Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns describes his latest project as a series about the most effective lobbying campaign in American history.
“Prohibition,” a three-part documentary by Burns and Lynn Novick that began airing Sunday on PBS, traces the rise and fall of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, taking a look at its effect on history and the people who made it happen along the way.
“The Anti-Saloon League was the most powerful political lobbying organization in the history of the United States, and nobody knows about it,” Burns tells Roll Call. “Its general counsel, Wayne B. Wheeler, made the Anti-Saloon League the single most effective single-issue lobbying campaign in history. He could make the Senate of the United States sit up and beg; he was witheringly effective.”
No matter where you come down on the alcohol issue, Burns suggests viewers should expect to see parallels between what transpired back then and what’s happening now.
“It feels like it’s ripped from today’s headlines. It’s about a whole group of people who feel like they’ve lost control of their country and they want to take it back,” Burns says.
The Center for Alcohol Policy, which was founded by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, partnered with WETA to sponsor the series.
From left, Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., David Goldman, the father of a child who was abducted to Brazil by the mother, and Arvind Chawdra, a father whose two children were abducted to India by their mother, attend a news conference in the Rayburn House Office Building on international child abduction.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.