The Mighty Have Fallen: Why Special Interests Almost Always Win and What We Can Learn from When They Lose

May 13, 2014May 14, 2014
Rayburn House Office Building B-340

Event Speakers

Matthew D. Mitchell

Senior Research Fellow

Equally disparaged by Democrats and Republicans, Whigs and Mugwumps, special interests have long dominated American politics.

Please join the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and Senior Research Fellow Dr. Matthew Mitchell for a Capitol Hill Campus program exploring special interests in the United States.

This presentation will:

  • Examine both historical and contemporary definitions of “special interest”;
  • Explain why economists and political scientists believe special interests so often win;
  • Present several “exceptions to the rule,” case studies in which special interests lost and the general interest prevailed;
  • Explore the lessons learned from this history to understand how public policy can be made to serve the general welfare instead of the special welfare of particular groups. 

Space is limited. Please register online for this event.

This event is free and open to all congressional and federal agency staff. This event is not open to the general public. Food will be provided. Due to space constraints, please no interns. Questions? Please contact Caitlyn Van Orden, Event Associate, at or (703) 993-4925.

Download PDF of Presentation