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Laboratories for Corruption

How Special Interests Are Driving Harmful State Policies

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Federalism encourages states to act as “laboratories of democracy,” wherein states experiment with untested ideas and policies to gauge their effectiveness and potential value elsewhere. This mantle of states being laboratories for democracy can be used to promote policies that advance the public good. But states can also be used as a testing ground for policies that skew political and economic power toward corporations or billionaires and away from everyday Americans.

Many harmful state policies—such as irresponsible tax cuts, deregulation, and attacks on unions and essential workplace protections—are byproducts of corporate lobbying and conservative special interest groups whose main purpose is to help the rich and powerful exploit and manipulate the lawmaking process.

Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion on how corporations and special interest groups promote state policies that make corporations and wealthy donors richer, at the public’s expense. It will also examine how lawmakers backed by these groups further corrupt democratic processes to maintain power and keep harmful policies in place.