefatigable researchers, Peter Schweizer shines a light into the darkest corners of the system — and offers ways to overcome it. It is time to clean house.