16-Year-Old Creates App to Expose Corrupt Politicians

While it's easy and almost safe to assume that most of today's politicians take large donations from dubious corporate interests—given the fact that we live in an oligarchy and all—inquiring minds still want to keep track of who's taking money from big oil, big pharma, big defense contractors, you name it.


Seattle teenager Nick Rubin recently made keeping track of the money trail a whole lot easier with his creation Greenhouse, a browser plug-in that operates under the motto "Some are red. Some are blue. All are green." (Get it? Green House?) His website describes Greenhouse like this: "A free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. Puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system."

Said to be surprisingly easy to use, the app shines a light on dark money, and helps you deepen your understanding of why your representatives vote the way they do.

In a recent interview with Vice Media, Rubin talked about how he came up with the idea for the app:

Back in seventh grade, I gave a presentation on corporate personhood, and ever since then I’ve been really interested in that issue. I think the one problem is that the sources of income for members of congress haven’t been simple and easily accessible when people have needed it. More recently, I’ve been teaching myself how to code, and I thought that something like Greenhouse that puts the data at people’s fingertips would be a perfect solution. It really is the intersection of these two passions of mine—coding and politics. I made it after school and on weekends on my computer.

Hmmm. Wonder what he'll do in college.

h/t: Vice

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close