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Facebook Democrats Government Republicans The Almighty Buck United States Politics

Facebook Donated To 46 of 55 Members On Committee That Will Question Zuckerberg (usatoday.com) 160

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be questioned about user privacy protections next week by members of the House and Senate committees, but as USA Today notes, many of these members were also "some of the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from Facebook employees directly and the political action committee funded by employees." An anonymous reader shares the report: The congressional panel that got the most Facebook contributions is the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which announced Wednesday morning it would question Zuckerberg on April 11. Members of the committee, whose jurisdiction gives it regulatory power over Internet companies, received nearly $381,000 in contributions tied to Facebook since 2007, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The center is a non-partisan, non-profit group that compiles and analyzes disclosures made to the Federal Election Commission.

The second-highest total, $369,000, went to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which announced later that it would have a joint hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Zuckerberg on Tuesday. Judiciary Committee members have received $235,000 in Facebook contributions. On the House committee, Republicans got roughly twice as much as Democrats, counter to the broader trend in Facebook campaign gifts. Of the $7 million in contributions to all federal candidates tied to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network, Democrats got 65% to Republicans' 33%. Of the 55 members on the Energy and Commerce Committee this year, all but nine have received Facebook contributions in the past decade. The average Republican got $6,800, while the average Democrat got $6,750.

Facebook Donated To 46 of 55 Members On Committee That Will Question Zuckerberg

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  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @09:16AM (#56401181)
    We'll see if members of the House and Senate committees are truly honest.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @09:30AM (#56401233)

      The english language is not capable of conveying the required amount of cynicism and sarcasm to answer this question.

    • These stories should be burned out of the internet, and the writers as well as submitters hauled out into the streets and beaten with rubber hoses.

      "they donated to someone's campaign, so OBVIOUSLY they're going to get better treatment!" is disingenuous at best, and batshit crazy at worst.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe disingenuous from oversimplification but certainly not crazy by any stretch of the imagination. That's literally what campaign donation is about, preferential treatment in some way, otherwise what would be the point of donating?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The idealists answer is.. Indirect preferential treatment - the candidates with the philosophy you agree with most having the resources to get their message out and hopefully be chosen for office over of the other candidates.

        • it's a good question.

          The fundamental reason is to help elect a person who already represents your point of view rather than to influence a person to go against their inherent feelings.

          For example,
          Gun people donate to reprsentatives who say they will support gun rights.
          Pro abortion people donate to representatives who say they value choice.

          There is a difference between donations (moral, honest, legitimate) and bribary (immoral, dishonest, corrupt).

          However, in the real world, the line is thin and often crosse

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        You should start taking your meds again. You are batshit crazy and completely disconnected from society.

        • "i believe this is so, and you do not. so you're batshit crazy and disconnected from society" is a pretty nasty set of fallacies to be swinging around this early in the morning.

          my belief is based in analysis and science, and supported by decades of research. these are the first four hits from google.

          the absolute closest you can get to "MONEY BUYS SUPPORT" is that politicians tend to drift in the 'popular' direction, as windsock'ed by donations. Have a great day, and enjoy your morning dose of critical think

          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            You apparently do not understand that "a honest politician is one that stays bought". And no, you have nothing on your side, except a complete ignorance as to human nature and some bogus studies. And, of course, usually the bad decisions that are paid for are cleverly disguised. After all, somebody from the other side could turn this around easily otherwise. Incidentally, I happen to be a scientist, and I know how such studies are created. And, unlike you, I can read and understand them.

            • 'bogus studies' like 'fake news' right?

              can you show me a study which supports your position?

              • Here's a study that sets out the case [cambridge.org] that America is not really a democracy, and that the elites buy the legislation they want.
                In my view the way to tell the US system is not representative is how you have two political parties.
                Do 300 million people really agree with each other that much?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Then why does the recipient of the donation know who made it? We need a third party to track and limit donations and insulate the politicians from the donors if there isn't any expected quid pro quo.

