This paucity of serious work is not an accident. Think tanks themselves are meant to influence the political process, and think tanks have to get their funding somewhere. Some of the worst Washington corruption scandals in recent years have involved think tanks leveraging their reputations to help corporate donors.
So the latest policy proposal from the liberal-leaning Roosevelt Institute deserves special attention. Authored by incoming federal trade commissioner Rohit Chopra as he awaited Senate confirmation for his new post, the paper marks the first comprehensive attempt to rethink federal anti-corruption policy in years ― maybe since the Watergate era. Instead of focusing on campaign contributions and elections, Chopra takes a look at the way special interests exercise undue influence over the federal bureaucracy and the broader policy debate in Washington.
“We can’t just address money in politics,” Chopra told HuffPost. “We have to address money in government.”