Track who’s buying politicians with “Greenhouse” browser add-on

From Ars technica, news of a clever little browser add-on which displays campaign contribution data from Opensecrets.org.

Greenhouse pulls in campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including the total amount of money received and a breakdown by industry and size of donation. It then combines this with a parser that finds the names of Senators and Representatives in the current page and highlights them. Hover your mouse over the highlighted names and it displays their top campaign contributors.

In this sense, Greenhouse adds another layer to the news, showing you the story behind the story. In politics, as in many other things, if you want to know the why behind the what, you need to follow the money. And somewhat depressingly, in politics it seems that it’s money all the way down.

For example, suppose you read this story in The New York Times, in which three Senators take GM to task for failing to recall millions of small cars. What do the three have in common? Just that their top campaign donors are lawyers and law firms.

Or try Greenhouse on this story on House Republicans who think the Affordable Health Care Act is anillegal overreach by President Barack Obama. Greenhouse will highlight six names in that story. All but one get the majority of their campaign funds from a combination of two groups—health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry.

As allaregreen.us puts it, playing off the color encoding of US politics: “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.”

 

 

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