Money and influence have always been intertwined in America’s back history of international connections. The relationship can be obvious but typically requires a rifle of paperwork, fingering through political funds and sifting beneath a stretched field of investment topsoil.

This month the Sunlight Foundation released a digital tool to dig deeper into influencing investments of outside nations in the U.S. The organization, long known for its transparency and open data efforts, launched the Foreign Influence Explorer on May 7 to track lobbyists representing foreign clients in Washington, D.C. The online tool identifies influencing nations through an interactive map and country listing based on data from activities reported to the U.S. Department of Justice, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

With its release, Sunlight announced the top five countries that spent the most money in 2013 to bolster their U.S. profiles. The top five and their invested funding included the following (scroll to the bottom of this article for a complete list):

1. United Arab Emirates, $14.1 million

2. Germany, $12 million

3. Canada, $11.2 million

4. Saudi Arabia, $11.2 million

5. Mexico, $6.1 million

In a release, Sunlight’s editorial director, Bill Allison, praised the new tool for its user-friendly interface and ability to clarify the opaque world of international influence in the U.S. “Foreign Influence Explorer will drastically improve the accessibility of data that for too long has been locked inside scanned documents that can’t be easily analyzed or used, and we think this will bring a new dynamic to influence reporting,” Allison said.

The database and results are searchable and downloadable for ease of access to disclosed information by individuals and firms representing foreign governments, political parties, government-controlled organizations and for-profit corporations. The legal framework monitoring lobbyists is the engine that will drive the database. All lobbyists are required to report specifics about campaign donations, disclosures that include foreign clients. Additional public reporting details which government officials are contacted, meeting dates, issues connected with actions and the means of contact — such as in person, by phone, email, etc.

As the top financial foreign influencer, Sunlight said it observed that the United Arab Emirates hired two influential lobbying groups, Akin Gump and Camstoll Group, that listed "illicit finance issues" and a preclearance customs facility as its two lobbying objectives.

Among the United Arab Emirates investor organizations, the platform showed a cluster of entities based in government, tourism and energy, which are all likely lobbying areas for a country — that the CIA’s evaluated — to have heavy reliance on oil, foreign labor and foreign investment.

Beyond top influencing nations, Sunlight has also used the database to chronicle the influence of countries involved in the Arab uprising, foreign Ukrainian officials in the Ukraine, and the most active companies lobbying in the U.S. with Germany’s Deutsche Telekom — a parent company for T-Mobile — ranked highest.

Sunlight has organized an outreach workshop to educate journalists about the new tool but intends it to be a free and open resource for the entire public, according to the press release.

The Foreign Influence Explorer's Most Influential Nations by Investment:

1. United Arab Emirates, $14,186,622.39

2. Germany, $12,008,299.34

3. Canada, $11,246,019.69

4. Saudi Arabia, $11,101,041.24

5. Mexico, $6,132,132.81

6. Morocco, $4,052,857.94

7. South Korea, $3,920,616.07

8. Republika Srpska, $2,397,650.00

9. Georgia, $2,358,938.25

10. Azerbaijan, $2,298,339.03

11. Iraq, $1,909,579.42

12. Singapore, $1,855,405.16

13. Turkey, $1,842,614.00

14. Jordan, $1,815,120.00

15. Japan, $1,670,878.33

16. Taiwan, $1,639,835.56

17. India, $1,399,992.00

18. Hong Kong, $1,381,356.10

19. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, $1,255,355.10

20. China, $1,147,775.71

21. Bahrain, $1,145,789.84

22. Ecuador, $1,112,193.17

23. Palestine, $1,110,769.59

24. Gambia, $1,015,522.19

25. League of Arab States, $1,010,565.00

26. Cyprus, $900,000.00

27. Pakistan, $847,542.81

28. Kuwait, $685,960.81

29. Sri Lanka, $672,457.47

30. Kosovo, $652,055.73

31. Lebanon, $640,730.30

32. Montenegro, $639,352.63

33. Nigeria, $621,250.00

34. Tajikistan, $600,000.00

35. Ukraine, $593,588.62

36. Albania, $561,110.06

37. Tibet, $551,632.00

38. Kazakhstan, $543,780.24

39. Ireland, $451,406.52

40. Russia, $448,000.00

41. Nicaragua, $447,425.00

42. Kosova, $441,579.80

43. Algeria, $420,828.62

44. Cameroon, $400,000.00

45. Qatar, $332,286.06

46. Thailand, $300,000.00

47. Bangladesh, $290,850.06

48. Gabon, $225,000.00

49. Equatorial Guinea, $216,137.08

50. Aruba, $213,500.04

51. Congo Kinsaha Zaire, $205,435.18

52. Iran, $205,000.00

53. Antigua and Barbuda, $199,710.83

54. South Sudan, $184,363.00

55. Somalia, $173,405.36

56. Nagorno Karabakh Republic, $153,241.00

57. Libya, $150,445.53

58. New Zealand, $130,939.84

59. Syria, $125,883.17

60. Kenya, $124,114.05

61. Bermuda, $117,400.00

62. Ghana, $112,858.00

63. Lesotho, $100,000.00

64. Hungary, $90,000.00

65. Venezuela, $68,500.00

66. Liberia, $65,000.00

67. Philippines, $51,220.00

68. Norway, $48,000.00

69. Malaysia, $34,353.00

70. Vietnam, $30,000.00

71. Republic of Somaliland, $22,819.22

72. Palau, $18,500.00

73. Croatia, $18,000.00

74. Luxembourg, $14,900.00

75. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, $10,000.00

76. Catalonia, $7,800.00

77. Italy, $6,844.84

78. Marshall Islands, $5,736.55

79. Mauritius, $5,604.76

80. Sudan, $5,000.00

81. Micronesia, $4,471.20

82. Laos, $3,790.00

83. Israel, $1,250.00