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The rise of shadow lobbying and its influence on decades of US policy

An illustration of an open door with a dark shadow behind it. A person carrying a duffle bag is approaching the door, and the tone is uncertain.
Illustration: Kristen Radtke / The Verge

On today’s episode of Decoder, we’re talking about money and politics — always a good time — and how they come together in the form of lobbying in America. It’s hard to imagine a time when the influence of big corporations and mouthy billionaires didn’t touch every part of American politics, but the kind of lobbying we have now didn’t really exist before the 1970s.

That’s when big corporations started reacting to a cratering economy and did what they do best: throw money around. Now, of course, our political debates about everything from energy and finance to healthcare are deeply intertwined with corporations and their money — and new big players in tech have started spending tons of political money of their own.

To understand the…

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