Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy

Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy


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A leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee “spells out, in considerable detail, the extent of corporate influence over a variety of issues” in national politics ( The New Yorker )

As a U.S. senator and former federal prosecutor, Sheldon Whitehouse has had a front-row seat for the spectacle of dark money in government. In his widely praised book Captured , he describes how corporations buy influence over our government— not only over representatives and senators, but over the very regulators directly responsible for enforcing the laws under which these corporations operate, and over the judges and prosecutors who are supposed to be vigilant about protecting the public interest.

In a case study that shows these operations at work, Whitehouse reveals how fossil fuel companies have held any regulation related to climate change at bay. The problem is structural: as Kirkus Reviews wrote, “many of the ills it illuminates are bipartisan.”

This paperback edition features a new preface by the author that reveals how corporate influence has taken advantage of Donald Trump’s presidency to advance its agenda—and what we can do about it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620972076
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 02/21/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 659,909
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sheldon Whitehouse represents Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate. He has served as his state’s United States Attorney and as the state Attorney General, as well as its top business regulator. Sheldon worked for years as a young staff lawyer in the Attorney General’s office. He has been a successful and unsuccessful political candidate, held several senior staff positions for a governor, run local referendum races, and been a longtime environmental advocate. He has led government reforms, most significantly an overhaul of the state workers compensation system, a “separation of powers” constitutional reform, and an opening of state pension records. He has practiced law, tried cases to a jury, argued appeals (including in the United States Supreme Court), and litigated in federal and state administrative agencies. Sheldon grew up in a Foreign Service family. He lives in Newport with his wife, a marine scientist, and his grown children when they visit. Melanie Wachtell Stinnett is a Boston-based writer and former Director of Policy and Communications at the Tobin Project. She has previously published on regulatory policy and Supreme Court litigation trends.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition xi

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 The Constitution's Blind Spot 1

Chapter 2 The Growth of Corporate Power 11

Chapter 3 Where We Are Now 24

Chapter 4 What the Corporate Political Machine Wants: Four Short Case Studies 48

Chapter 5 The Powell Memo and the Corporate Strategy 63

Chapter 6 Capture of the Court 77

Chapter 7 Capture of Elections: Citizens United 93

Chapter 8 Capture of Regulatory Agencies 114

Chapter 9 Capture of the Civil Jury 133

Chapter 10 The Denial Machine 150

Chapter 11 Climate Change and the "Flies of Summer" 169

Chapter 12 America's Lamp in Peril 186

Postscript 191

Author's Note 205

Acknowledgments 207

Notes 209

Index 245

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