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Extended Audio Sample The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins, by Jeff Connaughton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (39 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeff Connaughton Narrator: Jeff Connaughton Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Beginning in January 2009, The Payoff lays bare Washington’s culture of power and plutocracy. It’s the story of the twenty-month struggle by Senator Ted Kaufman and Jeff Connaughton, his chief of staff, to hold Wall Street executives accountable for securities fraud, stop stock manipulation by high-frequency traders, and break up too-big-to-fail megabanks. This book takes us inside their dogged crusade against institutional inertia and industry influence as they encounter an outright reluctance by the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to treat Wall Street crimes with the gravity they deserve. On financial reforms, Connaughton criticizes Democrats for relying on the very Wall Street technocrats who had failed to prevent the crisis and Republicans for staunchly opposing real reforms, primarily to enjoy a golden opportunity to siphon fundraising dollars from the Wall Street executives who had raised millions to elect Barack Obama president.

Connaughton, a former lawyer in the Clinton White House, illuminates the pivotal moments and key decisions in the fight for financial reform that have gone largely unreported. His arch, nonpartisan account chronicles the reasons why Wall Street’s worst offenses were left unpunished—and why it’s likely that the 2008 debacle will happen again.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compelling account of how the financial lobby works.”

    New York Times

  • “If you feel like justice was thwarted during the financial crisis, if you feel like the market’s been rigged for the insiders and there’s no check on it, you’ve got an ally in Jeff Connaughton…An insider’s guide to what’s gone wrong in Washington, by somebody who made millions as a professional insider.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “The great mystery story in American politics these days is why, over the course of two presidential administrations (one from each party), there’s been no serious federal criminal investigation of Wall Street during a period of what appears to be epic corruption. People on the outside have speculated and come up with dozens of possible reasons, some plausible, some tending toward the conspiratorial—but there have been very few who’ve come at the issue from the inside. We get one of those rare inside accounts in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins…[from] one of the few voices on the Hill who always talked about the subject with appropriate alarm.”

    Rolling Stone

  • “Jeff Connaughton has a new job: truth teller. The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins is a memoir and more…A must read if you’re interested in the corrupting influence of lobbyists, the revolving door between Wall Street and those that govern and regulate the financial services industry, and how huge, and ultimately untraceable, amounts of money grease the wheels of government at every step…Full of revealing quotes and anecdotes that describe a messy, self-serving, and sometimes ruthless political process.”

    Forbes online

  • “A new powerful voice who knows how big banks really work and who is willing to tell the truth in great and convincing detail…A page-turning memoir that is also a damning critique of how Wall Street operates, the political capture of Washington, and our collective failure to reform finance in the past four years. The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins is the perfect antidote to disinformation put about by global megabanks and their friends.”

    Huffington Post

  • “This is the most honest book I’ve read about Washington in years. It really tells it like it is.”

    Andrew Cockburn, author and journalist

  • “Anyone interested in how Washington works will find The Payoff impossible to put down.”

    Businessweek

  • “Those interested in understanding the mindset of the people who should be leading the anticorruption charge ought to read this book…It’s scary and definitely worth a read.”

    Rolling Stone

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bob Young | 7/30/2013

    " Depressing book...short and informative perspective from a guy you never heard of, working for a Senator who had no reason NOT to tick people off in the financial racket...but nothing much came of it... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elena | 5/31/2013

    " THIS BOOK WAS SO FUCKING DEPRESSING JESUS CHRIST. Incredibly informative, though. My only complaint is the author is obsessed with Biden not loving him and that damages the book considerably - otherwise it'd have five stars. For a comprehensive look at why government is failing us, read this book. "

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About the Author

Jeff Connaughton holds an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago and a JD from Stanford Law School. He worked for four years as an investment banker, first at Smith Barney and then at E. F. Hutton. In 1987 he joined Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as deputy national finance director and thereafter became his special assistant when Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. After graduating from Stanford, he clerked for Chief Judge Abner Mikva of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit then followed Mikva as his special assistant when Mikva was appointed counsel to President Bill Clinton. In 2000, along with Jack Quinn and Ed Gillespie, Connaughton founded Quinn Gillespie & Associates, one of DC’s premier lobbying firms. Now retired from politics, he lives in Savannah, Georgia.