Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, August 6, 2014:
The American political landscape has been revolutionized in the past five years. The Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 and other court rulings have resulted in staggering amounts of money being spent on political campaigns and causes.
Just as an example -- so-called super PACS, wealthy individuals, corporations, unions and others combined to spend $2.5 billion during the 2012 election campaign. The Democratic and Republican parties poured $1.6 billion into campaigns. Outspending the two major parties during an election cycle was unheard up until then.
Voters have seen what all that money has paid for -- one television commercial after another advocating for one candidate over another or more than likely -- attacking a candidate.
Politico investigative reporter Kenneth Vogel outlines the new political realities in his book Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp -- on the Trail of the Ultra Rich Hijacking American Politics. Vogel appears on Wednesday's Smart Talk to tell stories of the billionaires and political consultants who are funding political campaigns today.
Vogel's book reads like a spy novel as he describes trying to sneak into meetings where big donors are being solicited.
One person mentioned in the book is California businessman Tom Steyer who is behind a group paying for an attack ad airing across Pennsylvania against current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
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