This book is based on data I collected between 2004 and 2012 through participantobservation, semi-structured and informal interviews, searches of media archives and organizational websites, membership on listservs, and reviews of documents in the Boston office of the nonprofit organization United for a Fair Economy (UFE). To trace the Billionaires’ origins and history, I conducted oral history interviews with current and former UFE staff members and others who were part of a network of proto-Billionaires during the 1990s. I also interviewed individuals who had participated in the 2000 Billionaires for Bush (or Gore) but who did not join the 2004 Billionaires for Bush, as well as leaders of related organizations. I have talked with some Billionaire members at length on multiple occasions, and I have conducted in-depth interviews with many more about their personal backgrounds and experiences with the Billionaires and other activist organizations.
During the height of the 2004 presidential campaign (April to November), I attended weekly internal planning meetings of the Billionaires for Bush Manhattan chapter (the organization’s largest), as well as frequent street actions and social and fund-raising occasions (such as one that featured cartoonist Art Spiegelman). During the 2004 campaign, I also spent time with the Boston, Seattle, and Washington, DC, chapters of Billionaires for Bush, observing public events and talking with participants. I interviewed chapter heads and members from other states as well when they visited New York or attended the January 2005 national Billionaire “convergence” in Washington, DC. In 2005, I attended a series of summer “strategery” meetings, Manhattan chapter planning meetings, and street actions. Thereafter I continued conversations and interviews with the Billionaires and attended key events such as the January 2009 “Last Huzzah” party in Manhattan, and the May 2011 Reverend Billy “canonization” of the Billionaires in New York City.