What people are saying
"With careful research and an unflinching eye for telling detail, Lee Drutman shows beyond any doubt how big money is strangling our democracy, and why the rest of us must take action before its last gasp. A vitally important book everyone who cares about America must read." -- Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor
"Why do corporations lobby? How much do they spend to sway the federal government? Lee Drutman amassed the data to answer these hard questions and many others, including the hardest of all: what has lobbying done to American democracy?" -David Frum, senior editor, The Atlantic
"The ever-rising amount that corporate America spends to shape government policy is hard to ignore-except, it seems, in American political science. Now, finally, we have a meticulous, innovative, yet remarkably readable analysis of the post-1970s lobbying boom: why it happened, how it feeds on itself, and how it is reshaping American politics. This book is likely to start a boom of its own, forcing political science to grapple with its fresh findings and powerful new arguments." -- Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and co-author of Winner-Take-All Politics
"Drutman's description of corporate lobbying, standing alone, is worth the price of admission. But he pairs this empirical work with sound judgment, sensible policy proposals, and a clear-eyed view of the world. It's an irresistible combination." -- Heather K. Gerken, J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, Yale Law School
"In the most impressive compilation of new data and analysis on corporate relations with the US government ever completed, Lee Drutman's painstaking and comprehensive study shows clearly how important individual corporations are in the federal lobbying game. At the same time, he shows just how dependent corporate leaders are on their government relations staff for knowledge about the value of the work of that very staff; how corporate lobbying is often as ineffective as it is self-perpetuating; and how it raises the cost of democracy for everyone. This will be seen for years as the best book on corporate lobbying in America and should be read by everyone with concern about how our government really works."-Frank R. Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, UNC-Chapel Hill, and co-author of Lobbying and Policy Change
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 changing political conditions mobilized business leaders. Ever since, corporate lobbying has become increasingly more pervasive, more proactive, and more particularistic. 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. Among them: 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. The changes all benefit big business.
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.