The Billionaire Bandits Behind Paul Ryan

Author Greg Palast follows the money trail leading up to Paul Ryan’s nomination.

Roger Bybee

Greg Palast sees corporate strings behind Paul Ryan. (Photo by Mel Brown /

At the pro­gres­sive Fight­ing Bob Fest in Madi­son, Wisc., ear­li­er this month, one of the most elec­tri­fy­ing speech­es was deliv­ered by BBC inves­tiga­tive reporter Greg Palast, author of the new Bil­lion­aires and Bal­lot Ban­dits. After call­ing for sol­i­dar­i­ty with then-strik­ing Chica­go teach­ers fac­ing the pri­va­ti­za­tion efforts of May­or Rahm­ney,” as Palast called Rahm Emanuel, the jour­nal­ist turned his guns on Wis­con­sin prod­uct Paul Ryan–Romney’s youth­ful and hard-Right vice-pres­i­den­tial candidate.

“The top 1% knows that they can’t out-vote the 99%, that they don’t stand a chance. So they are out to steal the votes.”

Accord­ing to Palast, Rom­ney picked Ryan at the request of one of their most impor­tant donors, Paul Singer, a hedge fund man­ag­er lit­er­al­ly known in the indus­try as The Vulture.’”

Singer has acquired this nick­name from such capers as a law­suit, detailed in Palast’s new book, aimed at seiz­ing $400 mil­lion intend­ed for cholera treat­ment in the Con­go, a maneu­ver that the UK, Ger­many and Hol­land all declared ille­gal. Singer is seen over­seas as an inter­na­tion­al out­law, but here in the U.S. he’s a job cre­ator,’” declared Palast.

Then Palast zeroed in on Ryan (see here, here, and here), who has been a major recip­i­ent of cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Singer (and from oth­er Wall Street inter­ests such as Gold­man Sachs.) Palast not­ed how Ryan loud­ly denounced the bank TARP bailout and the auto indus­try bailouts, to the delight of his Tea Par­ty base, but then wound up vot­ing for them, to the glee of Wall Street con­trib­u­tors like Singer and Gold­man. Singer ben­e­fit­ed huge­ly from the auto bailout, where he man­aged to buy out the only steer­ing-col­umn fac­to­ry in North Amer­i­ca and make a 3,000 per­cent prof­it. The auto bailout team ini­tial­ly resist­ed the out­ra­geous amount Singer want­ed, but he had the indus­try by the ball bear­ings,” quipped Palast.

Palast first gained major stature as an inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist in the Unit­ed States with his doc­u­men­ta­tion of how Flori­da Repub­li­cans swayed the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion by using a com­put­er­ized sys­tem to dis­en­fran­chise an esti­mat­ed 94,000 African Amer­i­cans, false­ly clas­si­fy­ing them as con­vict­ed felons.

Now, he warns about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the 2012 elec­tion being stolen by a new round of Repub­li­can chi­canery. Palast not­ed the restric­tive vot­er ID” laws spread­ing across the US to lim­it vot­ing by major­i­ty-Demo­c­ra­t­ic groups such as African Amer­i­cans. He also high­light­ed the incred­i­ble pow­er of con­ser­v­a­tive Super PACS now that Cit­i­zens Unit­ed has opened the flood­gates to out­side fund­ing, with Karl Rove’s well-fund­ed Cross­roads GPS pos­ing one of the biggest threats.

Palast warned: The top 1% knows that they can’t out-vote the 99%, that they don’t stand a chance. So they are out to steal the votes.”


Roger Bybee is a Mil­wau­kee-based free­lance writer and Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor in Labor Edu­ca­tion.Roger’s work has appeared in numer­ous nation­al pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing Z mag­a­zine, Dol­lars & Sense, The Pro­gres­sive, Pro­gres­sive Pop­ulist, Huff­in­g­ton Post, The Amer­i­can Prospect, Yes! and For­eign Pol­i­cy in Focus.More of his work can be found at zcom​mu​ni​ca​tions​.org/​z​s​p​a​c​e​/​r​o​g​e​r​d​bybee.
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