Madison tech startup’s mission? Get corporate money out of politics

Abigail Wuest, a former Dane County supervisor, said that Goods Unite Us is a tool for “adapting to life with corporate money in politics.”

There are plenty of value-based consumer trends out there: People buy local, buy sustainable, and buy organic.

The local tech startup Goods Unite Us is hoping that buying politically is what comes next.

Sign on to either the Goods Unite Us website, or its iPhone app, and users can type in a brand or company. The app then returns information on that brand’s political spending patterns, based on publicly available Federal Election Commission disclosures.

It’s a tool that provides transparency to citizens, said co-founder and CEO Abigail Wuest, in an era when corporations are able to pour massive amounts of money into electoral politics.

“If corporations have protected speech, we want to know what they’re saying,” said Wuest.

Use the tool to search for Pepsi Co, for example, and you’ll get a scorecard. The multinational corporation turns out to be a big political spender, with 55 percent of spending going toward Republican candidates or causes.

Epic Systems, the massive Verona-based health care technology corporation, spends 87% of its contributions on Democrats, but keeps its expenditures low.

The tool also assigns a grade from negative 100 to positive 100 to each brand as…

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