A 16-Year Old Programmer Just Made a Plugin That Shows Where Politicians Get Their Funding

Nicholas Rubin is a 16-year old self-taught computer programmer from Seattle, Washington. He is also the inventor of Greenhouse, a new browser plugin that lets you know exactly where politicians get their campaign funding from.

When the plugin is active, the names of House or Senate members on any given webpage are highlighted. All you have to do is hover your mouse over the name of a politician, and a box will pop up showing all the industries and groups that contributed funds to their campaign, as well as how much the politician got from each sector.

What the plugin looks like in action. Click to enlarge

The box also shows you what percentage of their contributions came from small donors (contributions of less than $200), and let’s you know whether or not they are in favor of reforming our relatively seedy campaign finance system.

Here’s the statement that Nicholas released with the plugin:

“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 (2012) 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.”

I must say this is one of the best ideas I have personally ever seen to combat against the influence of special interest groups on our political system.

For years, politicians have pretended to personally care about issues when, more often than not, the truth is that they were bribed by that industry (through campaign finance) to make decisions that  would help the industry.

I don’t think this will make politicians At the very least, it will make politicians think twice about where they get their contributions from.

You can download the Greenhouse plugin for free here. (NOTE: because of the plugins popularity, Greenhouse’s homepage was down when this story was published, but I’m sure they will have it back up and running soon.)

(h/t Represent.Us)

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42 comments

  1. 0
    a guy says:

    Unfortunately, the published data is far from the complete picture. Without consideration of dark money, a false sense of balance is created between the parties.

    1. 0
      Michael Smith says:

      I agree! This tells a small part of the story. What’s the difference between the right boot or the left boot, if that boot is on your neck? The two parties are really just two sides that both serve our ponzi scheme of a monetary system. People are waking up to this, but for many it will be too late! Motivate your loved ones to realize the value of real money. Candles with a real silver coin will encourage them to investigate on their own! https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScentSavers?ref=hdr_shop_menu

    1. 0
      Lars Taylor says:

      It was a mockup he made it to be used as an example. It should have been extremely obvious by the fact that he had HYDRA (the fictional evil organization) as a donor, twice.

      If that was not enough to make it clear it was fake he threw in “puppy orphanages” as a joke.

    2. 0
      Ya Don't Say says:

      No, actually he’s a politician in real life. Like all of Congress, they receive funding from underground Neo-Nazi organizations to stop progressive America and keep it’s mentality stuck in the shitty 50s era.

      1. 0
        Conservative Mark says:

        I don’t think I have ever read a post so stupid in my entire life. At least the 50’s did not have undocumented negroes pretending to be president while tanking the country.

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