Silverstein describes how CAP, in just a few years, grew from seed money provided by the secretive Democracy Alliance of progressive donors to obtain assets of more than $20 million. Its finances took a hit in 2006 despite the Democratic victory in that year’s midterm elections. The following year, CAP management created the Business Alliance, “a membership rewards program for corporate contributors.”

Money came in. And when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the alliance grew. “CAP’s total assets now top $44 million,” Silverstein reports, “and its Action Fund treasury holds $6 million more.” CAP’s ability to reflect and influence the opinion of liberal elites, however, is priceless.

Silverstein obtained a document CAP used in 2011 to pitch possible members of the Business Alliance. Slog past the barely literate sentences—“Recognizing the importance of the private sector perspective in the issues debate, the Business Alliance program has proven to be a successful way to keep CAP and its experts connected with and cognizant of business perspectives on the issues of highest priority on our work”—and one arrives finally at the nitty-gritty…

Not stated directly, of course, is that what all of the briefings and interactions and councils get you is entry into the corridors of a think tank with close ties to the presidency. Podesta, whose brother is one of the most influential lobbyists in town, oversaw the transition team that staffed the Obama administration. As American Progress chairman, he watches over his empire. The current head of CAP is Neera Tanden, who has worked for Obama and Hillary Clinton. Tom Perriello, a former liberal Democratic congressman who was one of the president’s favorites, runs CAP Action. These are influential people.