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Unfluence
Author(s):
Skye Bender-deMoll, Greg Michalec
Institution:
(unknown)
Year:
2007
URL:
http://unfluence.primate.net/
Project Description:
The Unfluence site constructs maps of the funding relations between groups of candidates and donors. The data comes from candidates' required disclosures, collected and made available to the public by the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP). The basic idea is to help people understand the context of political giving, and the relative positions of various candidates in terms of who is paying for their campaign.

A query is generated from the initial search settings and sent to NIMSP's API which looks in their databases and returns a list of matching candidates as an xml file. For each candidate it retrieves a list of the top contributors, and discards any with contributions below the value threshold set in the beginning. This donor-recipient information is formatted into a network and passed to GraphViz that computes positions for the nodes and draws it (with help from ImageMagik). The image is then passed back to the user. When a node is clicked, a query is sent to NIMSP and Project VoteSmart to check if there is information available for that candidate, and it includes the links in the info bubble. The visual effects are provided by script.aculo.us.

Unfluence won the first prize in the Sunlight Foundation Mashup competition.

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