Ex-Reasoner Ryan Sager has a great piece up on the history of the movement for campaign finance reform that's simultaneously mindblowing and, in a sense, unsurprising. Sager meticulously documents an elaborate, multi-million dollar effort by the Pew Charitable Trusts to create the illusion of a mass movement in favor of CFR. Go read the whole thing, though I've got to cite some bits of surprising candor of an ex-Pew employee from a transcript of a videotape Sager discovered:
Having been on the Hill I knew that … if Congress thought this was a Pew effort, it'd be worthless. It'd be 20 million bucks thrown down the drain. So, in order, in essence, to convey the impression that this was something coming naturally from outside the Beltway, I felt it was best that Pew stay in the background…. We had a scare. As the debate was progressing and getting pretty close, George Will stumbled across a report that we had done and attacked it in his column. And a lot of his partisans were becoming aware of Pew's role and were feeding him information. And he started to reference the fact that Pew had played a large role in this—that this was a liberal attempt to hoodwink Congress. But you know what the good news is from my perspective? Journalists didn't care . . . So no one followed up on the story. And so there was a panic there for a couple of weeks because we thought the story was going to begin to gather steam, and no one picked it up.