Bet the last time you were sipping Campbell’s soup or popping Pringles chips it never occurred to you that your eating habits could be political.
But every product has a parent company and most major corporations make political contributions. Are you a staunch Republican who would never pull the Democratic lever? Chances are some of your purchases at the grocery store go toward helping a Democratic candidate. Diehard Democrat? Ditto for you.
Never make that mistake again!
Enter Matthew Colbert, a former campaign and Hill staffer, who has built a new app for smartphones that allows users to scan the barcode of products in the grocery store and immediately find out what political party the company and its employees support. (Any relation to Stephen Colbert, who also shares an interest in money in politics? This Colbert played coy and curiously declined to answer.)
Colbert told the Loop he developed the “BuyPartisan” app to give consumers more knowledge about how they spend their money. For some, it may translate to not buying a certain cereal anymore, for others it could simply be a conversation starter, Colbert said. But he hopes all users will appreciate having at their fingertips an awareness that a fraction of their grocery bill went to political contributions.
The app, based on data from Center for Responsive Politics, the Sunlight Foundation and the Institute for State Money in Politics, is the first rollout from Colbert’s new company, “Spend consciously.” It’s tagline: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend how you believed?”
The goal of the company, he said, is make “every day Election Day” through “spending choices.”
Here at the Loop we conveniently had a bottle of hand lotion on our desk. A quick scan of the barcode told us that the product is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which overall gave 49 percent to Republicans and 33 percent to Democrats. Its employees are pretty split down the middle, but the company’s board of directors skewed the results because 74 percent support GOP candidates.
Now the choice is yours.
This piece orignally appeared in The Washington Post. Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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