Our team wanted to develop a application that made it easier for normal people to access information on their representatives and the policy they were pursuing. Our team initially set out to create a project that would bring all the necessary information to the citizen in one place. After brainstorming, our idea evolved into informing through a much more impartial and objective way. Unlike choosing news sources, facts regarding campaign finance and historical legislative practices can't be disputed. By presenting information about major donors and bills that representatives sponsor it is easier for the individual to discern whether their representation is working for them or those funding their campaign. In the past, unless you were willing to do deliberate and intensive research there would be no realistic way of coming across these types of statistics on your own easily.
What it does
First it asks the user for their address which is then used to present them with their U.S. Senators and House Representative. The user can then select any of them and will then be taken to a new page. The final page currently displays the name of the representative and some links to continue exploration about donations and recent bills. The intention, and what a good amount of functionality has already been built for (Check out some of the unused functions in the code for access to recent bills and top donors/donor industry), is using the Open Secrets API to display top donors to the selected politician paired with bills the politician has sponsored or co-sponsored related to these donors using the content classification functionality with Google Could's NLP API. This would highlight how major campaign donations may influence the policy decisions your representatives are making.
How we built it
We used Expo for development due to the appeal of a cross platform developed. We then used online API's and other public data sets to access information on policy makers, bills, and campaign donors. Most notably we used OpenSecrets's API and Phone2Action's API.
Challenges we ran into
Accomplishments that we're proud of
A functional application that works on both IOS and Android Devices and is able to accurately and quickly tell a user who their representatives are with a lot of the framework in place for the next steps in development. We are proud that in a short amount of time we could make something, learn, and have a good time.
What we learned
What's next for War Chest
Implementation of the NLP Analysis of recent bills and pairing with top donors.