Greenhouse for Chrome reveals a politician's campaign contributions

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 30, 2014
Updated • Jul 3, 2014

When members of Congress voice their opinion and speak for or against something, it is not always clear why they are doing so. While some may believe in what they are doing, others may be influenced by other factors such as campaign funding.

You can look up campaign contribution data for members of Congress, but only if you know where to look for it. If you do not, you may still find information related to this by searching on the Internet, but it takes time to do so.

The  browser extension Greenhouse, available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, has been designed to make things easier for users of the browser. Instead of having to hunt for information by yourself, it makes those available directly on the page the politician is mentioned by name.

Whenever a member of Congress is mentioned with his or her full name, it is double-underlined by the extension and highlighted with a light green background color so that it is easy to spot on the page and not to be confused with some in-text advertising systems that do use double-underlines as well to highlight their ads on a page.

example popup highlighting campaign contributions on a website

The popup displays the name, party and state at the top as well as a photo of the politician. Here you also see listed the total campaign contributions, how many of those fall into the below $200 group, and the list of industries and how much they have totaled in contributions. The name leads to up to date data on the OpenSecrets website while the information displayed in the popup use information from the last full election cycle instead.

This alone can be useful to determine the influence of interest groups. The extension links to additional information which you can access with a click on the AC or DC icons that it displays in the popup's header.

The links point to, a website that highlights which reforms candidates support. You do find contact information on the website as well to give the member a call, write an email, letter or send a fax.

So how good is the detection rate of the extension? It works considerably well for plain text names of members of congress. It won't however manipulate links. If the name is displayed as a link, it won't work on that link at all.

While you can follow that link to the linked site where you may find the name listed in plain text, it means extra work doing so. It would probably be better if the extension would add an icon or information next to the link in this case so that you can display the information directly on it without having to switch pages.

The Safari version features a Dollar icon in its toolbar that you can use to type names to look up the information using it. That's great if a name has not been identified properly on a web page or it if is linked only.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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