This is part of The Lord of Bog's guide to clout, originally posted on the Cloutiverse forums December of 2014.

Rules of Clout I'm including some of the rules on the off chance you forgot to read them when you signed up... -No Multiboxing. Creating multiple accounts for Clout is against the rules, and when you are discovered your alts will be banned and your character will be penalized accordingly. -Don't grief people or spout hate speech. This is generally something you shouldn't do anyways... -Don't cheat, abuse glitches or exploit the game in general. -Do not post the contents of a private post to a less private post. A less obvious one, but doing so does harm the integrity of the party posts, discouraging players from using them to coordinate things between each other. -While not actually a rule, discussing the stalkers in global post generally isn't a productive activity, and I wouldn't suggest it. If you would like to know more about the stalkers, then talking to Q in private would be a better. Also, calling Q crazy and generally slandering him in is against the rules and will likely get you banned.

Before I say anything else, I would suggest that you play Clout on Kongregate rather then Facebook. Playing on Kongregate allows you to talk to other players of Clout in the Kong Chatroom, which can help you communicate to others and get lobbyist bribes. It also sometimes hilarious. Or Incredible stupid. Or Both.

Crash Course in Clout Here is an abridged guide for those who just want the basics of clout. In Clout, you control a congressman in one of 5 parties, who's goal is to promote their's parties agenda by passing and acting on legislation, while building up their own political clout and money reserves.

The first thing you should do is buy some clothing. With the 20000 dollars you start with, go to the shop and buy a Bowler Derby OR Floral Hat, Clown Paint, Pearl Necklace,  Pantsuit OR High-Quality Suit, and either Designer Flats OR Fine Leather Loafers. These items, while making you look ridiculous and using 19k of your starter money, will give you a great boost to your clout gain early on, which will help you tremendously when first starting.

After doing that you should pass the lower cost bills to gain more clout, so you can purchase more abilities and introduce higher clout bills. Once you have introduced a bill, you will need to play abilities on that bill until it has reached 100% completion. Regular bills start at 50% completion, and your party and others can also play abilities on your bill to pass or fail it. You yourself can also play abilities on their bills, to gain more clout when you help pass or fail the bill depending on if you play for or against the bill.

To better help you get bills passed/failed, you can use different abilities that will have more of an effect on a bill. Your first two abilities after rational debate(a weak ability that works ok on all bills), should be Claim Fiscal Infeasibility and Appeal to Emotion. CFI is useful for passing bills that help the nation economically, such as increasing income tax or decreasing funding for various things. AtE is useful for passing bills that are "morally superior", such as increasing health care funding, along with most increase funding bills in general. When playing against bills, the abilities that are strong for those bills are (generally) reversed, so playing AtE against an income tax increase bill will be more effective then just using rational debate.

Abilities Can be Strong, medium, or weak on bills, along with causing a gaffes if used in a nonsensical way. Abilities that are strong on a bill are twice as effective then usual, while abilities that are weak are half as effective. Gaffes on bills help your opposition, and spam your status page with messages telling you that you done goofed up.

Using abilities requires energy and raises stress. 5 energy is lost when playing a single ability for most abilities, and 1 stress most of the time you play on bills. You also expend energy and stress when you introduce a bill/do a campaign contribution or agree to appear as a speaker for at an event. When stress is high, your abilities will because less effective, indicated by the stress level being yellow, orange or red. You can regain energy and reduce stress by taking various drugs in the black market, at the cost of cash and causing a scandal that may be discovered.

After you pass one of your own bills or help pass/fail another player's bill, you gain clout. Clout allows you to purchase more abilities to help you pass bills, introduce more expensive bills to gain even more clout, and as a price for certain committee actions. As you gain clout, you achieve Clout Tiers, which gives you more access to features in the game. Also, Tier 1 players are safe from "attacks" by other players, and tier 3 and 4 players cannot use committees on your bills and receive a penalty to plays on your bills. Clout tier 2 is unlocked at 5k clout, tier 3 at 30k clout, and tier 4 at 100k clout. Clout spent does not deduct from this amount, although managing to somehow get negative clout will (Possible with poor use of committees, very unlikely to happen unless on purpose).

