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Explaining Durable Business Coalitions in U.S. Politics: Conservatives and Corporate Interests across America's Statehouses

  • Alexander Hertel-Fernandez (a1)

Abstract

Scholars of business mobilization emphasize that national, cross-sector employer associations are difficult to create and maintain in decentralized pluralist polities like the United States. This article considers an unusual case of a U.S. business group—the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—that has succeeded in creating a durable coalition of diverse firms and conservative political activists. This group has emerged since the 1970s as an important infrastructure for facilitating corporate involvement in the policymaking process across states. Assessing variation within this group over time through both its successes and missteps, I show the importance of organizational strategies for cementing political coalitions between otherwise fractious political activists and corporate executives from diverse industries. A shadow comparison between ALEC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce further serves to reinforce the importance of organizational structure for business association management. My findings engage with literatures in both American business history and comparative political economy, underscoring the difficulties of forming business coalitions in liberal political economies while also showing how savvy political entrepreneurs can still successfully unite otherwise fragmented corporate interests. These conclusions, in turn, have implications for our understanding of business mobilization and corporate influence in politics.

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1. David Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes: The Political Power of Business in American Politics (Washington, DC: Beard Books, 1989); Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009); Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010); Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers, Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics (New York: Hill and Wang, 1987); Thomas B. Edsall, The New Politics of Inequality (New York: W.W. Norton, 1989); Burris, Val, “Elite Policy-Planning Networks in the United States,Research in Politics and Society 4 (1992): 111–34; Jerome L. Himmelstein, To the Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992); Akard, Patrick J., “Corporate Mobilization and Political Power: The Transformation of US Economic Policy in the 1970s,American Sociological Review 57 (1992): 597615 .

2. But see Lee Fang, The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right (New York: The New Press, 2013). For important case studies, see also Kim Phillips-Fein and Julian E. Zelizer, What's Good for Business: Business and American Politics since World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). As one Heritage Foundation report put it, “The entrepreneurial growth of conservative and libertarian policy groups on the state and local scene has been one of the sleeper trends of American government in the 1980s” (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “Special Report: Burgeoning Conservative Think-Tanks,” ALEC letter from Sam Brunelli to Tobacco Institute, 1991, Legacy Tobacco Archives, p. 2, University of California, San Francisco).

3. See also the concept of the “creation of an alliance between business and conservative intellectuals—a counterrevolution from above” at the national level described in Alice O'Connor, “Financing the Counterrevolution,” in Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, eds. Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).

4. Hertel-Fernandez, Alexander, “Who Passes Business's ‘Model Bills’? Policy Capacity and Corporate Influence in the U.S. States,Perspectives on Politics 12 (2014): 582602 .

5. Ibid.

6. Cathie Jo Martin and Duane Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests: Coordination, Growth, and Equality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Schmitter, Phillippe, “Still the Century of Corporatism?The Review of Politics 36 (1974): 85131 ; Wolfgang Streeck and Lane Kenworthy, “Theories and Practices of Neocorporatism,” in The Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies, and Globalization, eds. Thomas Janoski, Robert R. Alford, Alexander M. Hicks, and Mildred A. Schwartz (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 441–60; Hicks, Alexander and Kenworthy, Lane, “Cooperation and Political Economic Performance in Affluent Democratic Capitalism,American Journal of Sociology 103 (1998): 1631–72; Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, “Introduction,” in Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage, eds. Peter A. Hall and David Soskice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Graham Wilson, “American Business and Politics,” in Interest Group Politics, eds. Allan Cigler and Burdett Loomis (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1986).

7. Mark Smith, American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000); Cathie Jo Martin, Stuck in Neutral: Business and the Politics of Human Capital Investment Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).

8. Benjamin C. Waterhouse, Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013); Mark S. Mizruchi, The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013); John Judis, The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and the Betrayal of the Public Trust (New York: Routledge Press, 2001); Akard, “Corporate Mobilization and Political Power.”

9. Gerring, John, “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good For?American Political Science Review 98 (2004): 341–54, Seawright, Jason and Gerring, John, “Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options,Political Research Quarterly 61 (2008): 294308 .

10. But see especially Berk, Gerald and Schneiberg, Marc, “Varieties in Capitalism, Varieties of Association,Politics and Society 33 (2005): 4687 . Berk and Schneiberg's recognition of “variety in American capitalism” strongly resonates with my argument for a very different historical period.

11. Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests; Martin, Cathie Jo, “Sectional Parties, Divided Business,Studies in American Political Development 20 (2006): 160–84.

12. Mizruchi, The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite; Waterhouse, Lobbying America; Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes.

13. Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965). On the importance of selective benefits for business associations, see also Philippe C. Schmitter and Wolfgang Streeck, “The Organization of Business Interests: Studying the Associative Action of Business in Advanced Industrial Societies” (Cologne, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, 1999 [1981]).

14. See James Q. Wilson, Political Organizations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 153.

15. See Smith, American Business and Political Power, 72.

16. See Martin, Stuck in Neutral, 55–56.

17. On the importance of patrons as funding sources for political organizations, see Jack Walker, Mobilizing Interest Groups in America: Patrons, Professions, and Social Movements (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1991). On the patron-group nexus, including conflicts between funders’ and organizations’ objectives, see Steven M. Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010). On organizational maintenance imperatives, see Wilson, Political Organizations.

18. Teles, Steven M., “Transformative Bureaucracy: Reagan's Lawyers and the Dynamics of Political Investment,Studies in American Political Development 23 (2009): 6183 .

19. Galvin, Daniel J., “The Transformation of Political Institutions: Investments in Institutional Resources and Gradual Change in the National Party Committees,Studies in American Political Development 26 (2012): 5070 .

20. In addition, see Terry Moe's concept of “structural choice” in bureaucratic design in Terry Moe, “The Politics of Structural Choice: Toward a Theory of Public Bureaucracy,” in Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond, ed. Oliver E. Williamson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 116–53. See also the “second face of institutions” in Moe, Terry, “Power and Political Institutions,Perspectives on Politics 3 (2005): 215–33. Finally, see Paul Pierson's discussion of power as a mechanism for promoting path dependence, Paul Pierson, “Power and Path Dependence,” (Cambridge, MIT: Paper Presented at the Symposium on Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences, 2013).

21. See Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement, 20–21.

22. See Wilson, Political Organizations, chap. 10, for a discussion of resource crises as an important motivation for organizational change.

23. On the development and dissemination of organizational strategies, see Clemens, Elisabeth S., “Organizational Repertoires and Institutional Change: Women's Groups and the Transformation of U.S. Politics, 1890–1920,American Journal of Sociology 98 (1993): 755–98.

24. On political organizations duplicating the structure of the state, see also Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004).

25. Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes, 192

26. Ibid., 192–93.

27. Hacker and Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics; Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes.

28. Hacker and Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics; Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes.

29. See, e.g., Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer, Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); Kevin M. Kruse, White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007); Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Mizruchi, The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite; Andrew Rich, Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

30. Bruce Weber, “Paul Weyrich, 66, a Conservative Strategist, Dies,” The New York Times, December 18, 2008. Note, however, that Alan Crawford describes the founding of ALEC slightly differently. According to Crawford, Illinois Representative Donald Totten initially created the organization, “which would function as a clearinghouse of legislative research for state legislators” along with Juanita Bartnett, an Illinois Republican activist, who Crawford describes as the group's first executive director. Totten and Bartnett were approached by the Sarah Scaife Family Charitable Trusts, which offered a sizeable grant to ALEC—with the condition that ALEC add Paul Weyrich and Edwin Feulner (Heritage Foundation cofounders) to the board. That addition, according to Bartnett's account, drove the group in a much more political direction. See Alan Crawford, Thunder on the Right (New York: Pantheon, 1981).

31. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “Special Report.”

32. William A. Hunter, The “New Right”: A Growing Force in State Politics (Washington, DC: The Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies and the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights, 1980); ALEC, “Jeffersonian Ideas in Action! 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting,” 1998, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco; Natural Resource Defense Council, “Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council” (Washington, DC: National Resource Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife, 2002). The heavy involvement of politicians (and former politicians) in forming ALEC is consistent with most other business associations in the United States and elsewhere. As Martin and Swank have argued, individual firms are often too disorganized to form their own associations without the direction of elected officials, who themselves often have strong electoral motivations for the establishment of business groups (Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests).

33. ALEC, “Jeffersonian Ideas in Action!,” 14. On the history of the NCSL, see Karl T. Kurtz, “The History of Us,” State Legislatures (July/August 1999).

34. Sam Brunelli, “State Legislatures: The Next Conservative Battleground,” (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 1990), 2.

35. On the development of public-sector unions, see Walker, Alexis N., “Labor's Enduring Divide: The Distinct Path of Public Sector Unions in the United States,Studies in American Political Development 28 (2014): 175200 .

36. U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Members Appraise Associations (Washington, DC: Association Service Department, Chamber of Commerce of the United States, 1965).

