The Business of America is Lobbying: How Corporations Became Politicized and Politics Became More Corporate

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Oxford University Press, 2015 - Political Science - 269 pages
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Corporate lobbyists are everywhere in Washington. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 represent business. The largest companies now have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them. How did American businesses become so invested in politics? And what does all their money buy?

Drawing on extensive data and original interviews with corporate lobbyists, The Business of America is Lobbying provides a fascinating and detailed picture of what corporations do in Washington, why they do it, and why it matters. Prior to the 1970s, very few corporations had Washington offices. But a wave of new government regulations and declining economic conditions mobilized business leaders. Companies developed new political capacities, and managers soon began to see public policy as an opportunity, not just a threat. Ever since, corporate lobbying has become increasingly more pervasive, more proactive, and more particularistic. Lee Drutman argues that lobbyists drove this development, helping managers to see why politics mattered, and how proactive and aggressive engagement could help companies' bottom lines.

All this lobbying doesn't guarantee influence. Politics is a messy and unpredictable bazaar, and it is more competitive than ever. But the growth of lobbying has driven several important changes that make business more powerful. The status quo is harder to dislodge; policy is more complex; and, as Congress increasingly becomes a farm league for K Street, more and more of Washington's policy expertise now resides in the private sector. These and other changes increasingly raise the costs of effective lobbying to a level only businesses can typically afford.

Lively and engaging, rigorous and nuanced, The Business of America is Lobbying will change how we think about lobbying-and how we might reform it.
 

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Contents

1 The Pervasive Position of Business
1
2 Why the Growth of Corporate Lobbying Matters
22
3 The Growth of Corporate Lobbying
47
4 How and Why Corporations Lobby
72
5 How Corporations Cooperate and Compete
97
6 How Corporations Make Sense of Politics
118
7 How Lobbyists Perpetuate Lobbying
133
8 Testing Alternative Explanations for Growth
168
9 The Stickiness of Lobbying
195
10 The Business of America is Lobbying
218
Notes
241
Index
263
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About the author (2015)


Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the program on political reform at New America. An expert on lobbying, influence, and money in politics, he has been quoted and/or cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Slate, Mother Jones, Vox, Politico, and many other publications, and on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Planet Money, This American Life, Marketplace, Washington Journal, and The Colbert Report, among other programs. Drutman also teaches in the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at The John Hopkins University. Prior to coming to New America, Drutman was a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation. He has also worked in the U.S. Senate and at the Brookings Institution. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. from Brown University.

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