The 2008 presidential campaign began with predictions that outside groups would play influential roles. Now nonprofits are quietly mobilizing, especially on the Left. One network of liberal activist groups, started by Progress Now, is trying to shape the debate with a streamlined operation of small staff, low budgets and the Internet—and is backed by powerful connections from the Left.

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Will Evans is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting has prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations have exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.