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Billionaires’ influence on politics not just an American phenomenon

Watch an online exclusive from senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s interview with Darrell West, author of the new book, “Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust.”

Darrell West, the vice president and director of Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, has a new book that examines the increasing political activism of very rich donors. PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown sat down with West this week to discuss the book, “Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust.”

In a conversation that will air on tonight’s NewsHour, West talked about well-known billionaires, such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Charles and David Koch, who spend large amounts of money on campaign ads and direct donations to candidates.

It’s not just an American phenomenon, he said, in the interview above, an online exclusive. He points to Italy, for example, where Silvio Berlusconi, one of the world’s richest people, funneled huge amounts of his own money into his campaigns.

Tune in to tonight’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour for the rest of Jeffrey’s interview with Darrell West. You can watch on our Ustream Channel at 6 p.m. EDT or check your local listings.

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