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 110: What the Green New Deal Would Mean

    February 24th, 2020  |  10 mins 5 secs
    alexandria ocasio-cortez, aoc, environment, green, mitch mcconnell, new york, saikat chakrabarti, seiu, senate, service employees international union, texas public policy foundation, u.s. economy, union, united states

    Last year, the hard-left—pressure groups like the Sunrise Movement, politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and labor unions like the Service Employees International Union—presented the “Green New Deal,” a package of radical environmentalist policy demands that ranged (according to an “FAQ” document that the Green New Dealers denounced and memory-holed shortly after its release) from banning air travel to retrofitting every building in the United States. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell denounced it as a “radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy”; Saikat Chakrabarti, one of Rep. Ocasio Cortez’s close allies and a former aide, admitted the Green New Deal was “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy” plan.

    But what would the plan actually mean for consumers and families? Today, I’m joined by Jason Isaac, Senior Manager for the “Life: Powered” project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) to dig into that question and other issues related to energy both in Texas and nationally.

  • Episode 109: State Debates Enforcing Workers’ Rights

    February 13th, 2020  |  6 mins 49 secs
    big labor, conservative, crony, democrats, district, government, labor, labor department, left, legislate, legislature, liberal, pennsylvania, redistricting, right, transparency, unions

    In this episode: Democrats announce a $50 million campaign to take control of drawing legislative district boundaries, the Pennsylvania Legislature considers legislation to enforce the Supreme Court’s Janus decision and government worker rights, and the Labor Department promulgates a rule to increase transparency of government worker unions.

  • Episode 108: The Iowa Democratic Caucus Disaster

    February 6th, 2020  |  7 mins 9 secs
    big labor, caucus, citizens united, conservative, controversy, corporations, democracy, democratic, fec, free speech, house of representatives, influencers, iowa, left, liberal, libertarian, organized labor, politics, public funding, right, san francisco, supreme court, unions

    In this episode, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reliance on a Democratic-establishment-connected political vendor results in vote-counting-chaos, the House of Representatives prepares to affirm its loyalty to the will of Organized Labor, and San Francisco lefties fight over campaign finance disclosure.

  • Episode 107: Citizens United 10 Years Later

    January 30th, 2020  |  9 mins 58 secs
    big labor, citizens united, conservative, controversy, corporations, democracy, fec, free speech, influencers, institute for free speech, left, liberal, libertarian, politics, public funding, research, right, scott blackburn, supreme court, unions

    Ten years ago this month, the Supreme Court handed down a controversial decision with bearing on influence and politics: Citizens United v. FEC. As liberal activists push ever harder to “overturn” the decision, I’m joined this week by Scott Blackburn, Research Director of the Institute For Free Speech, who recently authored a brief “Citizens United After 10 Years: More Speech, Better Democracy” laying out the case that far from “destroying democracy,” the Supreme Court’s holding expanded political competition.

  • Episode 106: What If Planned Parenthood Lost Public Funding?

    January 23rd, 2020  |  8 mins 51 secs
    big labor, bureau of labor statistics, conservative, green new deal, left, liberal, libertarian, naomi klein, planned parenthood, pro life, pro-abortion, public funding, radical-left, right, socialism, unions

    In this episode, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports continuing decline in Big Labor’s ranks, radical-left author Naomi Klein admits that the Green New Deal is about making your life worse, and as pro-lifers March for Life we consider the possible ramifications of Planned Parenthood losing public funding.

  • Episode 105: RIP, Sir Roger Scruton

    January 17th, 2020  |  8 mins 51 secs
    america, big labor, bill schambra, british, conservative, department of labor, left. right, liberal, libertarian, obama, obama administration, philanthropy, sir roger scruton, unions

    In this episode, the Department of Labor takes deregulatory action to undo a key Obama administration favor to its supporters in Big Labor, center-right scholar of philanthropy Bill Schambra offers an explanation for Americans’ declining trust in nonprofits that satisfies Ockham’s Razor, and we remember the eminent British Conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, who passed away this week.

  • Episode 104: Howard Zinn: Historian, Author, and Communist?

    January 9th, 2020  |  7 mins 30 secs
    college, communist, dangerous documentaries, film, himmelfarb, history, howard zinn, industry, left-wing, philanthropy, senators, tech, union, victorian

    In this episode, a union with close ties to top left-wing Senators targets the technology industry for an organizing campaign; our colleagues at Dangerous Documentaries take aim at the late, probably-Communist, and terribly influential historian-author Howard Zinn; and we remember Gertrude Himmelfarb, historian of Victorian-era philanthropy, who passed away before the New Year.

  • Episode 103: 3 Pillars Supporting the Left

    January 2nd, 2020  |  6 mins 41 secs
    2019, 2020, allen greenberg, apple, barbara picower, billionaire, brexit, conservative, financing, funding, george soros, investor, jpb foundation, laurene powell-jobs, left, new year, open society foundations, philanthropy, steve jobs, susan thompson, united kingdom, warren buffett

    We’re starting off the New Year by taking one last look back at the old year, thanks to the “2019 Philanthropy Awards” published by Inside Philanthropy, a left-of-center news and commentary source on institutional funders. While listeners will likely be familiar with Inside Philanthropy’s “Philanthropist of the Year”—billionaire investor and founder of the Open Society Foundations George Soros—the website highlighted three other figures and institutions that bear watching in the left-of-center philanthropic world beyond the “man who broke the Bank of England”…and who in so doing may have inadvertently made possible Brexit by forcing the United Kingdom out of the predecessor financial arrangements to the European Union’s single currency. We note Inside Philanthropy’s runner-up to Soros, JPB Foundation funder Barbara Picower; Inside Philanthropy’s “foundation president of the year,” Allen Greenberg of the Warren Buffett-funded Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation; and Inside Philanthropy’s “Least Transparent Mega-Giver,” Laurene Powell-Jobs, Apple executive Steve’s widow.

