MAPLight.org Campaign Widgets Track Presidential Money Race

Presidential Widgets Empower Citizens to Track and Compare Candidates on Their Own Web Sites and Blogs

August 24, 2007 - Today MAPLight.org, a nonprofit that illuminates the connection between money and politics, released free widgets (www.maplight.org/widgets) that allow anyone to track presidential fundraising on their own blogs, social media sites, and personal Web sites.

"We're making political fundraising more transparent," said MAPLight.org Executive Director Dan Newman. "As presidential candidates compete in what will surely be the most expensive election campaign in U.S. history, we want to make it easy to see the huge amounts of money candidates received from private contributors."

At the Web site www.maplight.org/widgets, anyone can choose candidates, change colors to match their favorite Web site theme, and easily insert the MAPLight.org presidential widget into their own site, with no programming required. Incorporating a widget onto a site is as simple as sharing a YouTube video.

Also today, MAPLight.org began providing unprecedented access to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) data. The group started publishing an API (application programming interface) that makes it easy for any Web developer to build their own site or software program that displays or shares up-to-date campaign contributions from the FEC.

Both services, the widgets and the API, are free and open source, so anyone can use or modify them as they see fit.

The free widgets are funded by MAPLight.org's $25,000 first prize win at the NetSquared Innovation awards, a contest for the best nonprofit technology project worldwide, and by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, DC-based foundation dedicated to government transparency.

The MAPLight.org presidential widget is the first of several more widgets that the organization will release. By late October, MAPLight.org will release a widget for U.S. Congress, showing total campaign contributions for all candidates for Congress and a “Money and Votes” widget, revealing correlations between campaign contributions and votes for any bill in U.S. Congress. To be notified when MAPLight.org releases these widgets, visit http://www.maplight.org/participate/signup.

MAPLight.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Berkeley, California. Its search engine at MAPLight.org illuminates the connection between money and politics (MAP) via an unprecedented database of campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.