The Influence Machine
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life
The United States now has three political parties, though only two of them are elected.The newest was founded a century ago, but just came to power in the last decade: It's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the political party of the new American oligarchy. In this groundbreaking investigation of the big business takeover of the American political process, Alyssa Katz draws upon years of research to chronicle the rise to power of the organization and the oversized, combative personalities who lead it. The Chamber -- through its secret corporate sponsors, from Philip Morris to Exxon to Wal-Mart -- can take credit for some of the most disturbing trends in American life: the reversal of environmental protections, the buying of judgeships, the destruction of unions and worker protections, the rise of virulent anti-government ideology, the toxic role of campaign cash, and the creation of "astroturf" groups, culminating in the Tea Party, as cover for advancing a corporate agenda. Through its propaganda, lobbying, and campaign cash, the Chamber has created a right-wing monster that even it struggles to control, a conservative movement that is destabilizing American politics as never before. The Chamber tells this history as a series of gripping narratives that take us into the backrooms of Washington where the battles over how our country is run and regulated are fought, and then out into the real world where we see how the Chamber's campaigns play out in real lives. But in the end, Katz also points to the possibility of reversing the influence of the Chamber and its affiliated groups, and fixing our democracy.
New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2015
xvi, 315 pages ; 25 cm