U.S. Markets closed

Expose Any Politician’s Fundraising Sources with This Ingenious Tool

Jason O. Gilbert
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech

Whenever you’re reading a news story and you see a U.S. representative or senator supporting a bill or a cause, you might wonder just how much a specific industry or lobbying group has paid to influence his thinking. 

Now, with a new browser extension called Greenhouse, you can find out instantly. Once you’ve installed Greenhouse (available for Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari), every politician’s name will become highlighted, on any article you’re reading; hovering your mouse over the name will launch a pop-up box that shows you exactly which industries and lobbies contributed the most cash to that politician’s campaign fund.

The tool highlights contributions to both members of Congress and U.S. senators. You can see Greenhouse at work below on this Yahoo News article

You can also click through to see a more detailed breakdown, as well as which, if any, campaign-finance reform bills the politician backs. A small box to the right of the politician’s name also shows the percentage of her contributions that came from small donors (individuals giving $200 or less.)

Contribution data is sourced from OpenSecrets.org, the website from the nonprofit, nonpartisan group Center for Responsive Politics that tracks campaign spending. Greenhouse was built (incredibly!) by a 16-year-old developer from Seattle named Nicholas Rubin. Rubin writes on the Greenhouse website that he “created Greenhouse to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress.”

“I aim to expose and publicize that disease,” Rubin writes, “through technology that puts important data where it is most useful, on websites where people read about the actions, or inaction, of members of Congress every day.”

You can download Greenhouse for Chrome, Safari, or Firefox right here, and you’ll begin to see highlighted politician’s names as soon as you do. 

Follow me on Twitter here or email me here.