      • "they donated to someone's campaign, so OBVIOUSLY they're going to get better treatment!" is disingenuous at best, and batshit crazy at worst.

        If you pay someone they treat you better. How is that disingenuous or crazy? It's true.

      • Are you stupid or just a big government apologist?

      • Hey, when I pay a whore I expect a blowjob!

    • An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought. Simon Cameron. Lincoln's Minister of War.
       

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @09:23AM (#56401215)

    The notion that corporations are people is ludicrous. Campaign contributions shouldn't be considered speech, either. These campaign contributions are tantamount to bribery. The wealth is cleverly spread around to guarantee the support of whoever gets elected, regardless of party. There's no legitimate reason that corporations can make campaign contributions. Require that donations be placed by individuals through non-partisan government agencies. Those agencies can then be responsible for providing the money to individuals candidates, without revealing the donors. Stop the bribery.

    • The Supreme Court ruled corporations are people. See the Citizens United case. This can only be undone with an amendment to the constitution. Good luck accomplishing that in today's political climate.

      • Well, not really. In fact, not at all.

        The ruling was clear that it was based on federal law making corporations "people" and that congress was free to modify that law. Until then, corporations are, when not exempted by law, people and, as such, have the same rights to freedom of speech as individuals.

        Nothing in the constitution deals with corporations in any way. They exist only as congress has decreed and are a legal means of creating a synthetic person for legal purposes.

        Note: IANAL!

      • The Supreme Court ruled corporations are people. See the Citizens United case. This can only be undone with an amendment to the constitution. Good luck accomplishing that in today's political climate.

        Agreed it'll be difficult, but here is the only way to do it, afaik: https://represent.us/ [represent.us]

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        he Supreme Court ruled corporations are people. See the Citizens United case.

        Oft-repeated, but simply false. Corporation are only people in the sense that laws that restrict people also restrict corporations by default. Nothing to do with Citizens United.

        The Citizens United case established just one thing: the owners of a closely-held corporation (all the owners know each other, nothing like Facebook) have the same rights as the owners of a partnership. You know the Citizens United corporation existed only to fund a film critical of Hillary, right? It wasn't in some public busi

      • And as soon as I can shoot a corporation in the face and it ceases to exist I'll accept that decision.

    • for crooks first. And while people hate the crooks in other states, they seem to like _their_ crook.

      I'd like to see a movement to get people to refuse to vote for anyone who takes corporate PAC money. But then we just elected a Pres who in turn handed the FCC over to a guy that let one media company [vox.com] buy up each and every local news station.

      Also, I couldn't even find the original video for the above link. I had to settle for an article on Vox.
    • There's no legitimate reason that corporations can make campaign contributions.

      Sure there is. Do you believe in no taxation without representation?

      If so, do you believe in taxing corporations?

      If you said yes to both, then you also believe in giving corporations representation in government. And since they're not allowed to vote, the only form of representation they can have is campaign contributions.

      Personally, I think we should just eliminate corporate taxes. Corporations don't end up paying c

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        America is all about taxation without representation and was setup that way. Think of how many people pay taxes and don't have the vote. Whole large cities such as Washington DC. Whole classes of people who are labeled felons, who often did something politically incorrect such as smoking a joint. All the non-citizens who live and work in the US, whether legally or illegally. Everyone under a certain age, you're 17 and working and paying taxes, you don't get the vote.

      • Sure there is. Do you believe in no taxation without representation?

        Maybe but they are represented with or without contributions the owners can still vote, if I make a trust that gets taxed do I get 2 votes, if I make 99 do I get 100 votes?

        Do you believe in 1 person 1 vote?

        What I really don't believe in is spending money is free speech, talk all you want the internet now allows any moron to say whatever they want for almost nothing. There is no need to spend billions to get your ideas across.

        • the internet now allows any moron to say whatever they want for almost nothing. There is no need to spend billions to get your ideas across.

