Lee Drutman

Senior Fellow, New America
Areas of Expertise:
  • Revitalizing U.S. Democracy
  • State & Local Government
  • Voting

Connect with Lee

About Lee

Drutman is a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America, the author of The Business of America is Lobbying, and winner of the 2016 American Political Science Association's Robert A. Dahl Award. He also teaches in the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. Drutman's research interests include lobbying, influence, money in politics, electoral systems, and polarization.




"The Complexities of Lobbying: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Profession" Political Science & Politics 43, no. 4 (2010): 834-837.

Argues that it is not easy to define lobbying. Focuses on demystifying the theories and application of lobbying.

"The Inside View: Using the Enron Email Archive to Understand Business Lobbying" (with Daniel J. Hopkins). Legislative Studies Quarterly 38, no. 1 (2013): 5-30.

Presents new methods and data that enable us to consider the internal processes of corporate political attention. 

"Congressional Staff and the Revolving Door: The Impact of Regulatory Change" (with Bruce E. Cain). Election Law Journal 13, no. 1 (2014): 27-44.

Discusses the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLGOA) which attempted to slow the revolving door between Congress and the Washington lobbying industry with one year bans on contacts between ex-staffers and their former colleagues in Congress. Explains the effects of HLGOA on various offices in the House and Senate.

The Business of America is Lobbying: How Corporations Became Politicized and Politics Became More Corporate (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Provides a fascinating and detailed picture of what corporations do in Washington, why they do it, and why it matters. Argues that proactive and aggressive engagement could help companies' bottom lines. Discusses reforms in lobbying.

In the News

Lee Drutman quoted on the Democratic party, "Democrats Have Plenty of Anger, but Few Good Ideas" The Economist, May 17, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Todd Shields and Bill Alison, "AT&T’s Top Washington Official out over Hiring of Trump’s Lawyer" Bloomberg View, May 11, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted on lobbying in Henry Grabar, "Is It Normal for the President’s Lawyer to Run a Political Consulting Firm?" Slate, May 9, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted on lobbying in D.C. in Derek Kravitz & Alex Mierjeski, "How Former Members of the Trump Administration are Working Around a Non-Lobbying Pledge" Pacific Standard, May 4, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted on Trump nominees in Clio Chang, "Was It Worth It for Democrats to Vote for Mike Pompeo?" Splinter News, April 26, 2018.
"Is There a Case for Political Optimism?," Lee Drutman (with Hollie Russon Gilman, Chayenne Polimedio, Heather Hurlburt, Mark Schmitt, Elena Souris, and Christian Hosam), Vox, April 23, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted on lobbying the Trump administration in Lindsey Rupp and Mark Niquette, "Rare Coalition Bands Together to Fight Trump Tariffs" Bloomberg Politics, April 11, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted on congressional hearings in Kate Irby, "Why Twitter and Google aren’t Supporting the Honest Ads Act as Facebook Endorses It" The News & Observer, April 9, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted on lobbyists and Silicon Valley in Peter Overby, "Lobbyists, Campaign Cash and Think Tanks: How Silicon Valley Tackled Politics" NPR, April 9, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Matthew Rozsa, "More Than 1 in 4 Americans Show Some Support for Authoritarianism" Salon, March 16, 2018.
"Will Trump Break American Democracy?," Lee Drutman, Vox, March 20, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Justin Talbot-Zorn, "How to Reverse the Trump-Era Brain Drain" The American Prospect, March 7, 2018.
"The Looming Legitimacy Crisis of the 2018 Midterms," Lee Drutman, Vox, March 9, 2018.
"‘The NRA Has Basically Become Part of the Republican Party’," Lee Drutman, Interview with Janine Jackson, FAIR's CounterSpin, March 1, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Ed Kilgore, "Joe Manchin is Right: Washington Sucks" New York Magazine, February 2, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Jake Novak, "Stop Blaming the NRA for Failed Gun Control Efforts" CNBC, February 16, 2018.
"Why Parkland Could be a Turning Point for Gun Control," Lee Drutman, Vox, February 21, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Yamily Habib, "The NRA and the Republican Party, A Limitless Romance" AL DÍA News Media, February 19, 2018.
Lee Drutman quoted in Monica Hunter-Hart, "Trump’s Speeches to the NRA Promised He’d Never Let Gun Owners Down" Bustle , February 15, 2018.
"Why so Many Members of Congress are Retiring," Lee Drutman, Vox, February 1, 2018.
"Dear Jeff Flake: Time to Start a Third Party," Lee Drutman, January 16, 2018.
Lee Drutman's research on John Harwoood. Lee Drutman, "Trump's Racial Provocations, So Shocking in the White House, Helped Get Him There," CNBC, January 12, 2018.
"How Democrats Can Extend the Winning Streak into 2018," Lee Drutman, New York Times, November 13, 2017.
Lee Drutman quoted on the future of the Democratic Party in Isaac Chotiner, "Can This Donkey be Saved?" Slate, June 27, 2017.
Lee Drutman quoted on lobbyists, "Lobbyists Go Underground" The Economist, August 31, 2017.
"What We Get Wrong about Lobbying and Corruption," Lee Drutman, The Washington Post, April 16, 2015.
"The Real Civil War in the Democratic Party," Lee Drutman, New York Times, July 26, 2017.
Regular contributionsLee Drutman to The Atlantic.
Regular contributionsLee Drutman to Vox.