Google and Facebook gave more to Republicans than to Democrats: reports

In famously liberal Silicon Valley, two of the region’s biggest tech giants have switched teams to Republicans over Democrats while their workers remain largely on the left.

In 2016, a year of fabulously polarizing American politics, the political action committees for Google and Facebook gave more money to the red team than to the blue for Congressional races.

Of the $1.5 million from Google’s parent firm Alphabet, 56 percent went to Republican candidates and 44 percent to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That breaks down for House races as $625,000 for Republicans and $512,000 for Democrats, and for Senate races as $190,000 for Republicans and $137,000 for Democrats.

Donations ranged from $1,000 to $10,000. Among those receiving $10,000 were southern California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who, according to CNBC on Jan. 11, has taken a position “firmly on the side of Silicon Valley” in the dispute between this region’s tech industry and federal authorities over encryption in consumer technology.

Bay Area Democrat Kamala Harris, who won her Senate race, also received $10,000 from Alphabet’s PAC, called the “Google, Inc. NETPAC.”

Facebook PAC gave a total of $517,000, with the same party breakdown as Google’s PAC: 56 percent to Republicans and 44 percent to Democrats.

For the House, Republicans received $147,000 from the “Facebook, Inc. PAC,” while Democrats got $140,000.

For the Senate, Republicans received $141,000 while Democrats got $91,000.

Neither the campaign of Harris or her rival and fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez received donations from Facebook’s PAC. Issa received $5,000. Democratic San Jose/Santa Clara Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren received $10,000.

Apple, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, did not make donations through a PAC.

The right turn by Google and Facebook suggests the firms see Republicans as stronger allies than Democrats, the New York Times reported.

“As these technology firms have become corporate behemoths, their concerns over government regulatory policy have intensified — on issues including privacy, taxation, automation and antitrust,” according to the newspaper.

But while the corporations are leaning rightward, those working in them remain generally leftist, the Times said.

“Most tech executives and employees remain supportive of Democrats, especially on social and cultural issues,” according to the paper. “The Republican tilt of the PACs at … Google and Facebook suggests, however, that as these companies’ domains grow larger, their bottom-line interests are becoming increasingly aligned with the policies of the Republican Party.”

Amazon and Microsoft have also swung to the right at a corporate level, the Times reported.

“Microsoft has led the rightward charge,” the paper reported. “In 2008, the Microsoft PAC decisively favored Democrats, 60-40, according to … (the) Center for Responsive Politics.

“By 2012, Republican candidates and committees had taken the lead, 54-46; and by 2016, the Microsoft PAC had become decisively Republican, 65-35.”


Photo: A man walks past a building on the Google campus in Mountain View. (Jeff Chiu/AP)


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