Politics Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push
Cash floods K Street as Democrats focus on spending and taxes
Some of K Street’s top-grossing lobbying firms disclosed record-breaking revenue for the first half of 2021, even as the influence industry’s two biggest spenders reported shelling out less than in the same period last year. Democratic control of Congress and the executive branch, major federal spending that includes a limited return of lawmaker-directed earmarks, as […] The post Cash floods K Street as Democrats focus on spending and taxes appeared first on Roll Call.
Executives at the nation's largest tech companies made huge donations to key lawmakers in recent months as Congress debated legislation that would reshape the industry.
The influx of donations came in as the tech industry urged lawmakers to abandon antitrust legislation that could make it easier for regulators to break up tech giants. Tech companies also lobbied Senate leaders to prioritize a bill to toward U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.
Tech executives cut the largest checks to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), according to recent Federal Election Commission filings covering fundraising from April through June.
Washington is a lobbying boom town under Biden
ANALYSIS — Democrats who control Capitol Hill have invested copious amounts of messaging this year on overhauling the nation’s political money and influence systems, but both sectors appear poised to smash records nevertheless. K Street lobbyists this week took a downright jubilant tone when discussing their most recent public disclosures, which reflected an uptick in […] The post Washington is a lobbying boom town under Biden appeared first on Roll Call.
More than two dozen Microsoft executives donated to Schumer's campaign in June, collectively giving more than $116,000. Thirteen executives gave $5,800, the maximum allowed by law, including Microsoft President Brad Smith and Fred Humphries, who leads the company's Washington lobbying team.
"These were contributions made by executives in their personal capacity," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Google executives and its PAC donated nearly $92,000 to Schumer's campaign in the second quarter of 2021. Cisco Systems executives gave nearly $100,000. Apple executives gave $28,000. Executives at Microsoft, Cisco and Apple previously had not made large donations to Schumer through the first three months of the year.
Schumer, who is up for reelection in 2022, is leading Democrats' legislative efforts while simultaneously raising big money to ward off potential primary challengers. Schumer raised from April through June, a record haul.
New data shows how white top companies are, despite diversity, inclusion pledges: 5 Things podcast
At America’s largest and most powerful companies, 1 in every 97 white workers is an executive. Only 1 in every 443 Black or Hispanic workers holds a top job.This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) also received numerous donations from executives at Amazon and Microsoft, which are headquartered in her state. Amazon employees and its PAC gave roughly $67,000, while Microsoft donations totaled around $48,000. Murray, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, is up for reelection in 2022.
Tech companies closely followed the Senate's bipartisan bill to bolster U.S. competitiveness with China. In May, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple and Cisco formed the Semiconductors in America Coalition to ensure the bill included billions for semiconductor manufacturing and that it didn't prioritize the production of semiconductors for other industries, such as carmakers.
"Federal investments in semiconductor technology will help ensure more of the chips America needs are produced on U.S. soil and accessible to the many critical sectors of the U.S. economy that depend on them, benefiting American workers, businesses, and consumers," the group said in a statement following the bill's passage.
Trump ally Thomas Barrack, accused of illegally lobbying UAE, reaches bail deal with prosecutors
Thomas Barrack, the billionaire businessman and ally of former President Donald Trump charged with illegally lobbying for the United Arab Emirates, will likely be released from a California jail on Friday after his lawyers reached a bail agreement with federal prosecutors. Prosecutors had initially argued that Barrack, 74, who has been behind bars since his arrest on Tuesday, was a flight risk and should be denied bail. Barrack, who chaired Trump's inaugural fund, is accused of working on behalf of the UAE to sway Trump's foreign policy agenda, according to a seven-count felony indictment unsealed in Brooklyn.
Amazon senators to pass the bill without a measure that would require online retailers to collect and verify information about third-party sellers, The Washington Post reported. House lawmakers are advancing their own version of the bill in multiple parts.
The tech industry's top priority is defeating antitrust legislation that would greatly rein in the power of the leading tech firms. The House Judiciary Committee advanced a slate of antitrust bills last month. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, has said the Senate will introduce similar legislation.
California Democrats Zoe Lofgren, Eric Swalwell and Lou Correa the most aggressive antitrust measures, arguing that they would cause more harm than good. Executives at Apple and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, donated to Swalwell's campaign the day before the committee marked up the bill, according to filings.
Lofgren took in a few donations from tech executives in May and June. She received $5,000 from Timothy Powderly, Apple's director of government affairs, who to reject antitrust legislation.
"We are concerned that many provisions of the recent package of antitrust reform legislation would create a race to the bottom for security and privacy, while also undermining innovation and competition," Powderly wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Committee members last month.
Two Republicans joined most Democrats in supporting a measure that could allow regulators to break up tech giants. GOP lawmakers and some tech firms have of wording antitrust legislation in a way that would exempt Microsoft from scrutiny. Microsoft, which reported lobbying on antitrust issues, has said it did not seek to be excluded from the bills.
The Hill has reached out to tech companies for comment. A spokesperson for Apple noted that the company does not have a PAC.
‘Normal is not good enough': After Trump, pressure’s on Biden to create new ethics rules .
Government watchdog groups are urging Biden to hire an ethics director at the White House the way George W. Bush and Barack Obama did.Six months into office, they’re pushing the president to follow through on his campaign promise to press for an aggressive 25-point plan for ethics reform, fearful that the window to do so may be closing — and with it an opportunity to prevent the lapses of the Trump years from happening again.