Facebook: Friending Both Parties

Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

A Facebook “Like” button inside Facebook Inc.’s new data storage center in Lulea, Sweden, on June 12, 2013.

Like many big companies with business before a divided Congress, Facebook Inc. sends political donations to both Democrats and Republicans, focusing on the party leaders and members of key committees who shape the policy agenda.

Of the $105,000 that Facebook’s PAC sent to party candidates and committees in the first half of this year, $54,500 went to Republicans and $50,500 to Democrats, a 52 percent to 48 percent split, according to a Political Capital analysis of a filing the PAC made today to the Federal Election Commission.

The House’s top two-ranking Republicans, Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, received $5,000 from the PAC of the world’s biggest social network. So did the top-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Facebook’s PAC donated to 11 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including eight who sit on its Communications and Technology panel, which has jurisdiction over cybersecurity, privacy and data security.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen.  Charles Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat, each received $5,000. Michael Bennet of Colorado, who leads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, received contributions for his campaign committee and his leadership PAC.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas each received $5,000 from Facebook’s PAC. Both are up for re-election next year.

The PAC gave $5,000 to the leadership political action committee of Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who’s pushing for an overhaul of immigration laws and weighing a presidential campaign in 2016.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, both leaders of Congress’ intelligence committees, received donations from Facebook’s PAC. Feinstein, who represents Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, was just re-elected in 2012, and Rogers won a seventh House term with 59 percent of the vote.

Facebook’s political arm donated $5,000 to the PAC of the Internet Association, which represents companies including Facebook, Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

Donors to Facebook’s PAC included chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who each gave $5,000. Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, also gave $5,000 to the PAC.

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