It's no mystery that money has become a key factor in American politics. But until now it's been difficult to show voters just how closely politicians hew to the interests of their political patrons and campaign donors.
MAPLight.org, a non-partisan web site, hopes to change that. The site uses three data sets to illustrate money's influence over elected officials: campaign contributions, voting records, and the supporting and opposing interests of a bill.
Dylan Ratigan lavished praise on the web site during his show Thursday and interviewed MAPlight's Executive Director Daniel Newman.
To show how MAPLight works, Ratigan used it to research Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed" bill. MAPLight showed that banks and others against financial reform donated $9.7 million to oppose Paul's bill. That figure was more than 250 times larger than the $37,000 donated by supporters of the bill.
While MAPLight has been around since 2008, the web site's director Daniel Newman told Ratigan that new tools allow users to drill down deeper for a more detailed look at the links between congressional votes and political donations.