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, 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:

InfluenceWatch Podcast on social media


  • Episode 153: The New Presidential Administration

    January 23rd, 2021  |  18 mins 54 secs
    biden, biden-harris, conservative, culture, favors, influence, labor, labor relations board, left, liberal, libertarian, paris climate accord, politics, president, progressive, right, society, special interests, transition, trump

    In this episode: It’s a new week, and there’s a new Presidential administration in town. And if his modern-era unprecedented early firing of the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board and his immediate re-entry to the Paris Climate Accord are any indication, the administration of President Joe Biden is going to be a series of favors for the left-wing special interest groups that helped get him elected. Joining us to discuss the new Biden administration and the role those special interest groups have had in his transition process is Capital Research Center’s Research Specialist Robert Stilson, who compiled InfluenceWatch’s extensive profile on the Biden-Harris Transition.

  • Episode 152: Aggressively Political Philanthropy

    January 15th, 2021  |  19 mins 24 secs
    america, business, conservative, elections, foundations, government, labor, law, left, liberal, libertarian, nonprofits, philanthropy, politics, progressive, right, society

    In this episode: In recent years, American big business, big labor, and other “bigs” have gotten aggressively more aligned with progressive liberalism—even those bigs, like Big Philanthropy, that are technically required by law not to intervene in elections. While Big Philanthropy might always have been liberal-leaning ideologically, it has gotten so openly Democratic that as conservative philanthropic scholar Bill Schambra noted, “it’s no longer suspect, or even noteworthy, to treat nonprofits and foundations as anything other than useful tools to “build a Democratic Party that can translate [progressive values] into public policy as a true governing majority.”” Joining us to discuss how we got here and the consequences of philanthropy losing its nominal political neutrality is Mike Hartmann, head of Capital Research Center’s Center for Strategic Giving and editor of the Giving Review blog at Philanthropy Daily.

  • Episode 151: This Business Will Get Out of Control

    January 7th, 2021  |  15 mins 11 secs
    conservative, culture, democrat, demonstration, evil, florida, joe biden, left, liberal, libertarian, mob, politics, president, progressive, protest, republican, right, riot, speech, united states, violence

    In this episode: We’re doing something different this week, because we're recording this on Thursday January 7, 2021. Yesterday, a riotous mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and attempted to prevent the certification of the votes of the Electoral College that make Democrat Joe Biden President-elect of the United States. There is no excuse for demonstrators, whatever their beliefs and goals, to overrun police barricades and attempt to prevent the people’s elected representatives from carrying out their duties. Violence is not speech—and storming the Capitol is violence. At Capital Research Center, we do have a specific point of view: We believe in free markets, Constitutional government, and individual liberty—violent disruption of the legislature is not that.

  • Episode 150: The "Rising American Electorate"

    December 31st, 2020  |  18 mins 23 secs
    2020, blue, conservative, democrat, democratic, election, florida, hispanics, jobs, latino, latinx, left, liberal, libertarian, president, progressive, red, republican, right, texas, year end

    In this episode: A strange thing happened on the road to the Emerging Democratic Majority. Even as Joe Biden won a roughly four-and-a-half percentage point national lead in total ballots cast, the “Rising American Electorate” demographics that were supposed to deliver “blue Texas” actually kept the Lone Star State and Florida in the Republican column while swinging to the right—even in deep-blue areas—as the country tilted to the left relative to 2016. The swings were most notable in two areas: The Mexican border region of Texas (known as the Rio Grande Valley or RGV) and South Florida—in both places, Hispanic constituencies Democrats assumed would be permanently in their camp swung hard to the right, helping keep those states in the Republican column. Joining us to discuss this unexpected development is Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO of the Job Creators Network.

  • Episode 149: Union Leaders Held Accountable

    December 19th, 2020  |  16 mins 25 secs

    In this episode: The federal government closed a substantial part of the book on its investigation into the largest labor union corruption scandal since the mob control over the Teamsters Union was broken. Federal prosecutors in Michigan announced that they had reached a settlement with the United Auto Workers to establish an oversight regime and adopt reforms to increase members’ ability to hold union leadership accountable. Joining us to recap how we got here and breakdown the settlement is Sean Higgins, Research Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute specializing in labor and employment.

