Facebook Making Friends Through Political Donations

Photograph by Jonathan Sprague/Redux

Facebook headquarters.

You could call it one way Facebook makes its own friend requests.

The world’s biggest social-networking service donated $119,000 to members of Congress through its new political action committee in the first three months of the year,  it said in a filing to the Federal Election Commission on April 13.

Facebook, which formed its PAC late last year, gave $65,500 of its first batch of political donations to Republicans (55 percent) and $53,500 to Democrats (45 percent). It focused its donations on members of the leadership and chairmen of influential committees in both parties.

Republicans decide which bills and amendments get hearings and votes in the House, and Facebook’s PAC donated to Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California — the top three Republicans in the chamber.

The PAC donated to Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, who runs an Energy and Commerce Committee that has an expansive jurisdiction over issues that affect Facebook’s business. Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, who heads the subcommittee on Communications and Technology, also received a donation.

Facebook’s PAC donated to Democrats Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who would be in line to lead the House if Democrats win a 218-seat majority this November. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat whose congressional district includes Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, received a donation.

In the Democratic-controlled Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada got a donation, as did his partisan opposite, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Neither Senate leader is up for re-election this year, so the donations were more about alliance-building than aiding politicians in need.

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