37. ALEC, “American Legislative Exchange Council Bylaws,” form 990, pt. VI, line 77 (2007).

38. Donald P. Baker, “Conservatives Unite to Oppose D.C. Amendment,” Washington Post, December 3, 1978; Hunter, The “New Right.” ALEC had strong ties at its inception to the American Conservative Union (ACU), and its early directors included Stanton Evans, of the Union, and Edward Fuelner of the Heritage Foundation. Similarly, ALEC's initial executive director, Kathy Teague, was a leader of Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Research and Education Foundation (Hunter, The “New Right,” 63–64). The defeat of the DC voting rights amendment was an important victory for ALEC, which was credited as having an important role to play in the opposition movement (see, e.g., Hunter, The “New Right,” 63–64). It would use many of the same tactics it developed to defeat the amendment in later legislative campaigns (see, e.g., Baker, “Conservatives Unite to Oppose D.C. Amendment”; Natural Resource Defense Council, “Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States”).

39. Quoted in Hunter, The “New Right,” 68.

40. Author interview with former Tennessee state legislator, September 15, 2015.

41. ALEC, “1977 Suggested State Legislation” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1976); ALEC, “1978–79 Suggested State Legislation” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1977); ALEC, “The Source Book of American State Legislation,” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1979); ALEC, “The Source Book of American State Legislation 1981–82,” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1980).

42. Hunter, The “New Right,” 20.

43. Ninety-five percent of ALEC's funding in 1982 came from either grants or contributions, as opposed to membership or conference fees, according to ALEC's 1982 Annual Report. ALEC, “American Legislative Exchange Council 1982 Annual Report,” Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

44. “John M. Olin Foundation 1985 Annual Report,” container 50, People for the American Way Collection, University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library; “John M. Olin Foundation 1989 Annual Report,” container 50, People for the American Way Collection, University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library.

45. ALEC, “Jeffersonian Ideas in Action!,” 8.

46. Gene Bryant, “Profile of a New Right Group: American Legislative Exchange Council,” TEA PRgram, 1982, container 6, p. 4, People for the American Way Collection, University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library.

47. Hunter, The “New Right”; Natural Resource Defense Council, “Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States.”

48. Of course, this tax-exempt status also prohibited ALEC from engaging in lobbying or other overt political activities, a distinction that ALEC certainly would stretch to the limit.

49. On the history of tort reform in the 1980s, see Congressional Budget Office, “The Effects of Tort Reform: Evidence from the States” (The Congress of the United States, Washington, DC, 2004).

50. Robert Hunter, “Reform Insurance, Not Liability Law; Taming the Latest Insurance ‘Crisis,’” New York Times, April 13, 1986.

51. Marcus D. Rosenbaum, “The Crisis Does Exist…but Insurance Reform Is Possible,” New York Times, June 18, 1986.

52. Diane M. Landis, “Associations: January 27th,” Washington Post, January 27, 1986.

53. Quoted in Nicholas D. Kristof, “Insurance Woes Spur Many States to Amend Law on Liability Suits,” New York Times, March 31, 1986.

54. Congressional Budget Office, “The Effects of Tort Reform: Evidence from the States,” ix.

55. ALEC, “Risk and the Civil Justice System: The Crisis in Tort Law,” 1986, carton 6, folder 16, People for the American Way Collection, University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library.

56. ALEC, “Letter from Kathleen Teague to Raymond A. Oliverio,” 1979, container 6, p. 4, People for the American Way Collection, University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library; ALEC, “Letter from Kathleen Teague to Samuel D. Chilcote, Jr.,” 1984, container 6, People for the American Way Collection, University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library. 1983–1984 is the first year I could identify when the Tobacco Institute, the tobacco industry's main policy lobbying group, donated to ALEC.

57. ALEC, “Clearing the Air: The Environmental Tobacco Smoke Debate,The State Factor 12, no. 5 (1986), Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

58. Ibid.

59. Dennis Farney, “New Right Group Promotes Reagan Ideology in State Capitols from Boise to Baton Rouge,” Wall Street Journal, August 7, 1985.

60. Quoted in Neal R. Peirce and Robert Guskind, “The New Right Takes Its Political Show on the Road to Win Power in the States,” National Journal, October 13, 1984.

61. Ibid. (both quotes).

62. ALEC, “The Source Book of American State Legislation 1981–82.”

63. See also the following quote from Michael Byrd, a lobbyist for the National Council of State Legislatures on ALEC: “The original core were very right wing, but they have tried to temper some of that to be more acceptable. Still, if you look at the issues that they really beat the drums on, they tend to be pro-business, and almost on the far right” National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “Special Report,” 12.

64. For the federal grant review proposal, see ALEC, “The Source Book of American State Legislation.” For the public transportation and drug testing proposals, see “ALEC 1989 Annual Meeting” (Washington, DC, 1989).