  • Episode 148: From Zuckerberg to Election Officials, Financing the 2020 Elections

    December 11th, 2020  |  19 mins 32 secs

    As states finalize their results or find the ballots they misplaced or lost the sticky notes for—looking at you, New York Twenty Two—the debate over election procedures shifts from the concluded 2020 elections to protecting election integrity for the future. And while much heat and light—arguably too much of the former—has focused on voting machine manufacturers, less light has shone on the influencers that exploited the COVID pandemic to fundamentally alter how elections were conducted, often without due consideration of consequences. Joining me today is Capital Research Center president Scott Walter to discuss one of those influencers—the Center for Technology and Civic Life.

  • Episode 147: RIP Dr. Walter Williams (with guest Veronique de Rugy)

    December 5th, 2020  |  17 mins 2 secs
    capitalism, conservative, economist, free-market, george mason university, left, liberal, libertarian, mercatus center, progressive, right, rush limbaugh, thomas sowell, walter williams

    In this episode: Last week, free-market economics lost one of its greatest evangelists: George Mason University professor, occasional Rush Limbaugh Program substitute host, book author, syndicated columnist, and Capital Research Center Advisory Board member Dr. Walter Williams. Joining us to reflect on Williams’s life and legacy is one of his colleagues, Mercatus Center scholar and columnist Veronique de Rugy.

  • Episode 146: Unions Want Coercive Power...

    November 20th, 2020  |  19 mins 38 secs
    ab5, california, conservative, contracting, culture, democratic, federal, georgia, law, left, legislation, liberal, libertarian, politics, progressive, right, right-to-work, society

    In this episode: As all eyes are turned toward Georgia’s two Senate runoff races, we discuss proposed legislation that both the Democratic challengers in Georgia support, and that has serious implications for right-to-work laws nationally if the Senate flips from red to blue. The legislation is called the Pro Act, and it’s an expanded federal version of the controversial AB5 legislation in California that has upended independent contracting in that state.

  • Episode 145: Roadblocks to an Aggressive Left-wing Agenda (with guest Steve Malanga)

    November 13th, 2020  |  26 mins 34 secs
    2020, american, ballot measures, california, census, colorado, conservative, culture, left, liberal, libertarian, new york post, politics, presidential election, progressive, prop 15, property tax, redistricting, right, society, taxes, voters

    In this episode: While the provisional results of the 2020 presidential election are disappointing to many conservatives, American voters threw roadblocks and cautions to an aggressive progressive agenda in even some of the bluest states. Illinois voters rejected a “progressive”—read, higher—income tax; California voters defeated the union-backed plan to override the commercial property tax limitations in Proposition 15 that we discussed a few weeks ago and rejected a measure to overturn the state’s ban on racial preferences; Colorado voters cut their state income taxes; and state legislative voters handed stinging defeats to Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a well-financed effort led by the Obama Administration’s attorney general that sought to secure Democratic state and Congressional power for the next decade by winning crucial state legislatures and gaining control of district-drawing after the 2020 Census. Joining us to discuss the ballot measures and broader down-ballot ramifications of the 2020 elections is Steve Malanga, George M. Yeager Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

  • Episode 144: Decoding Antifa (with guest Mark Hemingway)

    November 6th, 2020  |  18 mins 39 secs
    antifa, conservative, culture, extremist, ideology, left, liberal, libertarian, oregon, politics, portland, progressive, protest, radical, real clear investigations, right, society, violence

    In this episode: “Keep Portland Weird”—that is a common slogan for Oregon’s largest city. But the rest of the country would rather at least one particular weirdness stay in Portland: Antifa, the radical-left extremist faction that has spent most of the summer and fall rioting there. But what is Antifa? Is it an idea, an ideology, or a conventionally understood group? Joining us to explore this question is writer Mark Hemingway, a third-generation Oregonian who conducted an in-depth analysis of Antifa for Real Clear Investigations.

