Wouldn’t it be nice to easily be able to see who’s funding your congressperson? A new browser plugin for Safari, Google Chrome, and soon Firefox, promises to do just that.
The free plugin, called “Greenhouse,” was created by 16-year-old Nicholas Rubin, a self-taught programmer based in Seattle. Greenhouse was designed to expose the role that money plays in Congress by offering “detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation.”
It works simply: After you install the plugin, hovering over the name of a congressman will display the latest 2014 contribution data available on opensecrets.org, as well as an option to see which campaign finance reform bills are supported by the congressman from reform.to.
In Safari, users will also see a “$” button appear in the toolbar, which, when clicked, will allow you to search and browse through the financial profiles of any member of Congress.
Though Rubin can’t even vote yet, he said he created Greenhouse to provide “increased transparency around the amount and source of funding of our elected representatives [and] play a small role in educating citizens and promoting change.”
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.
Rubin says he plans to “continue to refine this resource and expand it into other areas.”
Shout-out to Represent.Us for the tip.