65. ALEC, “Jeffersonian Ideas in Action!”

66. Author interview with former ALEC leader, September 30, 2015.

67. Author interview with former ALEC leader, September 30, 2015.

68. ALEC, “Winning the Debate in the States: 1992 Annual Report,” Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

69. Ibid., 28–29; on the importance of these foundations in funding the conservative movement more generally, see O'Connor, “Financing the Counterrevolution.” ALEC relied on conservative foundations to fund policy initiatives that were not of interest to private-sector firms, such as welfare reforms. Interestingly, internal ALEC documents indicate that ALEC lost support of conservative foundations during the late 1980s and early 1990s and that it tried to reestablish those connections in the mid-1990s. One business plan from 1996 argued that ALEC needed to “rebuild [its] credibility with conservative foundations” (ALEC, “Meeting the Challenge: Ideas + Action = Results: A Business Plan for the American Legislative Exchange Council,” 1996, p. 9, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco).

70. ALEC, “Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes,” 1996, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

71. Fred C. Noye, “Why the 1990s Will be the Decade of the States” (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 1991).

72. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “Special Report.”

73. ALEC, “Meeting the Challenge”; ALEC, “Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes.”

74. ALEC, “Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes.”

75. ALEC, “Meeting the Challenge,” 2.

76. ALEC's controller, for example, recommended to the Board of Directors that ALEC emphasize “policy, the main product” (ALEC, “Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes.”); ALEC, “Meeting the Challenge,” 2; See also ALEC, “Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes.”

77. ALEC, “Spring Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes,” 1997, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

78. ALEC, “Meeting the Challenge,” ALEC, “Spring Joint Board of Directors Meeting Minutes.”

79. ALEC, “Prospectus 1994–5, Guide to Private Sector Membership,” 1995, p. 3, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

80. ALEC, “1998 Business Plan,” Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco: Legacy Tobacco Archives.

81. For instance, see the group's task-force operating procedures: ALEC, “American Legislative Exchange Council Task Force Operating Procedure,” (American Legislative Exchange Council: Leaked Common Cause Documents, 2009).

82. ALEC, “Criminal Justice Reporter,” 1990, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco; ALEC, “Report Card on Crime and Punishment,” 1994, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco; John Biewen, “Corporate-Sponsored Crime Laws (Part I of Corrections, Inc.),” in American RadioWorks 2002). However, in recent years ALEC has sharply changed its direction on crime, seeking to move towards alternatives to incarceration. This is consistent with a broader shift by conservatives on criminal justice policy. (Charlotte Silver, “US criminal justice system: Turning a profit on prison reform?” in Al Jazeera America 2013), David Dagan and Steven M. Teles, “The Conservative War on Prisons,” in The Washington Monthly 2012).).

83. Author interview with former ALEC leader, September 30, 2015.

84. ALEC, “1998 Business Plan.”

85. ALEC, “Prospectus 1994–5, Guide to Private Sector Membership,” 11.

86. ALEC, “1998 Business Plan.”

87. Greenblatt, Alan, “What Makes Alec Smart?Governing the States and Localities 17, no. 1 (2003); Natural Resource Defense Council, “Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States.”

88. E.g., ALEC, “Electric Industry Restructuring,” 1996, Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

89. See Natural Resource Defense Council, “Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States,” 5.

90. ALEC, “Strategies for Balancing State Budgets” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1994).

91. Ibid.; John Berthoud and Samuel Brunelli, The Crisis in America's State Budgets: A Blueprint for Budget Reform (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1993).

92. Berthoud and Brunelli, The Crisis in America's State Budgets.

93. See, e.g., Myron Lieberman, Protecting America's Public Employees: A Handbook for Union Dues Reform (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 1999).

94. See, e.g., Wendell Cox and Samuel A. Brunelli, Assessing the Human Toll of America's Protected Class: The Economic Consequences of Excessive Public Employee Compensation (American Legislative Exchange Council, 1993), Legacy Tobacco Archives, University of California, San Francisco.

95. See, e.g., Andrews, John K., “So You Want to Start a Think-Tank: A Battlefield Report from the States,Policy Review (Summer 1989), 6265 , 63.

96. ALEC, “Strategies for Balancing State Budgets”; Berthoud and Brunelli, The Crisis in America's State Budgets.

97. ALEC, “Strategies for Balancing State Budgets.”

98. For example, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (himself an ALEC alumni) included ALEC model bill language in a budget repair bill that eliminated collective bargaining rights from the majority of state employees, defining collective bargaining as an “expensive entitlement” that the state could no longer afford in a time of fiscal shortfall (quoted in Steve Schultze and Don Walker, “Walker Says He Should Have Prepared Public Earlier for His Sweeping Changes,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 27, 2011.

