The “Jumping through hoops” part is directly related to the “passing an audit” part. CACert imposed new requirements on their assurers (e.g. passing a test) in direct response to the audit hurdles.
Being verified into the chain of trust is not that difficult, really. You bring two forms of identification to someone who is already a qualified assurer, and fill out a short form.
I’m not going to defend CACert, other than to say that they have a huge uphill battle being accepted as a free/open service into a domain that is fully controlled by heavily moneyed interests. I admire their aspirations and tenacity, but I’ve lowered my expectations of widespread use of their certificates.