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 160: The Worst Bill in Congress: The PRO Act (with guest Edwin Egee)

    March 12th, 2021  |  30 mins 11 secs
    biden administration, big labor, congress, conservative, culture, democrat, ed egee, filibuster, house of representatives, left, legislation, liberal, libertarian, national retail federation, pro act, progressive, republican, right, senate, society, unions, workers

    In this episode: This week, the U.S. House of Representatives again advanced the odious catalog of Big Labor favors known as the “PRO Act” on a nearly party-line vote. While the legislation will likely stall in the Senate as long as the legislative filibuster remains in effect, the proposal remains a priority of the Biden administration, leaving Big Labor’s Sword of Damocles hanging over American workers and American businesses for at least the remainder of this Congress. Joining us to discuss the threat posed by the legislation is Ed Egee, vice president for workforce development at the National Retail Federation.

  • Episode 159: Standing Up to Woke Capital (with guest Stephen Soukup)

    March 5th, 2021  |  26 mins 48 secs
    book, business, conservative, culture, democrat, dictatorship, esg, investing, left, liberal, libertarian, money, political correctness, politics, progressive, republican, right, society, stephen soukup, wall street, woke

    In this episode: We welcome Stephen Soukup, author of The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business to discuss…well, woke capital and how political correctness captured big business. (Isn’t it helpful when a book does exactly what it says on the cover?) Soukup is publisher and vice president of the Political Forum, an independent research provider.

  • Episode 158: Power and Influence of Teachers Unions (with guest Lisa Turkeltaub)

    February 25th, 2021  |  34 mins 35 secs
    children, conservative, democrat, distance learning, education, fairfax, fea, leadership, left, liberal, libertarian, lisa turkeltaub, parents, progressive, public schools, reopening, republican, right, school boards, schools, special interests, teachers, unions

    In this episode: Across the country, bold political leadership from both parties has eased or overridden special interest groups’ resistance to reopening public schools, but linguini-spined leaders of both parties have permitted teachers unions to force children to endure nearly a full year of isolation and virtual learning. Fighting the battle at Ground Zero in the DC suburbs have been the parents of Fairfax County Public Schools, who stand opposed by the Fairfax Education Association—which back last summer set a medically impossible standard to return to work. Excuse me, to classrooms, the union has insisted to me that the schools are open for virtual learning. I regret the error.

    Joining us is one of those parents, Lisa Turkeltaub, to discuss the efforts and organizing of OpenFCPS, a campaign group pushing to reopen the schools for real.

  • Episode 157: The Politically Incorrect Guide (with guest Jake Klein)

    February 19th, 2021  |  19 mins 20 secs
    american, authors, culture, democrat, documentaries, left, libertarian, michael malice, pc, pig, podcasters, politically incorrect, politics, progressive, regnery publishing, republican, right, school, series, society, tom woods, universities, web-series

    In this week’s episode: We switch gears slightly and invite Capital Research Center’s Jake Klein, head of our in-house Dangerous Documentaries video production brand, to discuss its latest project: The Politically Incorrect Guides, an animated web-series featuring notable podcasters and authors Tom Woods and Michael Malice based on Regnery Publishing’s book series of the same name that educates viewers beyond the politically correct rhetoric increasingly infecting American universities and society at large.

  • Episode 156: Defending the Freedom of Association (with guest Jennifer Braceras)

    February 12th, 2021  |  22 mins 49 secs
    civil rights, conservative, constitution, culture, dark money, democrat, disclosure, donors, freedom, information, iwlc, jennifer braceras, left, liberal, libertarian, philanthropy, politics, privacy, progressive, republican, right, supreme court

    In this episode: We discuss an issue that is well known to those involved in politics and to donors, but perhaps not as well known to the average voter. So we’re hoping to shed some light on it. The issue is donor disclosure, and we have as a special guest Jennifer Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, project of independent women’s forum, and a former member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who wrote a very sharp op-ed on the subject recently, "Freedom Of Association Is Under Attack. Will The Supreme Court Protect It?" We discuss a few cases surrounding donor disclosure that could be heard by the Supreme Court in the coming months.

  • Episode 155: Party Realignment: Radical Republicans, Corporate Democrats?

    February 6th, 2021  |  13 mins 23 secs
    2020, business, capitol, commerce, conservative, culture, democrats, labor, left, liberal, libertarian, parties, politics, progressive, republicans, right, society, tech, wall street

    In this episode: Continuing what has become something of a series on how American big business, big labor, and other “bigs” have gotten aggressively more aligned with progressive liberalism, today we turn to Big Business—Wall Street, Big Tech, and so forth. Groups like the Chamber of Commerce were once stalwarts of the Republican Party, but in the 2020 election they were far less aligned with their historical allies Joining me to discuss the realignment of Big Business support is my Capital Research Center colleague Shane Devine.

  • Episode 154: The Left’s “Dark Money” Machine

    January 29th, 2021  |  13 mins 57 secs
    2020, biden, california, conservative, dark money, election, freedom, georgia, kamala harris, left, liberal, libertarianism, litigation, mark zuckerberg, money, philanthropy, phill kline, politics, privacy, progressive, right, senate, society

    In this episode: We welcome special guest Dan Judy, vice president at North Star Opinion Research in DC. He’s a Georgia native and a fellow UGA alumnus (Go Dawgs!)

  • 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.