‘Filthy Rich Politicians’ Explains Why Regular Americans Are Fed Up With Their Corrupt Elite Overlords

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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America’s politicians have always been richer than the people they govern — the current crop in Washington, D.C. is just a lot worse at hiding it than their predecessors were.

That’s one of the key thrusts of “Filthy Rich Politicians: The Swamp Creatures, Latte Liberals, and Ruling-Class Elites Cashing In On America,” a new book out from conservative journalist Matt K. Lewis via Hachette Book Group. American institutions being run by the wealthy and well-connected isn’t unique to the 21st century, Lewis argues, but the brazen way in which the rich are getting richer and the common man is being left behind is fomenting a new wave of class-consciousness and resentment toward Washington.

At first glance, one could ask why Americans need another book decrying the “coastal elites” and Ivy-educated politicians who are now often blamed for modern society’s shortcomings. Journalists and political commentators spanning the entire ideological spectrum, from Tucker Carlson to Glenn Greenwald to Ezra Klein (all of whom either blurbed this book or are quoted in it), have outlined for years how the class divide in America is growing wider and wider and have offered various proposals for solving the problem.

Lewis’ work goes a step beyond identifying the problem, though unlike many others he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers either. What “Filthy Rich Politicians” does do is break down the institutional forces and rational interests at work that lead Americans to keep electing rich people to govern them, and how those rich people somehow keep getting astronomically richer once they get to the nation’s capital.

The book begins by dispelling the notion that this is a new phenomenon. George Washington owned hundreds of slaves and died with what would be an eight-figure net worth in today’s money. Andrew Jackson parlayed the expulsion of Native Americans from their homelands into wealth as a real estate tycoon. John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign was bankrolled by his daddy’s money. As Lewis explains, America’s rulers, from its very birth through Donald J. Trump and Joe Biden, have always been disproportionately rich and taken advantage of familial perks.

Our founding fathers, though, had a key quality that separated them from modern politicians. “They risked their fortunes for America,” Lewis writes. “Today, it feels like our politicians are more interested in guaranteeing their fortunes and fame in America.” (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Flees The Podium After Being Asked About Her Husband’s Stock Trades)

There are a number of reasons explained in the book for why Americans, increasingly aware of this disconnect with their ruling class, continue to elect rich people more often than their more ordinary peers. It’s hard to run for Congress if you don’t have a large amount of disposable time and income, voters aren’t often swayed by arguments that focus solely on a candidate’s wealth and candidates who are well-connected and can raise lots of money have a much higher chance of winning elections. Lewis goes over an amusing list of the richest members of Congress and how they made their fortunes before joining the People’s House.

But the bigger problem, as far as Lewis is concerned, is that politicians almost always get far richer once they’re in office. This is where “Filthy Rich Politicians” does its most valuable work.

The average American has a rough idea of why corrupt politicians hoard more and more wealth. They see stories about Nancy Pelosi’s stock trading, Hunter Biden’s business calls or Jared Kushner’s real estate deals, and puzzle pieces begin to fit together. It intuitively makes sense that the people writing the laws, and those close to them, are going to get an unfair advantage over everyone else.

But Lewis dives into the details of how that sausage is made. From the reason why seemingly every politician gets a book deal, to why nobody has been able to stop the Pelosis from making bank on the stock market, to how political candidates can get richer by loaning their own campaigns money, “Filthy Rich Politicians” gives readers the powerful knowledge of just exactly how the ruling class is abusing the system.

Because it explains those things, and goes on to detail how those elites are flaunting their fortunes in ways their forefathers never did, “Filthy Rich Politicians” is a must-read for anyone who identifies with the new wave of economic populism.


Matt Lewis is a conservative columnist for The Daily Beast and regular panelist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He has previously written for the Daily Caller, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, GQ and Politico.