The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
The New Press
February 21, 2017

That money dominates and directs American politics is an open secret. But very few people know what this looks like—and how this influence plays out over legislation and policy—as intimately as the men and women serving in Congress. In CAPTURED, United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse takes readers behind the scenes, showing in disturbing detail how this influence benefits corporations and big-money interests while hurting American citizens.

Whitehouse (D-RI), writing with Melanie Wachtell Stinnett, combines history, legal scholarship, and personal experiences to provide the first comprehensive explanation of what’s gone wrong in Washington, exposing the multiple avenues through which our government has been infiltrated and disabled by corporate powers. CAPTURED reveals how an oversight by the Founders opened the door for this behavior, and shows the myriad ways corporations exploit that vulnerability. A few examples of their methods:

  • Intimidating elected representatives by threatening million-dollar “dark money” election attacks—a threat more effective and less expensive than the actual attacks would be;
  • Stacking the judiciary—even the Supreme Court—in “business-friendly” ways;
  • “Capturing” the administrative agencies meant to regulate corporate behavior;
  • Undermining the civil jury, the Constitution’s last bastion for ordinary citizens; and
  • Creating a corporate alternate reality on public health and safety issues like climate change.

As Whitehouse spells out in devastating detail, this sea-change in political power was no accident. It was the result of a decades-long strategy by corporate America to wrest the reins of democracy. And it has been wildly effective, tying Congress’s hands at a time when our country faces tremendous challenges. Today, it is more critical than ever that Americans stand up and fight back, Whitehouse writes, and he describes what must be done to counter this takeover.