Dark Money: How Anonymous Contributions Are Influencing Political Campaigns in the U.S. with Terry Goddard
Play • 55 min

In this episode of The Optimistic American, Paul Johnson welcomes former Phoenix Mayor and past Attorney General of Arizona Terry Goddard to talk about dark money and the key role it plays in political campaigns.

They discuss what dark money is all about, how it’s influencing political campaigns and the ongoing efforts to get rid of it.

  • Paul Johnson shares his thoughts about being optimistic. It doesn’t mean that you don’t recognize that there are problems and challenges. Paul has always been a believer in this: the people who are going to solve our problems are those who think they can.
  • Paul and Terry Goddard discuss the role of dark money within politics and its repercussions on political campaigns.
  • Amygdala Hijack is a process that can play a crucial role in politics – Paul and Terry unpack the concept and talk about what it can lead to.
  • Many people don’t want to have anything to do with politics because “all politicians are sleazy and corrupt”. Paul and Terry go over where this line of thinking and the American voters’ problem actually come from.
  • ‘Politicians use a similar trick that cartels use’, says Terry Goddard. He explains what this actually means and how dark money and money laundering are very similar in that respect.
  • Paul and Terry go over what Terry is proposing in order to address dark money in Arizona.
  • For Paul, if people want the political system to work, it needs to be approached like an industry where people need and receive accurate information to be able to make a judgment.
  • Paul and Terry discuss the arguments that the challengers of Terry’s efforts against dark money are going to make.
  • Terry shares his advice for people who are thinking about running for office.


Mentioned in This Episode:

The Disclosure Initiative

Citizens United

Koch Brothers

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Anthony Kennedy

The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy by Katherine M. Gehl & Michael E. Porter

Securities and Exchange Commission

Dark Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

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