InfluenceWatch Podcast

The podcast where we go beneath the surface to reveal the web of connected influence, money, and motivation driving the news.

About the show

The podcast where we go beneath the surface to reveal the web of connected influence, money, and motivation driving the news, sourced primarily from our website InfluenceWatch.org, the Capital Research Center's online encyclopedia of the donors, non-profits, and influencers driving politics.

You can watch the video version of the podcast at: http://bit.ly/2rnQygY

InfluenceWatch Podcast on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 247: A Crisis In Our Classrooms With Armstrong Williams part 2

    December 2nd, 2022  |  27 mins 48 secs

    CRC President Scott Walter sits in the host chair and interviews TV host and author Armstrong Williams about his book "Crisis in the Classroom," a revealing look at education in America co-authored by Dr. Ben Carson and civil rights activist Benjamin Crump. This is part one of a two-part series.

  • Episode 246: A Crisis In Our Classrooms With Armstrong Williams, Part 1

    November 25th, 2022  |  19 mins 30 secs
    armstrong williams, ben carson, ben crump, crisis, education, teacher union

    CRC President Scott Walter sits in the host chair and interviews TV host and author Armstrong Williams about his book "Crisis in the Classroom," a revealing look at education in America co-authored by Dr. Ben Carson and civil rights activist Benjamin Crump. This is part one of a two-part series.

  • Episode 245: Legalities of Student Loan Forgiveness

    November 18th, 2022  |  17 mins 27 secs

    Hello, I’m Michael Watson and this is the InfluenceWatch Podcast. A few months ago, President Joe Biden announced that the government would “forgive” up to $10,000 per borrower in federal student loan debt with at best dubious legal justification, with a cost to the Treasury estimated at $300 billion if it were to go into effect. Lawsuits immediately flew. One such lawsuit was filed in Texas with the support of the Job Creators Network Foundation, challenging the action as unconstitutional. Last week, the program was struck down at the trial court level; joining us to discuss the litigation is JCN Foundation’s Chief Legal Officer Karen Harned.

  • Episode 244: Building a Better Midterm

    November 11th, 2022  |  20 mins 13 secs

    Hello, I’m Michael Watson and this is the InfluenceWatch Podcast. Like the 2020 elections, which saw then-President Trump’s coalition prove unexpectedly resilient amid a horrible national environment dominated by COVID despite his loss to Joe Biden, the 2022 elections did not go as expected…but this time the other way, with Biden’s Democrats defying the apparent “fundamentals.” While others will discuss candidates, issues, and swings, I’m joined by Capital Research Center president Scott Walter to discuss some of the institutional structures that might have contributed to the midterms results.

  • Episode 243: Building a Trusted Election Infrastructure

    November 4th, 2022  |  16 mins 21 secs

    Following the 2020 election, and one very strange Time Magazine article detailing a “shadow” campaign of left-leaning operatives that “saved” the 2020 election by “fortifying” it, conservative groups began to get serious about election integrity.

    Some efforts to re-instill faith in American elections had pre-existed 2020, but news reports of poll watchers being barred from carrying out their duties, concerns over near-ubiquitous ballot drop-boxes, and the heavy promotion of mail-in ballots as an answer to keeping people safe during COVID, had conservative groups taking a more active approach to making sure American elections could be trusted for all participants on all sides of the political divide.

    One of the groups that got to work was Tea Party Patriots Action, who’ve spent the last year planning, preparing, and training to assure honest and fair oversight of elections.

    Joining the podcast today is Jenny Beth Martin, Honorary Chairman of TPPA, to discuss those efforts, why conservative groups felt a coordinated effort to focus on these things was necessary, and how they’ve done in their efforts.

  • Episode 242: Meet ERIC

    October 28th, 2022  |  20 mins 28 secs

    Today, we meet ERIC—the Electronic Registration Information Center. Created with the aid of the left-of-center Pew Charitable Trusts to help states maintain their voter rolls, recent years have seen it expand into voter registration drives. With those drives comes concern about ERIC’s connections to left-wing figures. Joining me to discuss ERIC and its ties to the political left is my Capital Research Center colleague Hayden Ludwig, who wrote about the group for The American Conservative.

  • Episode 241: Decoding the Iranian Protests

    October 21st, 2022  |  24 mins 49 secs

    For the past several weeks, Iranians—especially Iranian women—have taken bold stands against the nation’s theocratic government, discarding compulsory headscarves and cutting their hair. This isn’t the first time that mass demonstrations have contested the control of the Iranian regime; can they succeed this time? Joining me to discuss the situation in Iran and its relation to American policy is Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department advisor on Iran under Secretary Mike Pompeo and current fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

  • Episode 240: California's Union Payoff

    October 14th, 2022  |  20 mins 15 secs

    Since the Supreme Court decided the Janus v. AFSCME case and held that forcing government workers to pay union fees was an unconstitutional infringement of their free speech rights, union-aligned governments have come up with some creative approaches to supporting their government worker union allies. California hasn’t even bothered with creativity: The state’s ruling Democrats enacted legislation to simply pay unions directly with $400 million in taxpayer money. Joining me to discuss this latest case of California becoming what I’ve called Big Labor’s Golden State is Rachel Greszler, research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements at the Heritage Foundation.

