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About The Book

Two veteran investigative journalists trace the rise of the modern lobbying industry through the three dynasties—one Republican, two Democratic—that have enabled corporate interests to infiltrate American politics and undermine our democracy.

On K Street, a few blocks from the White House, you’ll find the offices of the most powerful men in Washington. In the 1970s, the city’s center of gravity began to shift away from elected officials in big marble buildings to a handful of savvy, handsomely paid operators who didn’t answer to any fixed constituency.

The cigar-chomping son of a powerful Congressman, an illustrious political fixer with a weakness for modern art, a Watergate-era dirty trickster, the city’s favorite cocktail party host…these were the sorts of men who now ran Washington. Over four decades, they’d chart new ways to turn their clients’ cash into political leverage, abandoning favor-trading in smoke-filled rooms for increasingly sophisticated tactics like “shadow lobbying,” where underground campaigns sparked seemingly organic public outcries to pressure lawmakers into taking actions that would ultimately benefit corporate interests rather than the common good. With billions of dollars at play, these lobbying dynasties enshrined in Washington a pro-business consensus that would guide the country’s political leaders—Democrats and Republicans alike—allowing companies to flourish even as ordinary Americans buckled under the weight of stagnant wages, astronomical drug prices, unsafe home loans, and digital monopolies. A good lobbyist could kill even a piece of legislation supported by the president, both houses of Congress, and a majority of Americans.

Yet, nothing lasts forever. Amidst a populist backlash to the soaring inequality these lobbyists helped usher in, Washington’s pro-business alliance suddenly began to unravel. And while new ways for corporations to control the federal government would emerge, the men who’d once built K Street found themselves under legal scrutiny and on the verge of financial collapse. One had his namesake firm ripped away by his own colleagues. Another watched his business shut down altogether. One went to prison. And one was found dead behind the 18th green of an exclusive golf club, with a bottle of $1,500 wine at his feet and a bullet in his head.

A dazzling and infuriating portrait of fifty years of corporate influence in Washington, The Wolves of K Street is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction—irresistibly dramatic, spectacularly timely, explosive in its revelations, and absolutely impossible to put down.

About The Authors

Tom Williams

Brody Mullins is an investigative reporter in the Washington, DC, bureau of The Wall Street Journal, where he led the team that won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

Tom Williams

Luke Mullins is a contributing writer at Politico magazine, where he covers the people and institutions that control Washington’s levers of power.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 20, 2024)
  • Length: 624 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982120597

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Raves and Reviews

“An instant classic—deeply reported, powerfully told and profoundly important. It’s one of the best books I've read on Washington in many years.”
—Peter Baker, New York Times bestselling author of The Man Who Ran Washington (on X)

“A not-so-guilty pleasure…. The Mullins brothers cleverly set up their story as a mystery… with considerable narrative skill and novelistic detail.”
—James B. Stewart, The New York Times

“If you want to understand how American democracy went off the rails, all you need to do is read this book.”
—Christopher Leonard, New York Times bestselling author of The Lords of Easy Money

“A vivid, brilliantly told tale that unfolds like a novel, this is the most potent portrait of the Washington swamp you will read.”
—Ken Auletta, New York Times bestselling author of Googled

“Absorbing.... This is the deep state.”
—Franklin Foer, The Atlantic

“Engrossing…. Smoothly written, meticulously researched, The Wolves of K Street informs and mesmerizes.”
The Guardian

“A fast-paced deep dive into a world of greed and ambition, inhabited by a uniquely fascinating group of wheelers and dealers. The Wolves of K Street is a history of not only how money and power have influenced American politics, but how the work of lobbyists touches the lives of every American.”
—Kate Andersen Brower, New York Times bestselling author of The Residence

“One of the most amazing developments in modern American politics is how Donald Trump’s Republican Party seems to have supplanted FDR’s Democratic Party as the political home of the ‘working man.’ … Anyone who wants to understand this transformation should read Brody and Luke Mullins’s new book.”
The Washington Free Beacon

“However nefarious you think the lobbying industry is in Washington, Brody and Luke Mullins have news: It’s worse. Not even during the Roaring Twenties and the Gilded Age did corporate American wield so much influence. In their deeply reported, compelling new book, the Mullins brothers track how that happened, and the disastrous consequences.”
—Susan Page, New York Times bestselling author of The Matriarch

“This is nothing less than the definitive history of how corporate lobbyists took over Washington. The Mullins brothers have brought us the story of how Washington really works—and for whom.”
—Jonathan Martin, New York Times bestselling coauthor of This Will Not Pass

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