  • Episode 143: Alternatives to Unions' Coercive Power (with guest Vincent Vernuccio)

    October 31st, 2020  |  22 mins 6 secs
    1935, america, big labor, coercive law, conservative, culture, european unions, freedom, labor, law, left, liberal, libertarian, mackinac center, national labor relations act, progressive, right, sectoral bargaining, society, worker's rights

    In this episode: Since the enactment of the National Labor Relations act of 1935, American collective bargaining law in the private sector has relied on exclusive monopoly representation at the enterprise level. In layman’s terms, a single labor union forcing all employees in a designated portion of an employers’ work force to accept a single union negotiated contract. The unions and their allies have eyed a different approach, that of the social democracies of continental Europe, which practice so-called sectoral bargaining to set nationwide or region-wide contracts, while workplace representation is handled by union-influenced work councils. Joining us today to discuss the expansions of unions’ coercive power and possible alternatives to the current American or European coercive models, is Vincent Vernuccio, the Senior Fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

  • Episode 142: California Proposing a Major Tax Hike

    October 23rd, 2020  |  22 mins 11 secs
    california, conservative, culture, economy, law, left, liberal, libertarian, politics, progressive, prop 13, prop 15, right, ronald reagan, society, tax hike, taxes, voters, voting, woke

    In this episode: For over forty years, residential and commercial property taxes in the State of California have been limited by a law known as “Proposition 13,” passed by voters in response to skyrocketing tax bills from steadily increasing property-value assessments. But while California—which hasn’t had a Republican “trifecta” control of its government since Ronald Reagan was governor—was never the blood-red state of partisan Republican memory, changes in its dominant industries (less gritty defense manufacturing, more “woke” information technology), an exodos of its middle classes in response to skyrocketing housing costs, and international immigration patterns that select for the most socialist-leaning immigrants (compare the voting patterns of Hispanics in California with Hispanics in Florida), liberals see an opportunity to break the dead hand of Howard Jarvis with 2020 Proposition 15, a measure to repeal the limitations on commercial property tax. Joining us to discuss the ballot measure, the special interests behind it, and the possible effects the measure could have on California is Capital Research Center’s Research Specialist, Robert Stilson.

  • Episode 141: Big Money Politics (with guest Joe Schoffstall)

    October 16th, 2020  |  14 mins 51 secs
    2020, arabella, conservative, culture, dark money, dc, economics, funding, left, liberal, libertarian, politics, progressive, right, society, washington, writer

    In this episode: We talk about the Capital Research Center’s new report on Arabella Advisors, The Shadow Over America, which details a little-known $635 million “dark money” network and is a follow-on to our report from last year, Big Money in Dark Shadows, that initially charted the massive Arabella empire. Joining us today is the report’s author, CRC’s Hayden Ludwig, and another expert on Arabella and the activist Left in general, Joe Schoffstall, a writer for the Washington Free Beacon.

  • Episode 140: The Russia Collusion Archive (with guest Ken Braun)

    October 9th, 2020  |  27 mins 23 secs
    2016, conservative, election, fbi, hoax, investigation, journalism, justice department, left, liberal, libertarian, mass media, media, politics, progressive, right, robret mueller, russia, russia collusion, russiagate, society, trump

    In this episode: For two years former FBI Director Robert Mueller, acting as a Justice Department special prosecutor, conducted an investigation to determine if “individuals related to the Trump campaign are witting of or coordinating activities with the government of Russia related to the 2016 presidential election.” Despite breathless media speculation about the inevitable forthcoming proof of “Russian collusion,” none arrived. Joining us today is CRC’s Ken Braun, to discuss his work collecting and digging through the many key figures, breathless speculators, and clueless G-men for CRC’s Trump/Russia Hoax Archive. We will discuss background to the archive, some of the highlights of it, some of the highlights from it, and take-aways about the Russia investigation and what it tells us about federal law enforcement.

  • Episode 139: Illegal Ballot Harvesting (with guest John.Hinderaker)

    October 5th, 2020  |  19 mins 23 secs
    ballot harvesting, conservative, john hinderaker, left, liberal, libertarian, mail-in-voting, minnesota, populist, progressive, right, think tank

    In this episode: We are joined by John Hinderaker, Minnesotan and President of the Center of the American Experiment, a free market think tank holding the line against the state’s historic populist tendencies. We’ll discuss the Project Veritas allegations of illegal ballot harvesting Minnesota, ruminate on how true defunding the police has never been tried, and talk a little bit about Big Labor in the state.

  • Episode 138: The 2020 Dark Money Influencer They Won’t Tell You About

    September 25th, 2020  |  29 mins 50 secs
    big labor, conservative, culture, dark money, election, fox news, ginsburg, healthcare, justice, labor, left, liberal, libertarian, nonprofit, politics, progressive, project, right, society, supreme court, unions

    In this episode: We sit down to hash out some of the issues of the day as they relate to the research and work CRC is currently engaged in.