Stock for stock and dollar for dollar, Silicon Valley companies give more political donations to Republicans than Democrats, and are more likely to have right-leaning stockholders to boot, according to a new report by news site The Daily Dot.
This runs contrary to Silicon Valley’s reputation as waving the banner of American liberalism — but the numbers don’t lie.
The data, gathered by the Daily Dot’s in late February using government watchdog OpenSecrets.org, had a number of surprising findings. Key among them:
- The top 20 tech companies (corporations and their employees) gave $US8,140,277 to Republican politicians and $US7,952,915 to Democratic ones.
- The biggest political spenders were Comcast ($US2.9 million), AT&T ($US2.8 million), and Verizon ($US2.6 million). Comcast gave its money to an almost-even split of Democrats and Republicans, but AT&T and Verizon gave more to conservatives.
Among the US Congress, 30 Republicans are Apple stockholders to 21 Democratic ones, while Google counts 16 Republican and 9 Democratic lawmakers as stockholders.
- Microsoft and Intel are both just about exactly 50/50 on the Democrat/Republican split.
- Not a single American legislator owns stock in Twitter. Sorry, White House social media team.
- Only Facebook and Time Warner Cable have more Democratic legislators than Republicans in terms of share ownership.
None of this should be particularly surprising — the major telecommunications companies, which led the politician donations here, have a strong interest in the kind of free-market legislation promised by the American right. And as far as the stock ownership breakdown, we know that the stock portfolio of the average Congressperson outperforms the norm by about 10%, so it only makes sense that they want a position in tech.
Of course, as The Daily Dot’s Aaron Sankin points out, that also affects how legislators will look at Silicon Valley and the moral and legal issues presented by advances in drones, wearable technology, driverless cars, and whatever else the tech elite comes up with. It’s hard to deny that lawmakers may take a light touch with the tech set if they’re a part owner of their company.
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