Photo: Pete Souza / White House
Money has become the name of the game in the 2012 election cycle. And in Silicon Valley, tech CEOs are flush with cash and ready to fork it over to an array of campaigns and political causes.We’ve taken a look through FEC data from the centre for Responsive Politics to see who the top names in tech are donating to — and the answers might surprise you.
Sure, there’s a lot of solid Democrats among the crowd, but a surprising amount of Republicans and Independent donors popped up as well.
Armstrong has donated $25,000 to Republicans this cycle so far, including $20,000 to the Republican National Committee and $2,500 to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Armstrong has also ventured into the 2012 Senate race with a $2,500 investment into fellow CEO Linda McMahon's campaign in Connecticut.
The Obama campaign announced today that Mayer, one of the most buzzed-about names in tech right now, is one of their elite 'bundlers.'
Personally, Mayer has given $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 to Obama so far this cycle.
She's also given $2,500 to Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, and $5,000 to the Google PAC earlier this year.
Ballmer has given $32,500 to Republicans and $39,500 to Democrats so far this cycle, including $15,000 to the Republican National Committee and $5,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
He's also supported the leadership PACs of both Republican House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and made donations to the campaign coffers of Republican Senator Dean Heller, who is running for re-election in Nevada, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Washington Congressman Dave Reichert, and Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who is retiring at the end of the year.
On the Democratic side, he's donated to a number of candidates, including:
- Rep. Adam Smith of Washington
- Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah
- Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi
- Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington
- Rep. James Clyburn of Maryland
- Rep. John Conyers of Michigan
- Suzan DelBene, for Washington
- Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina
- Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey
- Rep. Heath Schuler of North Carolina
- Rohit Khanna, for California's 13th district
Investor Peter Thiel has given millions to Super PACs backing Ron Paul and other libertarian-leaning Republicans.
Thiel's contributions blow everyone else completely out of the water.
He's given nearly four times as much as everyone else on this list combined.
He gave a total $2.6 million to Endorse Liberty, a SuperPAC that supports Ron Paul.
He also gave $1 million to the Club for Growth Action, the conservative Club for Growth's SuperPAC.
He also gave $135,000 to Revolution PAC, a second pro-Ron Paul Super PAC.
He gave $10,000 to the Republican Party of California and another $10,000 to the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, in Ohio.
Aside from that, he gave Texas Tea Party Senate candidate Ted Cruz $7,400, Sen. Orrin Hatch $4,800, Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel $5,000, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy $5,000, and New York Republican Congressional candidate Randy Altschuler $5,000.
He's also given $10,000 to the Facebook PAC.
Total Contributions: $3,792,200
Benioff made his first real foray into power politics this cycle, as a co-chair and fundraising 'bundler' for President Barack Obama. He and his wife Lynne have spent $134,900 supporting Democratic causes this cycle, including a $10,000 contribution to Obama and $122,400 to the Democratic National Committee. They also gave $2,500 to candidate Rohit Khanna.
But Benioff also played for the other team this year, with a $5,000 to Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle's Senate campaign.
Larry Ellison, the founder and CEO of Oracle, has split his contributions between Democrats and Republicans
Ellison has given $20,000 to Republican candidates, and $17,500 to Democrats.
Beneficiaries of Ellison's largess include House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
Bill Gates and his wife, besides running their global charity, have also put some of their money into politics.
Over the course of the 2012 cycle, Bill and Melinda Gates have contributed $71,800 to Democrats, including $60,800 to the DNC and individual contributions to Obama, Washington Senator Patty Murray, and Suzan DelBene, who is running for Congress in Washington.
The Gates family has also donated $5,000 to Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and $5,000 to the Microsoft Political Action Committee.
Whitman, the new CEO of HP and 2010 Republican candidate for California governor, is still a loyal member of the GOP and has given $100,000 to Restore Our Future, Mitt Romney's SuperPAC.
She's also given $2,500 each to Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) and California State Senator Tony Strickland's congressional bid.
She's also given money to the Proctor & Gamble PAC, plus $1,800 to the 2012 GOP Delegation.
Schmidt has spread the wealth between both major parties.
On the right, he's donated a combined $12,500 to Rep. Darrel Issa -- a prominent opponent of the SOPA anti-piracy bill -- as well as House Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, and Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.
On the left, he's given $30,800 to the DNC, $5,000 to Obama, plus $10,500 total to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), California congressional candidate Rohit Khanna, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine's Senate campaign.
He also gave $5,000 to Google's PAC
Another Silicon Valley Dem, Brin has given $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee over the course of this cycle. He's also given $5,000 to Obama's re-election campaign.
Charles and Nancy Geschke have given $85,700 to Democrats this cycle, including $60,800 of that has gone to the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee, and a combined $2,500 to the Santa Clara County Democratic Party in California.
As for individual races, they've helped out Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and her fellow California Congresswomen Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren.
Warnock has given $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee, $30,800 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and $5,000 each to Obama and Pelosi.
He's also given smaller contibutions to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and astronaut-turned-congressional-candidate Jose Hernandez.
Hoffman gave $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee for the 2012 cycle.
He also gave $5,000 to Massachusetts congressional hopeful Joe Kennedy, $5,000 to Obama, and $2,500 to California congressional hopeful Rohit Khanna.
The founder of the online movie streaming service Netflix has given $5,000 to Obama and $2,000 to Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.
He's also kicked in $5,000 to Facebook's Political Action Committee.
In total, Newmark has given $84,349 to Democratic causes so far this cycle, with $61,600 going to the DNC.
Individually, he's supported 12 Dems running for the House or the Senate, and given $5,000 to Obama's re-election campaign.
Parker, the co-founder of Napster and first chairman of Facebook, has given $30,800 to the Democratic national Committee and $5,000 to Barack Obama.
Pincus has given close to $40,000 to Democratic causes, including $30,800 to the DNC, $5,000 to Obama, and $2,000 to Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is currently making a bid for Senator of Nevada.
Despite being tech titans, Google's Larry Page, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos haven't given a dime to any politician.
We also couldn't find any contributions from Apple CEO Tim Cook.
What each has done is contribute to their own PACs. Zuckerberg gave $10,000 to Facebook's PAC, Page gave $5,000 to Google's PAC, and Bezos and his wife gave a combined $10,000 to Amazon.com's PAC.
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