Web Widget Exposes Who’s Really Paying For Political Campaigns

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Screen image of MapLight.org's Influence Tracker widget. (maplight.org)

Screen image of MapLight.org’s Influence Tracker widget. (maplight.org)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Wouldn’t it be great if political candidates wore their financial sponsors on their clothes – you know, like professional race car drivers?

Well, it turns out we can in fact see who’s really bankrolling the politicians, thanks to a new web widget that virtually “decorates” the candidates with the logos of their corporate backers.

“You’ll see a silhouette of your politician along with the logos of some of their top campaign contributors. Like NASCAR, we put the logos on the suits of the politicians so you can see who’s sponsoring them,” explained maplight.org president Daniel Newman.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Newman’s Berkeley-based MapLight, “a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics in the U.S. Congress and in the California and Wisconsin Legislatures,” teamed with Wired to create the Influence Tracker app, which is available for download at maplight.org.

“This provides actual data about the money that fuels their campaigns and the interest groups behind them,” Newman said. “And the purpose of this widget is to show the river of money that underlies all of politics and is influencing what politicians do.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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