Have you ever wondered why a politician may be saying something? The term “follow the money” is sometimes useful advice, and if that’s your train of thought — you should check out this browser extension. Greenhouse gives you the campaign contributions of any politician just by hovering over their name.
Even more impressive is that Greenhouse was made by a 16-year-old, Nicholas Rubin. Speaking to Vice, Rubin noted that the idea was sparked by a seventh grade presentation he gave on corporate personhood. Perhaps even more impressive than his age is that Nick taught himself to code.
The extension is a simple, effective way to get quick info on just where a politicians campaign funds are coming from. Did your state rep make an over-the-top statement about fracking? Maybe the oil industry has made some hefty contributions to their re-election bid. The extension may not offer up which companies the donations came from, but the categorical notations are just as handy.
Greenhouse takes info from the last election cycle in 2012, as well as opensecrets.org, which is operated by The Center for Responsive Politics. They claim to be “the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy”, all while remaining nonpartisan.
When asked why he created Greenhouse, Rubin said “I want a system that works, and so do other kids my age. I want Greenhouse to be a nonpartisan tool. What concerns me is the sheer amount of money being pumped into the system because there really is a lot. During the development of Greenhouse and looking over these numbers and seeing how much is being donated—it’s really scary.
I just want it to educate people because that’s really the first step toward a solution.”