Facebook, Twitter Campaign Donations Overwhelmingly Go to Democrats on Oversight Panels, Group Finds

April 2, 2021 Updated: April 4, 2021

A conservative nonprofit advocacy group monitoring Big Tech claims that almost all Facebook and Twitter employee and committee campaign contributions went to Democrats serving on House oversight committees.

The Internet Accountability Project (IAP) said in an April 1 statement that, based on campaign finance data compiled by opensecrets.org, Facebook and Twitter (employees and PACs) combined “contributed more than 12 times more money to Democrats (more than $5.5 million) than Republicans (less than $435,000) in 2020.”

The group cited a leading self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist in the House of Representatives as an example of the extreme bias by Democrats in political giving by employees of the two social media giants.

“As just one example, [Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez received a combined $36,346 in 2020, compared to less than $1,950 for all Republicans on the House Oversight Committee combined. Twitter employees didn’t give a single dollar to Republicans on the Oversight Committee,” IAP said in its statement.

The IAP describes itself as being dedicated to holding “Big Tech accountable for engaging in egregious business practices like snooping, spying, political bias against conservatives, employee abuses, and anticompetitive conduct.”

The nonprofit is headed by Mike Davis, a former chief counsel for nominations for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) during the latter’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Davis led at the staff level the Senate confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and a record number of circuit court judges.

The IAP revelation comes as Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google face growing criticism for censoring by their executives and employees of political expression on the internet, mostly by conservative and Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Many Republicans and some Democrats are calling for legislation to reform Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, which exempts internet firms from facing the same liability as traditional publishers.

A review by The Epoch Times of campaign finance data compiled by opensecrets.org concerning other Big Tech firms produced results nearly identical to those reported by IAP:

  • Amazon’s $10.42 million in contributions to Democrats far exceeded the $1.79 million the firm’s employees and committees gave to Republicans.
  • Data for Alphabet Inc., the corporate parent of Google, showed an even greater disparity, with $22.17 million going to Democrats, versus $1.4 million.
  • Apple Inc.’s list of 10 biggest recipients of employee contributions was headed by the $1,885,635 given to President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Only one of the top 10 recipients wasn’t Democratic, the Republican National Committee, which received $220,536.
  • Broadcom, which acquired Symantec in 2019, saw its employees contribute $245,734 to Biden, compared to $83,079 to former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
  • Hewlett Packard contributions to Biden totaled $171,683, compared to $50,335 to Trump. Seven of the top 10 Hewlett Packard recipients were Democrats.

Republicans aren’t without some support among Silicon Valley giants. At Oracle, for example, the top three recipients were all Republican, including the Opportunity Matters Fund, the 1820 PAC, and the Better Future Michigan fund.

But even at Oracle, employee and committee contributions to Biden, at $674,751, far outpaced those to Trump, at $164,185.

The IAP report is likely to fuel critics of Big Tech censorship, which has intensified in recent months, most prominently with Trump being kicked off Twitter; and Parler, an upstart competitor being kicked out of the Google and Apple app stores, which are essential markets, and then its internet access being cut off by Amazon.

Citing the actions that removed Parler from the internet for more than a month, Davis told The Epoch Times on April 2 that two things are needed to deal with Big Tech’s censorship and monopolistic practices.

“There are two fixes to Big Tech’s government-sponsored censorship: ending antitrust amnesty and reforming Section 230 immunity. They overlap, but they are two different issues,” Davis said.

“The antitrust laws are law enforcement; there is a civil component and there is a criminal component. It is not regulation, it is law enforcement. You are targeting the tumor, you are targeting the bad actors in the market.”

“What the anti-trust law enforcement would do is target Big Tech’s power. The reason Google’s YouTube or Facebook or Twitter can censor conservatives is they have too much market power, because they are monopolists,” he said. Such power enables the Big Tech giants to cripple or even bar potential competitors such as Parler.

Davis pointed out that Section 230 was approved as a means of protecting then-startup internet companies such as AOL and Compuserve against defamation litigation used by established news media conglomerates to cripple potential competition.

But over the years, as the internet has displaced the old media conglomerates, Davis said, “the Big Tech monopolists have turned Section 230 from a liability shield into a censorship sword.” The result is a situation in which firms such as Google and Facebook have unprecedented power to shape the internet.

“Trillion-dollar Big Tech monopolists no longer need Uncle Sam’s coddling and protection, and these Big Tech monopolists like Google’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have proven that they are very capable of finding, censoring and even deplatforming users with whom they disagree or otherwise find objectionable,” he said.

Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be reached at mark.tapscott@epochtimes.nyc