I’m recommending Dark Money, by Jane Mayer. Scary business how capital moves undercover in the US, influencing politics and so much more. The vampire grandmas are trying to figure it out. An exercise in frustration. Here’s what one vampire grandma says in the midst of research on dark money:
Oh my Vlad, this is complicated, yelled Berry. She was by herself and it helped to yell when she was frustrated, though Ruth Leslie told her yelling was not a viable strategy for stress management. But this puzzle was too much for her. There were shell companies inside shell companies on top of shell companies, beside shell companies with secret tunnels of money connecting them. There were shell companies hidden under shell companies and temporarily stuck to other shell companies, cobbed up fast at weird angles to get the huge hunks of money from here to there and then erased without a trace. There were shell companies perforated by other shell companies attached with delicate invisible filaments or big fat funnels.
There were handwritten ledgers and suitcases of anonymous money and gifts to children and hush-hush transfers and instant emptyings from the accounts of dictators and billionaires. Berry could almost hear the whispering in private, gold-plated suites. A lot of secret handshakes and steely code. A lot of international wire transfers—zip! A lot of luxury cars, real estate, art, antiques, watches, and expensive suits. A lot of brown-nosed lawyers embroidering the raw edge of the legal.
“Oh, this is awful,” moaned Berry. The brainstorm was giving her an electric headache. She called Ruth Leslie, but got only the voicemail robot. Berry yelled into her track phone: “I can’t figure this out. Help!” But she knew Ruth Leslie would say, “Help is NOT on the way. Help yourself. Keep working.” Okay then, thought Berry. She settled back down with the shadowy emails, the long lists of transactions back and forth among the shells, the photocopies of unlabeled documents, all Ruth Leslie’s minute research on G.D. Development and her find in Max Spender’s briefcase. Berry read and reread the documents, excel spreadsheets, and reports until she was ready to make a bonfire of the whole pile out on the lawn with the dog poo. She opened the window to throw the papers out. A rush of night air blasted her, and there was the full moon. She felt better.