You gain Cash every real world Monday at the end of the day, which you can use to buy equipment to increase your stats, get drugs to restore energy/reduce stress, to use skullduggery to harm your political enemy or to help yourself (And cause a scandal that can be discovered later. Same goes for drug use.), or to use the services of the campaign management to get rid of scandals and to manage your Constituent Support(CSP) to help you stay in office. You can also gain money by taking "Campaign Contributions", using the Larceny skullduggery, speaking at events, or taking bribes from a Lobbyist (The Lobby is a separate game that influences the world of clout, in closed beta at the time of writing 12/23/14). Equipment increases your stats, which help you in various ways. Charisma and Attractiveness are functionally identical as of yet, and they help you gain more clout from your bills. Speaking Ability makes your ability plays stronger, while Intelligence does what ATT/CHA and SPK do, but to a lesser extend. Defense, a stat found on tier 2 equipment and higher, makes assassination attempts and thug assaults less likely to occur, along with (possibly, I'm not 100% certain of this) reducing the chance of gaining stress from playing on bills.

Your character has a stat called Constituent Support (CSP), which determines the likelihood of being reelected at the end of the month. Your character starts at 7000 CSP, which is listed in your status page as "You constituents are somewhat confident in your ability to lead". As long as you are at or above 6k CSP "Your constituents are beginning to doubt your ability to lead", you will have a 100% reelection chance. You gain CSP whenever you play on bills in favor of your party, when you use advertisements to boost your CSP, and sometimes when you get paid for speaking at an event. You lose CSP when you play on bills against your party's views, playing on a bill that has a poison pill, or when a scandal of yours is released. You also lose some CSP when your party's binary control is in the negative, and some for every red stat in the world screen (Including wars, currently)

Character Stats Explained The Following information was mostly lifted off the Clout wiki/help section of Clout. On the off chance that one of you actually tests to see if it is accurate or to further elaborate on what I have so far, feel free to contact me so I can correct this information.

-Speaking Ability (SPK): Increases strength of ability plays by 3 per point. High SPK can help you avoid thugs and slander. -Charisma (CHA) and Attractiveness (ATT): Both stats do the same thing, although they may or may not do so in different ways. Increase clout gain from passage of your own bills by 10% of the bill's base cost per point. Increases CSP gain from acting on bills (by how much?). Slightly reduces CSP loss from slander and real scandals. -Intelligence: Increases strength of ability plays by 1.25 per point. Increases clout gain from passage of your own bills by 5% per point. High Intelligence can help you avoid thugs and slander, and reduces the money lost from larcenies and may completely prevent them. -Defense: This stat reduces the chance of being injured by Thugs and Assassins and/or reduces the amount you are injured by those. The gain from a point of defense is decreased the more defense you already have.

-Protection Level: This stat is closer to Constituent Support then any of the equipment stats, and is not gained by wearing equipment. To my knowledge, it is gained by being targeted by skullduggery, specifically assassinations and thug assaults. It is also increased by the martial law and congressional security binaries being active, along with staying in the hospital once you have been wounded. It helps keep your character safe from attacks like defense, although I don't know anything besides that.

Character Creation On the off chance you waiting to make your character, here is an explanation of what the various traits do, to help you make a more useful clout character. You can chose 1 positive trait right off the bat, and another one for every negative trait you choose. Your character must have 0 trait points left when you finish, though, and Nearly Flawless Past and Skeletons in your closet are both cost/give 2 points, respectively.

