See just who controls Washington, and what they paid for the privilege

Influence Explorer is a nonpartisan, nonprofit website that goes some way toward untangling the webs of influence (and corruption) that make our nation’s capital so terribly dysfunctional.

The site lets you type the names of companies or organizations (AT&T; the Teamsters), lawmakers (Barack Obama; Barbara Lee), and wealthy individuals (Steven Spielberg; George Soros) into its search box and see just how much they have given to, or received from, whom. This is useful and interesting, but not as interesting as the charts that let you trace the power and funds that flow from lobbyists and PACs to our elected representatives. Those are fascinating, and depressing, in equal measure.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. See just who controls Washington, and what they paid for the privilege