April 24, 2017


In Professor David Schoenbrod’s new book DC CONFIDENTIAL: Insidethe Five Tricks of Washington, he asserts that in the 1960s, elected officials in Congress and the White House figured out a system for enacting laws and spending programs—one that lets them take the credit for promising good news while avoiding the blame for producing bad results. He argues that with five key tricks, politicians of both parties now avoid accounting to the people for what the government does. The result is a vicious cycle of grand promises and budget gimmicks by elected officials, failed policies, blame-shifting by politicians, and spiraling distrust of a government too dysfunctional and unaccountable to solve major problems. The book contends that the ground rules of government must change so that elected officials will once again shoulder responsibility for results. Schoenbrod also offers a practical action plan for reform including a legislative solution—the “Honest Deal Act”—which would change incentives and fundamentally reform government procedures.

This program was held at the Rayburn House Office Building on April 19, 2017.


  • Honorable Martin Frost, Former Congressman, Vice-President, U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress
  • Professor David Schoenbrod, Trustee Professor of Law, New York Law School
  • Professor Adam White, Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution and Adjunct Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC

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