Positive Traits: -Military Service. Gives 1 Charisma and access to many different shop items to increase your Speaking stat, along with power armor, the best defensive chest item in the game. It also gives you access to the "Invoke Military Service" ability. This is generally considered a very good trait to have, and required to achieve the maximum amount of the defense stat for your character. -Attractive. Gives 2 Attractiveness and the ability to sleep with an intern. The Attractiveness boost it good when first starting the game for when you are low on clout, and sleeping with an intern is a free method of restoring your stress at the cost of energy, but doing so will quickly rack up scandals and isn't nearly as efficient as drugs. It's unlikely to be an ability you will use more then a handful of times. -Devote Christian. Gives 2 Charisma, and access to the crucifix item and "Invoke God" ability. Seeing as Charisma and Attractiveness are functionally identical as of the time this was written, this is essentially the same as Attractiveness, with the added bonus of the crucifix item that is one of the best Misc. Items for raising clout gain from bills, although similar items exist for other players to use. -Well Educated. Gives 2 Intelligence and 1 Speaking Ability at the cost of -1 Charisma, along with access to the Holographic Distortion Projector and the "Argue Constitutionality" ability. This trait is good for those who want to have stronger abilities, and is required to achieve the highest level of defense because of the HDP it gives access to. I would suggest taking DC or Att over this trait unless you want the defensive equipment, though. -Nearly Flawless Past. This trait costs the same as 2 positive traits, and decreasing the likelihood of a scandal being discovered by another player's investigation. Whether or not this is worth it depends entirely on your play style, so those with no scandals or an insanely large amount of scandals will likely receive little benefit from it. I would suggest you don't take this trait, at least on your first clout character.

Negative Traits: -Draft Dodger. Gives -1 Charisma. A good negative trait to take if you don't want to take military service. -Ugly. Gives -2 Attractiveness. Perhaps it's better then Good 'ol Boy. Maybe. -Atheist. Gives -2 Charisma but +1 Speaking Ability. The go to stat for those with military service and well educated in my opinion. -Good 'ol Boy. Gives -2 Intelligence, -1 Speaking Ability, but +1 Charisma, along with access to the Trucker Hat Item and Autoerotic Asphyxiation, which is functionally identical to sleeping with an intern. Most likely you won't use either of this trait's extras, so all that matters is the stats. This trait will keep you from losing any extra Clout from bills, but the penalty to your ability plays is a bit steep. Not a trait I would take, but your not me. (*Edit* Probably gives access to the "Accuse Opponents of Elitism" Ability) -Skeletons in your Closet. This trait gives you access to 2 extra positive traits, potentially making this the best trait to get. However, it does provide the possibility that your secret will be discovered and you will immediately be kicked out of office and into jail. The likelihood of this happening is extremely low though, so low that it would be easier for others to assassinate you then it would to actually find it. I highly suggest taking this trait for that reason.

Cash and Clout Cash and Clout are the two currencies of the game. Cash is used to buy equipment in the store and enact skullduggery, while clout is used to purchase abilities, introduce bills, and use committee actions. Passing your own bills is the main way to gain more clout, while taking speaking offers, bribes from lobbyists, committing larceny, and taking campaign contributions will help beef up your cash reserves while waiting for the Monday payout.

Your First 20k This section merely explains what I wrote in the crash course, so if you already read that you're good to go. New characters start out with precious little money, a mere 20k when a half-way decent suit cost 10 grand. To make the most of that money, I suggest buying the following items: -Head: Bowler Derby/Floral Hat. Cost 4k, raises CHA by 1 -Face: Clown Paint. Cost 2k and raises CHA by 2, at the cost of 1 SPK -Neck: Pearl Necklace. Cost 5k and raises ATT by 2 -Body: Pantsuit/High-Quality Suit. Cost 5k and raises ATT by 1. A body item is required to enter Congress -Feet: Designer Flats/Fine Leather Lofers. Cost 3k and raises ATT by 1. Shoes are required to enter Congress

These items, totaling 19k in cost, will raise your combined Attractiveness/Charisma stat by 7. The stats don't really differ between each-other currently, and each point in either provides a tasty 10% of a bill's base cost in extra clout once you introduce and pass it. With this set up, you will gain 70% of the base cost of the bill on top of whatever bonus you already have, which is a great boon when starting out.

Abilities and Committees Unfortunately, I do not have a very comprehensive list of which abilities are strong/weak or cause gaffes on which bills. If I can get some help I might update the wiki with that information, rather the posting it all here. Here is a link to the ability page on the wiki:

Abilities are what you use to advance the progress of your bills, along with passing and failing the bills of others. Abilities can be strong, neutral, weak or cause a gaffe when played. Most abilities cost 5 energy to play and can increase your stress by 1. A handful of abilities will cost 10 energy, and are identical to standard abilities except that they cost twice as much and are twice as strong. Special Abilities will be listed here, along with Committee actions.

