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June 24, 2014 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Greenhouse is a browser app for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that allows you to mouse over any Congressperson's name in your browser to reveal where their campaign money comes from.

It uses data gathered by during the last full election cycle in 2012 (data will be updated later this year for the 2014 election cycle), and was built by 16-year-old Nick Rubin, who says: "I created Greenhouse to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress."

posted by sockermom (23 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

Fantastic. I'd love to see the same in reverse, where references to companies were linked to the information about how much they contributed to whom.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 9:37 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]

Great idea, now installed and working on my Firefox.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:44 PM on June 24

Awesome. The fact that it's done by a 16 year old rather than any mainstream media sites is a fucking national disgrace.
posted by benzenedream at 9:48 PM on June 24 [17 favorites]

Yes and no, benzenedream. There's a lot to what you say, but things like this give me a little jolt of hope in the upcoming generation. Not for their mad coding skillz, but that some of them care enough to do this.
posted by bryon at 10:01 PM on June 24 [8 favorites]

Terrific subject matter so I feel a bit odd about getting hung up on the form, but why is it a browser extension as opposed to, well, a website?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:24 PM on June 24

It lets you do this from any website, you don't have to open a new tab to find out the information.
posted by Small Dollar at 10:34 PM on June 24

There seems to be an enormous discrepancy in the total for Pelosi and the millions for Boehner. But we already knew who the Republican party is for, right?
posted by Cranberry at 10:42 PM on June 24

Sorry, I get it now. You could just about do it with a bookmarklet, but the user would have to select the congresscritter's name first so the javascript would know what to work on when you activated it. Nicely done. It does seem that there's going to be a lot of event-driven js running in your browser all the time for it to be able to detect that your mouse has moved over a name of interest.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:58 PM on June 24

Awesome. The fact that it's done by a 16 year old rather than any mainstream media sites is a fucking national disgrace.

The fact that a teenager thought this up and did it on his own hook refreshes my faith in our future.

but why is it a browser extension as opposed to, well, a website?

Because it's always "there". Why create yet another web site, with all of its attendant hassles, when you can code an extension that lives inside browsers?

I can't send this young man the case of beer he richly deserves, but I'll sure add and use his extension. And tell everyone I know about it.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:00 PM on June 24

Anyway, it was done with a website,, where the extension gets the data from. It's even a no-restart extension for Firefox, which I appreciate.

That's also where Last Week Tonight this past Sunday got its data from in determining why Senators Orin Hatch and Tom Harkin were concerned about deregulating the dietary supplement industry.
posted by JHarris at 12:20 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]

Also --

Everyone complains about the money in politics, but it seems like now, with things like Mayday PAC gathering steam, we might be starting to see it becoming enough of a public outrage point that something could actually end up being done about it.

It's funny (not really), but the cynical position that all politicians are corrupt actually subtly works in the lobbyists' favor, because it functions as an excuse. They all do it, so why shouldn't (X) congressperson too?
posted by JHarris at 12:24 AM on June 25

Is Mayday gathering steam? 9 days left to raise over 3 million for round two of funding. Unfortunately, it looks like it's run out of steam to me.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 1:25 AM on June 25

As a cop I receive raft of info about who to vote for.
Fuckheads, all of them, from both parties.

I have grandchildren and it's their future I worry most about.

Street criminals. I know how to deal with them.

It's the shitbird criminals who run our government I am more concerned with.

Both parties.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:53 AM on June 25

All interesting but then voters still vote for candidates who have received this money. Makes me wonder if everyone is really as outraged as is expressed here.
posted by OhSusannah at 4:18 AM on June 25

Is Mayday gathering steam? 9 days left to raise over 3 million for round two of funding. Unfortunately, it looks like it's run out of steam to me.

Kickstarters tend to pick up at the end of their period. Anyway, even if they never raise another cent, it's still $1M they wouldn't have had otherwise, and a willingness to contribute $2M. Maybe they just set their sights too high the second round this time? Five million is a lot.
posted by JHarris at 4:23 AM on June 25

I still think making members of Congress wear Nomex jumpsuits with sponsor names splashed all over them, Formula One style, is the way to go, but this will hold me over until then.
posted by indubitable at 4:42 AM on June 25 [6 favorites]

So, installed it for firefox, and it doesn't seem to work anywhere except the page where I downloaded it from. For example:

Eric Cantor

Is there some trick I'm missing?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:25 AM on June 25

Indubitable - we're not far from being (indeed, may already be) able to have TVs or computers identify politicians on the fly in newscasts and then map the badges on in real time. My phone can already paste a monocle and moustache on faces its videoing, and it can identify my face, so I guess all the bits are there. And then, let the data mining begin!

Perhaps what we need is The People's NSA/GCHQ - or, indeed, a transnational version of same.
posted by Devonian at 6:40 AM on June 25

Heh, "Republican/Conservative" shows up as a corporate entity.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:42 AM on June 25

I'm missing the trick too ... I downloaded on Firefox and Chrome, and got nothing on both. I tried playing with my settings to see if it was blocked, but came up empty.
posted by kanewai at 12:17 PM on June 25

I can get it to work on sites like Wikipedia and NYT and Washington Post but not on Metafilter. I think that it has something to do with how the program defines "text-based articles." I contacted the programmer to ask about it through the Contact page on his site and will post if/when I hear back.
posted by sockermom at 12:20 PM on June 25

This is great - campaign contributions are completely out of control. This is old news, but I thought this Lawrence Lessig talk explains why this little app is so incredible.
posted by EARnagram at 1:01 PM on June 25

The good news is that it worked for me.

The bad news is that Firefox didn't work so well afterward.

I disabled it, along with a few other plug-ins, and Firefox works much better.

I realize this was not a rigorous test, but I wasn't in the mood for that. I just wanted my browser back. YMMV.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:41 PM on July 9

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