SEATTLE — A Seattle teen has developed an Internet patch that allows user to hover over a politician’s name and see their biggest lobbying contributions, potentially changing the way many people think about politics and the politicians they support.
Nicholas Rubin, a 16-year-old boy from Seattle, spent months developing Greenhouse, a patch for Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari that allegedly “exposes the role money plays in Congress.”
Users install the app, and anytime a Congressman’s name appears in an article, the user can hover over that name to see “detailed campaign contribution data” for each Senator or Representative, including the total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation.
“It puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system,” Rubin said on his website. “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.”
The patch’s hosting website crashed Thursday morning when the site became the top post on the popular Internet forum site, Reddit. Still, the work drew praise from those who used it, with users recognizing things previously unrealized about politicians and the money in politics.
“I’m slowly realizing the most powerful lobby might actually be the retired,” one Reddit user wrote.
The data used is from the 2012 elections, so it might not be entirely up to date.
Rubin describes himself as a 16-year-old designer, developer and photographer living in Seattle.