*Most abilities have the same base strength as other abilities. Abilities that don't generally function differently*

Normal Abilities: -Half-hearted Punditry: The weakest ability available, this should not be used so long as you have Rational Debate. -Rational Debate: Is a neutral strength play on every bill, this shouldn't be used unless you have no abilities that are strong for the chosen bill. -Claim Fiscal Infeasibility: An ability that you will rely on for quite a while, this ability is strong for bills that help the nation economically, and strong against bills that hurt it, usually funding bills. -Appeal to Emotion: Another ability that is very helpful to begin with. This ability is strong in favor of morally "good" bills such as health funding, while strong against bills that are morally "Bad". -Proclaim Future Economic Benefits: I'm including this one because it causes problems for alot of players. This ability is strong on bills that generally do NOT help the economy, and will usually cause a gaffe when used on bill that Claim Fiscal Infeasibility are strong on. Use with caution.

Special Abilities: -Rhetoric: This ability grows stronger the more abilities that have been player in favor of the bill, or against if you are playing against the bill. Every time it is used successive Rhetoric uses will be weaker. Best used after many abilities are played, but before "Spew False Dichotomies". This should be obtained very early, and used often. -Spew False Dichotomies: This ability, when played in favor of a bill becomes stronger the closer a bill is to passing, or stronger the closer a bill is to failing when played against a bill. This ability should be obtained as soon as you have a decent pool of other abilities.  -Wildcard: This is the best ability for every situation ever. Here's a quote from the ability dialogue, one of many juicy tidbits you can find for the low, low price of 100,000 Clout: "My invisible ethereal accountant from the astral plane, Morton, is here to help us today. Morton, please show them the figures." 

"Powers": These two are not really abilities or committees, so I'm going to call them "Powers".  Filibuster: Allows you to prevent others from playing on a bill, at the cost of 1 energy per minute. Generally used in conjunction with energy restoring drugs and other players to prevent binaries and win bills from being played on. Causes an [F] to appear on the bill while in progress. Poison Pill: This one amends the targeted bill to give you money, along with causing anyone to play on the bill to lose CSP and setting the bill back by a large amount. Useful for sniping bills, although it does cost a certain amount of clout and CSP to use it. The poison pill can be removed on a bill if a conference committee is played on it, unless an oversight committee is played after it is poison pilled to prevent further committees from being played on that bill. A [P] will appear on any bill that is poison pilled.

Committees: All committees cost a certain amount to play them. The Speaker of the House (SOTH) can effect and remove some of these, but this is rarely done. I'll list any powers of the SOTH if I get around to making that section of the guide. -Oversight Committee: When applied to a bill, this prevents any other committees and poison pills to be played on the bill. Useful to keep a bill safe from being poison pilled or to keep one from being multiplied using conference committees. A [O ] will appear on bills with this committee active. -Research Committee: The bill this is applied to gains support each day by a random amount. Not all that helpful except on larger bills that you don't plan to play on alot, although the clout cost would probably prevent using this for bills you introduce but don't want to play on actively. Tags the bill with [H] -Budget Committee: Sets the bill back by a minor amount, and causes it to take effect 24-120 hours after passing. Potentially useful to keep a bill from effecting the nation's stats before the end of the week, or just annoying the owner of the bill. -Legislative Review Committee: This caused a vote similar to conference committees that allows players to either set the bill to 1 support, nearly failing the bill or to give the bill a huge chunk of support. Not often used, but useful in certain situations when you want to fail a bill that is near passing, or set a bill 1 support to allow it to be CCed more times. -Conference Committees: Probably the most useful committee, this allows a bill's effect on the country to be multiplied. Very useful for majorly effecting the nation's stats, since this can be done as many times on a bill as players can do before the bill gets passed. There will usually be a few that you can vote on if you check the the active bills, and voting on a bill cost no energy. On the off chance that your bill isn't particularly popular, or if a group of players actively vote against it, the bill's effect can be halved instead. Bills be doubled/halved does not effect clout gain from the bill. Halved bills are tagged with a [C] while multiplied bills will have the amount they are multiplied by on the bill (x2, x4, x8 etc...)