Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has spent the last two days on Capitol Hill buttonholing members of Congress and quizzing them on their banking-sector bailout votes.
"All the usual suspects have dodged us, but I'm moving a little faster these days so we were able to catch up with some of them," said Moore in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Moore was spotted at a hearing of the Senate Financial Services Committee Tuesday morning, seated behind TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren -- baseball cap and all.
He spent the rest of the afternoon wielding his camera in the Dirksen Senate office building, looking for members to go on the record.
In the middle of an interview with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Tuesday, a bird above Moore relieved itself on the filmmaker's shoulder. He brushed it off his jacket with the help of an aide. "Congressman Boehner is up in the tree," Moore speculated of the Republican minority leader from Ohio. (He wasn't.)
On Monday, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) invited him into the Capitol, where he filmed a sit-down interview with her on the bailout.
"I was surprised how many people know him," said Kaptur. "He's a real celebrity." She said that Moore was knowledgeable about the crisis but looking for answers rather than pitching his own financial rescue strategy.
"He wanted to hear the story from one member on the inside who'd opposed Bush," said Kaptur, who opposed the bailouts.
Moore spent last week on Wall Street, looking for an explanation as to how we got where we are. He said that he's gotten "better explanations down here, because these are the representatives of the people. On Wall Street, I have to say, our week on Wall Street was full of comedy."
What he has learned on Capitol Hill has only made him angrier about the situation, he said. "If anything, I'm more upset, when I've heard the stories behind the stories as to how this whole thing has come about and what's happening," he said. "I think the public is going to be quite shocked when they see this film, whatever they think they know now."
His film has, not surprisingly, a populist theme. "My fear is they're going to leave the theater asking the ushers, 'Excuse me, but where are the torches and pitchforks?' And I'm a nonviolent person, but I think certainly the crew, all of us, have been feeling that while we've been making this."
Moore said that he doesn't like to talk much about his films while he's making them, "because I've got to make sure I get to finish the film," but he sketched out some of the details on the Huffington Post last month:
I am in the middle of shooting my next movie and I am looking for a few brave people who work on Wall Street or in the financial industry to come forward and share with me what they know. Based on those who have already contacted me, I believe there are a number of you who know "the real deal" about the abuses that have been happening. You have information that the American people need to hear. I am humbly asking you for a moment of courage, to be a hero and help me expose the biggest swindle in American history.
All correspondence with me will be kept confidential. Your identity will be protected and you will decide to what extent you wish to participate in telling the greatest crime story ever told.
The important thing here is for you to step up as an American and do your duty of shedding some light on this financial collapse. A few good people have already come forward, which leads me to believe there are many more of you out there who know what's going on. Here's your chance to let your fellow citizens in on the truth.
Ryan Grim is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America