          The Internet is lots of small, self-selected audiences. If you want to get your message to the large numbers of people required to have even a whisper of influence on voter opinion, you have to either buy air time, buy ad space or buy control of editorial decision making.

    • The notion that corporations are people is ludicrous. Campaign contributions shouldn't be considered speech, either. These campaign contributions are tantamount to bribery. The wealth is cleverly spread around to guarantee the support of whoever gets elected, regardless of party. There's no legitimate reason that corporations can make campaign contributions. Require that donations be placed by individuals through non-partisan government agencies. Those agencies can then be responsible for providing the money to individuals candidates, without revealing the donors. Stop the bribery.

      And there is only one way to do this [represent.us], afaik.

    • The notion that corporations are people is ludicrous..

      Agreed. If "corporations are people", then they should be capable of serving prison terms. And, who, you ask would actually go to jail? The people who run the company: all senior executives AND the Board of Directors.

  • It never hurts to own the people who are making the laws, and I predict that after a thorough investigation, Markie will get a congressional Medal of Honor
    • Give me control of a planet's oxygen supply, and I don't care who makes the laws.

    • Re:Smart Move (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:18PM (#56401919) Journal

      It never hurts to own the people who are making the laws

      There is a principle about business I learned decades ago: Give campaign donations to the political parties in power. Since they change frequently, give small but regular campaign donations to all the politicians.

      This happens from the smallest mom-and-pop shops up through the megacorps. If you eventually want a favor --- and the larger the company is the more favors it wants --- you can point out that you've been a contributor to their campaigns for many years. The business doesn't have to agree with their policies nor even like the person. It also doesn't need to be much. For a local business it might be $10 per year to each group, so perhaps $100/year total. For some influence at the state level perhaps $1000 spread around 20 people and groups. Small investment each year for the ability to say "You can see in the books I've given you money for fifteen years, I'd like some help with a political problem...".

      Give to all the political parties over your geographical control, and you'll have a say in policy. Call it owning them, call it influence, call it gaining some power over your destiny. Whatever you call it, millennia of history show consistently putting a small amount to all the politicians is a wise business move.

  • Donations? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @09:44AM (#56401287)

    A few decades ago, this used to be called corruption.

    • Re:Donations? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @10:07AM (#56401375)

      In most other civilised countries, it is STILL called corruption today.

      Any member who had received any "donation" should withdraw from the committee due to conflict of interest. The fact that none did is a testament to how corrupt America is.

    • Re:Donations? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @10:30AM (#56401473)

      It still is called corruption by anybody that understands how societies work. It is the cancer that corrodes a society.

      • It still is called corruption by anybody that understands how societies work. It is the cancer that corrodes a society.

        So much outrage over corruption, is anyone of you complaining actually doing something about it? The least of which might be to contribute to causes that get money out of politics [represent.us].

    • A few decades ago, this used to be called corruption.

      I didn't realize the US had just invented campaign donations.

      This has been going on forever, if you're a major corporation you donate as much you can to any legislator who can plausibly influence their company. It is a very corrupt idea, though to be honest it probably doesn't matter. Legislators aren't dumb, they know Google donates to both sides and is limited by legal limits on donations, $7k really isn't that much.

      The real cause for concern isn't the $7 million in donations since (2007)*, it's the $52 m

    • It might feel slimey, but I believe it's legal. Anyone that's outraged, at all, should be contributing to causes that get money out of politics [represent.us]. Or maybe support the candidates that take the least donations.
    • In civilized countries that's still what it's called. The very idea of "campaign contributions" is pretty much this.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    munch ! this facebook show is really cool to watch

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @10:29AM (#56401467)

    Corruption removes control mechanisms and allows unchecked and unrestricted use of power. This allows those without morals and without loyalty to their society (current case is a nice example) to eventually take over most of the running of society, and, since they have no stake in it, its destruction.

  • So they have received about 800 USD / year?

    I was not aware that members of a congressional committee come so cheap.

