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Congressman Ken Buck’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ book about Washington corruption hits the stands

Author: Ernest Luning - April 11, 2017 - Updated: April 11, 2017

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U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, talks about his new book "Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think," which publishes this week, at a book-launch event on Monday, April 10, 2017, at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, talks about his new book “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think,” which publishes this week, at a book-launch event on Monday, April 10, 2017, at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck goes behind the scenes and names names in his new book, “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think,” and on Tuesday readers got to see what all the fuss is about.

The Windsor Republican discussed the book Monday night at a book-release launch event at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, where more than 100 friends and supporters of the second-term Republican eagerly snapped up copies.

It’s being released nationwide by conservative publishing house Regnery Publishing, and on its first day of publication it was already topping online bestseller lists.

Jeff Hunt, president of CCU’s Centennial Institute think tank, the event’s sponsor, introduced Buck as the only member of Congress to boast a 100-percent conservative rating from the Heritage Foundation.

Then he read from material promoting the book: “Lavish parties. Committee chairmanships for sale. Pay-to-play corruption. Backroom arm-twisting. Votes on major legislation going to the highest bidder. Welcome to Washington, D.C., the swamp that President Donald Trump was elected to drain.”

When he took the stage a few minutes later, Buck acknowledged that one of the publisher’s best lines — “Congressman Ken Buck is blowing the whistle on the real-life ‘House of Cards’ in our nation’s capital” — had left him baffled, since he doesn’t watch much television and wasn’t familiar with the Netflix series, which has explored tales of Washington intrigue and corruption for four seasons. But he added that the real-life version is as sordid as any fiction.

“I get to D.C. after I won in 2014 — it was the most amazing thing,” Buck told the audience. “You would think that you were in Vienna in some sort of fairy tale. The Army choir is singing, the filet mignon is on the plate, the speaker of the House, and you have a historian from the Library of Congress, and you are just wined and dined. And there’s one message in that wining and dining: If you play the game the way we want you to play the game, life is very good in Washington, D.C.”

Conversely, Buck noted, if members of Congress refuse to play the game, life can be difficult in D.C., and he acknowledged that by spilling the beans he was probably making trouble for himself at the Capitol.

“It is an insular process directed by power-hungry party elites who live like kings and govern like bullies,” he writes, in a line sure to endear him to House leadership and Republican power-brokers.

On Tuesday afternoon, the book sat in the No 1 spot and the Kindle edition was No. 2 on Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the U.S. Congress and Legislative category, and the book was ranked No. 2 in the online retailer’s U.S. National Government category (with the Kindle edition coming in at No. 5 on that list).

Buck is scheduled to appear Thursday night on Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” show on Fox News Channel. He’s also booked to appear on the channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox and Friends and Morning Joe shows this week, his publisher told The Colorado Statesman.

Buck is also set to discuss the book and sign copies at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, April 18, at the Tattered Cover Aspen Grove in Littleton.

— ernest@coloradostatesman.com

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.