The Chatter Podcast: Private Equity and National Security with Brendan Ballou

By David Priess
Thursday, May 4, 2023, 9:27 AM

Private equity firms rank among the largest employers in the United States and invest many billions of dollars in a wide variety of industries. Yet the public understanding of how private equity works and its impact on myriad areas of American life, including national security, remains limited.

Brendan Ballou is trying to change that. A federal prosecutor who works in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, he has written a new book, Plunder: Private Equity's Plan To Pillage America. David Priess spoke at length with him about his previous work in the Justice Department's National Security Division, his current role working antitrust issues, the origins of his interest in private equity, the business model of private equity, its effect on industries from mortgages to nursing homes, private equity's link to the SolarWinds hack, foreign involvement in private equity, the impact of private equity on U.S. competitiveness, and more.

Among the works mentioned in this episode:

The book Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It by Louis Brandeis

The book Plunder: Private Equity's Plan To Pillage America by Brendan Ballou

The movie This Is Spinal Tap

The book Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free by Jed Rakoff

The movie Alien

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.

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