With its barbecues, new Cadillacs, and $4,000 snakeskin cowboy boots, Texas is all about power and money -- and the power that money buys. This detailed and wide-scope account shows how a group of wealthy Texas Republicans quietly hijacked American politics for their own gain.
Getting George W. Bush elected, we learn, was just the tip of the iceberg....
In Follow the Money, award-winning journalist and sixth-generation Texan John Anderson shows how power in Texas has long been vested in the interconnected worlds of Houston's global energy companies, banks, and law firms -- not least among them Baker Botts, the firm controlled by none other than James A. Baker III, the Bush family consigliere. Anderson explains how the Texas political system came to be controlled by a sophisticated, well-funded group of conservative Republicans who, after elevating George W. Bush to the American presidency, went about applying their hardball, high-dollar politicking to Washington, D.C.
When George Bush reached the White House, he brought with him not only members of the Texas legal establishment (among them former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales) but empowered swarms of Republican lobbyists who saw in Bush's arrival a way to make both common cause and big money.
Another important Beltway Texan was Congressman Tom DeLay, the famous "Exterminator" of Houston's Twenty-second District, who became majority leader in 2003 and controlled which bills made it through Congress and which did not. DeLay, in turn, was linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who used his relationships with both DeLay and Karl Rove on behalf of his clients, creating a shockingly corrupt flow of millions of dollars among Republican lobby groups and political action committees. Washington soon became infected by Texas-style politics. Influence-peddling, deal-making, and money-laundering followed -- much of it accomplished in the capital's toniest restaurants or on the fairways and beaches of luxurious resorts, away from the public eye.
The damaging fallout has, one way or another, touched nearly all Americans, Democrat and Republican alike. Follow the Money reveals the hidden web of influence that links George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the Texas Republicans to the 2000 recount in Florida; the national tort-reform movement; the controversial late-hour, one-vote passage of the Medicare Reform Act; congressional redistricting schemes; scandals in the energy sector; the destruction of basic constitutional protections; the financial machinery of the Christian right; the manipulation of American-Indian tribe casinos; the Iraq War torture scandals; the crooked management of the Department of the Interior; the composition of the Supreme Court; and the 2007 purges of seasoned prosecutors in the Justice Department.
Some of the actors are in federal prison, others are on their way there, and many more have successfully eluded a day of reckoning.
Told with verve, style, and a not-so-occasional raised eyebrow, Anderson's account arcs directly into tomorrow's headlines. Startling in its revelations, Follow the Money is sure to spark controversy and much-needed debate concerning which direction this country goes next.
Those looking to catch a glimpse of the past, present and future of America would do well to visit Houston, Texas. It's there, amid the sprawl of highways, strip malls and looming glass towers, that journalist and native Texan Anderson (Art Held Hostage) finds the nexus of money, power and politics that gave birth to the presidency of George W. Bush. Weaving together a narrative almost as vast and interconnected as the city of Houston itself, Anderson has a style and pace that make his accounts of men, money and scandal a real page-turner. From "Casino" Jack Abramoff and Tom "The Bug Man" Delay to the Enron collapse to the Alberto Gonzales Eight, Anderson enumerates considerable examples of fraud and atavistic behavior. Using primary sources (including private emails) and making use of Bush-era reportage, Anderson penetrates the Texas political scene and its outposts in Washington, producing a vivid portrait of a movement for which the Bush family is merely the most visible part.