Raw footage shot for the award-winning series The 90's. This tape begins with interviews with Larry Makinson and Joshua Goldstein of the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that tracks the money that is donated to members of Congress. It is followed by interviews with teenage skateboarders about the 1992 presidential election; an interview with 8th grader Erika Becker; video of a senate subcommittee hearing on the Iran-Contra affair; and video of journalist Mike Waldman inviting congressmen to a party.
0:05Copy video clip URL Geographic Information System of campaign finance contributions for 1990. Larry Makinson, research director at the Center for Responsive Politics, shows videomaker Eddie Becker the sources of campaign contributions by city. He references the original Open Secrets reference book for political donations. They discuss the nature of Political Action Committees (PACs) and how they influence America’s democratic process.
5:44Copy video clip URL He says that the insurance industry as the number one contributor which targeted specific committees.
12:06Copy video clip URL Makinson describes election day as ratification day, since voters are merely ratifying the candidates chosen by corporate interests on the ballot.
17:19Copy video clip URL Video skips and audio cuts out. Makinson talks about different patterns between PACs that fund Democrats and PACs that fund Republicans.
25:12Copy video clip URL Makinson talks about independent expenditures and the infamous Willy Horton ad, paid for by a PAC. He then talks about the Auto Dealers and Drivers for Free Trade PAC.
27:42Copy video clip URL Makinson talks about “soft money,” which is the name of a loophole in campaign law that says that we need to strengthen political parties. If someone gives money for “party building activities” they do not need to record the money.
30:18Copy video clip URL Becker speaks with the project director of the Open Secrets initiative on soft money, Joshua Goldstein. He talks about the history of soft money.
36:00Copy video clip URL Goldstein shows Becker a bar graph showing the sources of $43,500,000 in soft money campaign contributions. He found that the Democratic party received $1,000,000 more in contributions from business over organized labor.
42:26Copy video clip URL They discuss the difficulties in uncovering undisclosed information.
45:42Copy video clip URL Goldstein defines democracy: “Having the right to vote and hoping that your people will win.” He says he has become cynical during the research process.
48:09Copy video clip URL Back to Makinson. He defines what democracy means to him: “When voters go to the polls they have a real choice…”
53:39Copy video clip URL Cut to a group of teenage skateboarders. They talk about who they’d like to see as president.
1:01:22Copy video clip URL Cut to a POW/MIA veterans informational tent in Washington D.C. Cut to various other people in Virginia talking about who they want to see as the next president.
1:05:51Copy video clip URL Cut to an interview with Becker’s daughter, Erika. They talk about growing older and how she likes being in 8th grade. She was featured on an earlier episode of The 90’s discussing her cerebral palsy.
1:10:39Copy video clip URL She talks about having cerebral palsy.
1:14:47Copy video clip URL Becker asks her what time is.
1:20:08Copy video clip URL She talks about giving her life for someone else and what happens to people when they die. Becker asks her what the reason for living is. She does not know.
1:24:11Copy video clip URL She says she wants to be a doctor. They talk about the Gulf War.
1:28:45Copy video clip URL They talk about her learning disability, dyslexia.
1:29:47Copy video clip URL Video cuts.
1:30:15Copy video clip URL Back to Erika.
1:30:33Copy video clip URL Cut to inside a closet or small warehouse. Cut to inside a press room for a senate subcommittee hearing. Becker interviews Larry Bensky, journalist for Iran Contra affair. Becker records the crowd at the hearing. Audio of the interview.
1:36:02Copy video clip URL Video cuts.
1:36:07Copy video clip URL Cut to a journalist, Myron S. “Mike” Waldman, in the Newsday office in the Capitol building. He calls various congressmen and politicians to confirm that they’ve received his book party invitations.
1:54:54Copy video clip URL Waldman describes the political significance of unemployment. He mentions Congressman Dan Rostenkowski as an important political agent for the fight against unemployment.
2:01:53Copy video clip URL End of tape.