Poligraft: See the Corruption Behind the News

We all know politicians take money from companies and other interest groups, but it's sometimes hard to connect those contributions to what happens (or doesn't happen) in Congress. Now, thanks to a brilliant online tool called Poligraft, you can see the webs of influence behind the news.

Poligraft lets you paste in a URL to a news story or a chunk of text. Then it digs through the names in the text, finds politicians and organizations, and shows you who's given money to whom in a sidebar. The tool was developed by the Sunlight Labs, using information from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute for Money in State Politics.

Using Poligraft with a recent New York Times op-ed, for example, you can see that Lindsay Graham and Susan Collins both spoke out against a law that would prevent people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns, also took thousands of dollars from the NRA. Curious.