99. Brendan Fischer, “ALEC in Wisconsin” (Madison, WI: Center for Media and Democracy, 2012).

100. Harold Myerson, “If Labor Dies, What's Next?” The American Prospect, (September/October, 2012, online edition). See also the discussion in Fang, The Machine.

101. For a similar argument linking fiscal crises to the federal government's “turnabout” against public-sector unionism, see Joseph A. McCartin, “Turnabout Years: Public Sector Unionism and the Fiscal Crisis,” in Rightward Bound: Making American Conservative in the 1970s, eds. Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).

102. Freeman, Richard B. and Han, Eunice, “The War Against Public Sector Collective Bargaining in the US,Journal of Industrial Relations 54 (2012), 386408 ; Steven Greenhouse, “Wisconsin's Legacy for Unions,” New York Times, February 23, 2014. For context, see especially Walker, “Labor's Enduring Divide.”

103. ALEC, “2009 Legislative Scorecard” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 2009); ALEC, “2010 Legislative Scorecard” (Washington, DC: American Legislative Exchange Council, 2010).

104. ALEC, “American Legislative Exchange Council Bylaws,” form 990, pt. VI, line 77 (2007).

105. Eric Lichtblau, “Martin Death Spurs Group to Readjust Policy Focus,” New York Times, April 18, 2012.

106. ALEC, “ALEC Board Meeting Notes” (The Guardian Leaked Documents, 2013).

107. See discussion of potential new corporate members in ALEC, “ALEC Board Meeting Notes,” (The Guardian Leaked Documents: 2013). Sensitivity to consumer and political backlash is a key criterion for potential new members.

108. Mary Bottari, “The ALEC-Backed War on Local Democracy” (Madison, WI: Center for Media and Democracy, 2015); Mary Bottari and Brendan Fischer, “Efforts to Deliver ‘Kill Shot’ to Paid Sick Leave Tied to ALEC,” Huffington Post, April 3, 2013.

109. Shaila Dewan, “Foes of Unions Try Their Luck in County Laws,” New York Times, December 18, 2014.

110. For the former conception, see Waterhouse, Lobbying America; Martin, Stuck in Neutral; Smith, American Business and Political Power. For the latter conception, see Hacker and Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics; Alyssa Katz, The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life (New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015).

111. James Verini, “Show Him the Money,” Washington Monthly (July/August, 2010).

112. On the historical narrative of this endorsement and the Republican backlash, see Martin, Stuck in Neutral, chap. 5.

113. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

114. Josh Harkinson, “Chamber: We're Political “Reinsurance Salesmen,”” Mother Jones (June 30, 2010).

115. Quoted in Kimberley A. Strassel, “Business Fights Back,” Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2009.

116. Quoted in Harkinson, “Chamber.”

117. See Katz, The Influence Machine, chap. 1.

118. On climate change legislation, see ibid., chap. 5. On health reform legislation, see ibid., chap. 7.

119. Harkinson, “Chamber.”

120. Josh Harkinson, “The Chamber's Numbers Game,” Mother Jones (October 13, 2009).

121. Zachary Shahan, “Why Nike, Apple, Best Buy, Johnson & Johnson, & Others Don't Jive with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” PlanetSave (blog), April 13, 2011: http://planetsave.com/2011/04/13/why-nike-apple-best-buy-johnson-johnson-others-dont-jive-with-the-u-s-chamber-of-commerce/ [accessed 2/15/16].

122. Ibid.

123. See, e.g., Brunelli, “State Legislatures.”

124. Waterhouse, Lobbying America, 246.

125. Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests.

I am grateful for insights I received from Lee Fang, Steve Spaulding, Chris Taylor, and Bill Meierling, as well as the archival resources from the “People for the American Way” Collection at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Tobacco Legacy Documents Library at the University of California, San Francisco. Colin Brown, Chase Foster, Cathie Jo Martin, Rob Mickey, Matto Mildenberger, Kathy Thelen, Steven Teles, and Theda Skocpol, as well as participants at the Conservative and Right-Wing Politics Conference and the Comparative Politics Workshop at Harvard, offered very useful feedback. Thanks as well to the editors and reviewers for their careful suggestions. I acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship, the Harvard Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, and the State Policy Network. All errors are my own.

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Explaining Durable Business Coalitions in U.S. Politics: Conservatives and Corporate Interests across America's Statehouses

  • Alexander Hertel-Fernandez (a1)

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