The Inside View: Using the Enron Email Archive to Understand Corporate Political Attention
48 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 25 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 25, 2012
For decades, scholars have debated the role of corporations in American politics. To date, they have relied on either interviews or publicly disclosed spending and lobbying reports. This paper presents new methods and data that enable us to consider the internal processes of corporate political attention instead. Aided by automated content analysis, this paper uses more than 250,000 internal emails from Enron to observe its political attention between 1999 and 2002. These emails depict Enron‘s employees as primarily focused on monitoring and formally participating in political processes, including significant participation in bureaucratic processes. Only a small fraction of their political attention focused on campaigns and elections.
Keywords: lobbying, business influence, Enron, elections, automated content analysis, support vector machines
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