Wired Releases Its Influence Tracker Widget That Shows Who Is Funding Political Candidates Campaigns

(Image: Wired Screenshot)

Who exactly is ponying up the most money for presidential and congressional candidates might be easier to find than you think. Thanks to Wired’s “Influence Tracker” tool made in collaboration with the nonprofit Maplight, you can find out “who bought your politician” without sifting through data sets or conducting other Web searches.

Wired states that it is helping put this out in the open so voters have all they information they could possibly need to make an informed decision before headed to the polls.

“Corporate influence in politics has gone off the charts, and it’s more important than ever for voters to understand who is financing candidates,” Evan Hansen, editor in chief of Wired.com, said according to the post. “Maplight has done the hard work of compiling the data. At Wired, we’re happy to help get that information out to the wider public, and share it as broadly as possible with this web-based embeddable widget.”

The donor information itself is pulled together by Maplight from campaign-financing figures obtained by the Federal Election Commission. Wired states that this information remains up-to-date.

We pulled out the presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama (see below) as examples. If you want to see their top 10 contributors, click the blue arrow.

You may notice the logos in the shadow profile of each candidate. As Wired points out, these “NASCAR-style logos” represent the candidate’s biggest contributors. As you can see, the GOP candidate falls in second with more than $150 million raised to President Obama’s more than $201 million. Romney’s top contributors include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Obama’s top donors include the U.S. Government, University of California, Google and Microsoft.

“In just a few weeks, voters will confront a ballot filled with candidates whose campaigns have been paid for by wealthy donors. People deserve to know the truth about whose interests their candidates are really representing,” Daniel Newman, president and co-founder of MapLight, said according to Wired. “We’re proud to work with Wired to give voters a tool they can use to draw back the curtain on the moneyed influence plaguing our political system.”

To seek out candidates in the widget yourself, go to Wired’s website and begin typing names in the search bar. Clicking on the blue arrow will bring up the candidate’s top contributors. If you wish to embed the candidate’s profile, the embed code is below the image itself.