We have not been shy about exposing the dark shadowy under-belly of lobbyists funding politicians (as most recently noted with Cantor's catastrophe) but now, as Engadget reports, finding out which representatives are in the pocket without a lot of tedious research just got a lot easier. A 16-year-old programmer has developed a browser plugin - Greenhouse - that, when you mouse-over the name of a US lawmaker, will serve up a list of which parties have donated to their campaign funds, and the quantities. Better than flappy-birds?
Read more from Engadget here
And here is the 16-year-old programmer's credo:
It is my hope that providing increased transparency around the amount and source of funding of our elected representatives may play a small role in educating citizens and promoting change. If you use the extension when reading about a Congressional vote on energy policy, for example, maybe you’ll discover that a sponsor of a bill has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry. Or maybe you'll learn that the top donors to a member of Congress who opposes tort reform are lawyers and law firms. I use data from the last full election cycle (generally 2011-12 for Representatives and 2007-12 for Senators) and plan to update it as more relevant data becomes available. Special thanks to OpenSecrets.org for providing access to that data.
The motto of Greenhouse is: “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” What it signifies is that the influence of money on our government isn’t a partisan issue. Whether Democrat or Republican, we should all want a political system that is independent of the influence of big money and not dependent on endless cycles of fundraising from special interests. The United States of America was founded to serve individuals, not big interests or big industries. Yet every year we seem to move farther and farther away from our Founders' vision.