  • We need to fix the funding of our political system or just accept bribery as the political norm.

    • either wait until we can pack the Supreme Court with left wing candidates (good luck with that) or call a Constitutional Convention. And my God, good luck with _that_. The same folks who bribe everyone bribed the State legislatures.

      The only real hope is to show up to your primary and vote for Bernie Sanders style candidates who refuse corporate PAC money. Your votes count in your primary more because so few people show up for them. And yes, this means voting for the Ds. I don't know of a single Republic
      • A left-leaning SCOTUS is far off. Candidates like Sanders are more populist than realist, like Trump. I'd rather have government supported campaigns and absolutely no outside money. Money is not speech. People can print their own pamphlets and buy their own ads with their own individual names on it. None of this corporate shit. If a newspaper wants to publish their views anonymously for no money, that's fine too. However, money-driven politics are a disaster.

    • We need to fix the funding of our political system or just accept bribery as the political norm.

      I've found the only realistic first step is contribute to causes that get money out of politics [represent.us]. Then support their candidates. I think there's other orgs that do it, that's just my favorite.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:31PM (#56402003)
    There is no way a consensus is going to be had with 55 people on the committee. Sounds more like a photo opportunity than something designed to accomplish anything.
  • net neutrality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:19PM (#56402259)

    This is an illustration of the folly of the dream that government will fix all our problems if we give it more power to regulate us.

    This is exactly the sort of garbage that would be going on with oversight and regulation of the internet after a decade of net neutrality - when government is big and has its burueacratic fingers into EVERYTHING, there's too much for the average citizen to pay attention to. Big companies with a direct interest and lots of money, however, will have lobbyists that study congress and tell their employers who to give "campaign contributions" to.

    Who NEVER has lobbyists giving to the right politicians?
    (a) small startup companies trying to enter the marketplace.
    (b) individual citizens.

    Watch what happens here. Zuck will probably be supportive of new regulations (which his now huge and rich company can easily afford to comply with and will be written by people he has given money to). The congressmen will pretend to be critical of their paymaster, but nothing bad will actually happen to Mr Facebook - they need his cash for the next election.

    Best to free-up the marketplace to allow all competitors in, eliminate the reasons for "campaign contributions", and end the farce of phony oversight; return the federal government to what it was designed to be: much smaller and only involved in critical national things like diplomacy, the military, patents and currency etc. With the feds involved in fewer things, the people will have an easier time keeping an eye on them, corruption will be much easier to spot, and politicians will lose the ability to say "sure you hate my position on policy X, but you NEED me for my position of policies Y and Z" (which is how they play is in every election while they have their fingers in hundreds of things).

    • When you have a government that is basically owned by corporations, then yes. You shouldn't expect them to fix the problems caused by corporations running your country...

  • What could possibly go wrong? Democracy is done here now, right?
  • Everyone on here sees the same problem: money in politics. But in the fifteen 3+ posts, not one. single. solution. Saying "we need to take the money out of politics" does not actually do a darn thing to take the money out of politics. Voting by yourself doesn't do it, there's another popular mantra "my vote doesn't matter, waahh."

    How about we actually do something? https://represent.us/ [represent.us]
  • Am I missing something, or this trying to invent a scandal where none exists? They're including contribution from Facebook employees. Facebook currently has about 25,000 employees who undoubtedly give money to all sorts of causes. Most of the recipients probably have no idea where the donors work. And we're talking about really small amounts of money. $6000 over ten years wouldn't come anywhere close to making you a major donor even if you gave all that money yourself. But more likely it's a whole bun

  • Yes indeed America has the best politicians that money can buy!
  • Question is, will Zuck show up as an immature little asshole like he normally does or actually dress like an adult. He runs an international business, he should drop the immature act and act his age. Maybe they'll actually listen to him. Look at how real men dress, like Martin Luther King with his movement, Bill Gates when he testified, Meg Whitman when she shows up in public, etc.

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