Overview

Where do our electoral candidates get the funds to conduct their campaigns? Do their fundraising sources go on to influence their voting habits? Conventional wisdom often suggests that is the case. This application strives to open the curtains on what is often a cryptic process. While politicians must legally declare the source and amounts of the contributions flowing into their campaign coffers, it isn’t always reported in a format that is immediately comprehensible to a curious onlooker.


This app allows the user to find their local candidates, specify a sector of contributors and sort through their voting record by issue. The resulting visualization is an easily interpreted presentation of the data. It’s then up to you, the user, to determine if your officials have remained consistent, or changed their minds following political contributions.


Are your representatives in government effected by their campaign contributors? Does the money follow a candidate who’s views are already in line with contributors, or does the flow of money make the politician a pawn of their largest contributors? There isn’t one answer to these questions. The information here is available so that you come to your own conclusion.


Objectives

Follow the Money (FTM) is a BostonIxDA project which aims to produce a visualisation tool demonstrating the relationships between our elected officials and those who contribute to them financially.  That is a the end goal, the means to that end and motivations for this project are;

Collaboration between Developers & Designers:

The developer-designer divide is something we hope to bridge with this program. The project itself will effect the cross pollination of thinking and skills.  Developers curious about Design Thinking will learn from team members versed in those methodologies. Designers will expand their overall understanding of development processes.

Processing for Designers:

Through the act of learning a language created for Designers it is hoped participants will improve their understanding of the developer’s environment, therefor enabling them to communicate and collaborate more efficiently in multi-disciplinary discussions.

The application of design methodologies presented at BostonIxDA events:

IxDA Boston has been putting on events for a number of years with a focus on hands-on learning through workshops.  With Follow The Money we will focus singular events at FTM depending on the stage we’re at in the program.  

The Team

Leads

Arpitha Shetty works as an Automation Engineer during the day and freelance/consult as an Interaction Designer along side. With an academic background in Engineering and a passion for Digital Design, I’m interested in creating experiences that integrate the two.



Mike Eng is an interaction designer with a dual background in psychology and industrial design. Ever since reading The Design of Everyday Things, he has focused on designing products and interfaces to be usable first and foremost. http://mike-eng.com



Pauric O’Callaghan is a UI designer at MathWorks and instigator of this project.



Johnny Hujol is our lead developer with a background in education, a career in the biomedical industry, the author of a JAVA book and a pasion for technology.



Sam Bosbach of Massachusetts has a bachelors degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has a great interest in electoral politics and is contributing his domain expertise to help the team understand the datasets for this project.



Mary Murray
Kurt Nischel
Dan Orange

Special thanks to

Julie Rodriguez, Carl Seglem, David Zwarg, John Booker & all the others who have contributed in some way to this project.