  • Episode 239: Socializing Broadband

    October 7th, 2022  |  20 mins 32 secs

    Expanding access to high-speed internet: It’s a trendy cause that the COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures made urgent. And when government acts with urgency, bad ideas proliferate; in broadband, the bad idea is municipal government control of the broadband network. Joining me to discuss the drawbacks and problems with this approach are my colleague Parker Thayer and Jarrett Skorup of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

  • Episode 238: BlackRock: ESG Policy or Posturing?

    September 30th, 2022  |  27 mins 32 secs

    The power of the ESG—environmental, social, and corporate governance—investing movement is propelled by powerful allies among funds managers, perhaps none more prominent than BlackRock, which manages over eight trillion dollars in assets. But is Blackrock’s advancement of the environmentalist agenda a sincere commitment or cynical “greenwashing” seeking public relations advantage? Joining me to discuss the question is my Capital Research Center colleague Ken Braun.

  • Episode 237: A Family Fights the EPA

    September 26th, 2022  |  23 mins 57 secs

    “Who decides? Congress or the executive?” is a key question underlying many prominent legal interpretation disputes. One such dispute, over defining “waters of the United States,” has trapped one family that sought to build a home on their Idaho property in limbo for over a decade—and two trips to the Supreme Court. Joining me to discuss Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency and the other work performed by his firm is Pacific Legal Foundation Vice President for Legal Affairs James S. Burling.

  • Episode 236: The PragerU Action Guide

    September 16th, 2022  |  21 mins 22 secs

    These days, amid debates over critical race theory and radical gender theory in school curriculums as early as elementary school, parents might be wondering what alternative resources might be available to them. Joining me is Jill Simonian, Director of Outreach for PragerU Resources for Educators & Parents and PragerU Kids, to discuss some of PragerU’s resources.

  • Episode 235: The Thesis That Drove American Politics Crazy

    September 9th, 2022  |  32 mins 38 secs

    In 2002, President George W. Bush stood astride the post–September 11 political world and Republicans looked poised to do the unthinkable and strengthen their positions in Congress in a midterm year. Yet liberal scholars John Judis and Ruy Teixeira published a provocative thesis: A new Democratic majority would “emerge” by the end of the decade. Traditional middle-class and working-class Democrats would be joined by growing ethnic minority populations, especially Asians and Hispanics; by working, single, and highly educated women voters; and by a growing share of the professional class, paving the way for a new majority. After President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, the thesis seemed airtight and its guidance likely to live long after the decadal horizon its authors had adopted. Except, just after the majority “emerged,” it started to crack. Then came Donald Trump.

  • Episode 234: Education Exodus

    September 2nd, 2022  |  24 mins 47 secs

    Today’s guest is not the only person to have left California for Florida in the past few years. Kali Fontanilla left her teaching job in Monterey County after her school district pushed critical race theory and aligned ideologies and now runs the Exodus Institute, a homeschooling group based in Florida. She joins us to tell her story and discuss how education got to the present moment.

  • Episode 233: Who is Barre Seid?

    August 26th, 2022  |  26 mins 14 secs

    This week, the New York Times reported that a “little-known donor” — industrialist Barre Seid — had given a $1.6 billion “windfall” to a new conservative group known as Marble Freedom Trust in the network of Leonard Leo, the conservative activist most notable for his involvement in the Federalist Society and support for the judicial selections of former President Donald Trump. The Times made much of the fact that the gift exceeded the combined spending of 15 “politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with Democrats” in 2020 while Leo asserted that “It’s high time for the conservative movement to be among the ranks of George Soros, Hansjorg Wyss, Arabella Advisors, and other left-wing philanthropists, going toe-to-toe in the fight to defend our constitution and its ideals.” So what does this contribution actually portend? Joining me to disscuss that question is Capital Research Center president Scott Walter.

  • Episode 232: Know Your Rights: Labor Unions

    August 19th, 2022  |  20 mins 8 secs

    We’ve discussed government worker unions and their left-wing politics on the podcast before, but what can workers do to protect themselves against union activities they disagree with? Americans for Fair Treatment is helping educate public sector employees about their constitutional rights around union membership. Joining me to discuss some recent government worker union abuses and Americans for Fair Treatment’s work is AFFT’s CEO, David Osborne.