The Schweizer Effect

HE’S DONE IT again (Peter Schweizer of course), and so have they (60 Minutes that is).  On Sunday, the latter ran a 13-minute segment on the conservative author’s latest book, Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets.  The piece covered the first and last of this triad, centering on the use of Leadership PACs as political slush funds.  And while it is both entertaining and informative – a combination television lacks more by the day – it could also have an impact on policy. Last time Schweizer wrote a book, it too was covered by 60 Minutes, directly resulting in passage of the STOCK Act.

How can one small story be so influential?  Timing helps: 60 Minutes airs immediately after professional football on Sundays and is advertised throughout the preceding game.  Public approval of Congress is also exceedingly low in the wake of an avoidable shutdown, rendering front offices especially vulnerable to constituent fury.  Execution is also key, and this story seems to strike the perfect pitch of indignation, the kind of indignation that would actuate a blizzard of calls to Congress.  Hopefully it works.

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