Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg and his college buddy, Joe Green, founded a political action committee in hopes of finally getting immigration reform passed in DC.
The PAC was called FWD.us.
Lots of high profile tech executives joined the group.
But almost as soon as Zuckerberg’s PAC was formed it began taking tons of heat.
The reason why: in order to get support from lawmakers on the fence about immigration reform, the PAC was paying for ads on their pet issues.
For example, FWD.us paid for an ad advocating drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and another supporting the the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in Alaska.
This cynical tactic drove idealists on the left nuts. MoveOn.org protested. ThinkProgress got angry. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even dropped out of FWD.us over the controversy.
But guess what?
FWD.us’s get-it-done cynicism seems to have worked.
And if you ask people in Washington, they’ll tell you the “Facebook” super PAC played a huge role.
That’s the word from well-connected tech consultant Anil Dash.
I’ve had a chance to talk to people ranging from progressive senior members of this administration to conservative representatives in the House, and across the board they’ve characterised the advocacy they’re hearing from the technology industry as “those Facebook folks”. They’re talking about Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us PAC (which we’ve discussed before), which is extraordinary because the PAC is ostensibly not part of Facebook, includes senior executives from many other tech companies even including Bill Gates, and has completely overshadowed even efforts like Michael Bloomberg’s March for Innovation. That’s crazy! Bloomberg is one of the most powerful politicians in the country, has a net worth of more than double Zuckerberg’s, is lobbying on the same issue, has heavy hitters ranging from Mark Cuban to Cory Booker backing his effort, and doesn’t support scummy cynical ads like FWD.us, and he’s been outgunned by Zuckerberg’s spending.
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