16-Year-Old Creates App To Expose Corrupt Politicians

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July 23, 2014  |  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.