  • Episode 102: Green Groups Push to Subsidize the Rich

    December 19th, 2019  |  9 mins 17 secs
    advocacy, auto industry, conservative, electric cars, fiat chrysler, kickbacks, left, liberal, progressive, right, subsidies, tax benefits, taxes, uaw, unions, united auto workers

    In this episode, a lawsuit alleges that United Auto Workers leadership was prepared to sell out its membership as a result of kickbacks from Fiat Chrysler, my colleague Ken Braun exposes the taxpayer-funded “labor centers” that use public university resources for political organizing and policy advocacy, and “progressives” offer tax benefits to rich blue-staters and drivers of electric cars that start at $40,000 list price.

  • Episode 101: Teachers’ Union Funding Abortion and Higher Taxes

    December 12th, 2019  |  7 mins 41 secs
    abortion, business, conservative, dark money, funding, left-wing, libertarian, lobbying, national education association, nea, political involvement, round table, taxes, teacher unions, unions, wellspring

    In this episode, we look behind the curtain of a massive “dark money” entity that funds left-of-center advocacy, the National Education Association’s annual report illustrates the teachers union’s massive left-wing political involvement, and we issue a caution to those pushing to restrain business from being business.

  • Episode 100: 100th EPISODE!

    December 6th, 2019  |  11 mins 32 secs
    arabella advisors, big labor, corruption, dark money, environmentalists, pro act, southern poverty law center, splc, strikes, uaw, unions, united auto workers

    In this, our 100th episode, we look back at five major stories that have crisscrossed our first 100 episodes: Corruption at the United Auto Workers labor union, the secretive “dark money” network of Arabella Advisors, the numerous times environmentalists campaigned to make life more unpleasant, the chaos at the top of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the introduction of legislation to do Big Labor just about every favor it ever asked for.

  • Episode 99: FedEx Vs. New York Times

    November 21st, 2019  |  8 mins 19 secs
    arabella advisors, conservative, corruption, dark money, fedex, history, labor, left, new york times, politico, scandal, tax reform bill, uaw, union, united auto workers

    The ongoing United Auto Workers corruption scandal deepens as the union desperately seeks to avoid a federal takeover, FedEx’s leadership has it out with the New York Times’s reporting on its involvement with the 2017 tax reform bill, and Politico comes oh-so-close to figuring out what’s going on at Arabella Advisors.

  • Episode 98: History of Left-wing Movements

    November 14th, 2019  |  8 mins 12 secs
    communism, conservative, conservative movement, dictator, history, labor, mao, mythmaking, reform conservative, socialism, students for a democratic society, uaw, union, worker centers

    The story of the United Auto Workers’ presidential cabin allegedly built with non-union labor full circle, dig into the history of left-wing movements like Students for a Democratic Society, and debunk some “reform conservative” mythmaking about “worker centers” and other so-called “alt-labor” organizations.

  • Episode 97: Leftists Freak at Twitter Censorship?

    November 7th, 2019  |  7 mins 23 secs
    big labor, censorship, conservative, corporate pandering, corruption, left, political, progressivism, twitter, uaw, union, united auto workers

    In this episode, more developments in the United Auto Workers corruption scandal should illustrate cautions for conservatives courting Big Labor, Twitter announces a controversial proposal to restrict political advocacy on its service, and we dig into the world of professional corporate pandering to left-progressivism under the label “corporate social responsibility.”

  • Episode 96: Sexual Harassment Complaints Prompt Leave of Absence

    October 31st, 2019  |  6 mins 9 secs
    aba, american bar association, annie e. casey foundation, bar, casey foundation, conservative, federal worker union, lawyers, left, liberal, mike lee, progressive, right, senator, sexual harassment, union, union president, utah, workplace harassment

    In this episode, a federal worker union president takes a leave of absence after 10 people alleged he sexually harassed union employees, we look at the how the Annie E. Casey Foundation drifted toward the hard left, and Senator Mike Lee of Utah calls for treating the American Bar Association like a normal left-of-center interest group in the judicial nomination process.

  • Episode 95: George Soros' Big Money Lobbying

    October 24th, 2019  |  6 mins 35 secs
    business, chicago, chicago teachers union, conservative, federal government, general motors, gm, guilty, left, liberal, libertarian, lobbying, open society foundations, pac, philanthropy, right, scam pac, soros, uaw, union, united auto workers, welfare

    Chicago Teachers Union members extend their strike while UAW members continue striking as they vote on the proposed GM contract, the government secures a guilty plea from an operator of a deceptive “Scam PAC,” and the “social welfare” arm of George Soros’s advocacy-philanthropic network spends eye-popping amounts lobbying the federal government.