Elections

Democrats Call To Regulate Big Tech While Raising Money Off Big Tech Execs

Reuters

Kerry Picket Political Reporter

In the wake of Capitol Hill lawmakers scrutinizing big tech companies, former Vice President Joe Biden raised money from Silicon Valley executives this past weekend.

Following a rough debate night in Miami last Thursday, Biden flew to the West Coast Friday to begin fundraising at the residences of wealthy tech executives. (RELATED: Peter Thiel Says Silicon Valley A ‘Totalitarian Place’ — Slams ‘Political Correctness’)

Per the pool report, in the Seacliff neighborhood of San Francisco, the former vice president visited the home of Doug Hickey, a Silicon Valley executive in the telecom-internet and space tech arena. On Saturday, a fundraiser was held at the residence of former Twitter executive Katie Jacobs Stanton.

By Sunday, Biden was in Washington state in the Medina home of Jon Shirley, the former Microsoft president, where co-hosts at the fundraiser were Amazon and Microsoft executives. At each event, guests paid up to $2800 to attend.

Biden was not the only Democrat in the primary to collect checks from wealthy big tech executives this campaign cycle.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in early June, went to four fund-raisers in the Bay Area that included co-hosts who were former senior Facebook and Google executives. According to The New York Times, it was Buttigieg’s third fund-raising trip to the area in the last three months. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker flew to the Silicon Valley region for a fourth time to raise money, since he declared his run for the presidency, while California Sen. Kamala Harris made a sixth trip to the area to fundraise.

However, the Democratic base has become suspicious of big tech companies, accusing them of privacy violations, creating monopolies, as well as exacerbating social media misinformation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted on June 3 the House Judiciary Committee would begin to investigate powerful online platforms.

According to The New York Times, researchers found that although tech executives are more than likely liberal, the tech industry’s influence in Democrat politics will push the party further to the left and marginalize longtime base party supporters like unions. (RELATED: Here Are Real Complaints From Google Headquarters)

Not every Democratic presidential candidate are cozying up to Silicon Valley. Massachusetts Sen. Liz Warren, who posed in front of a billboard calling to break up big tech companies, told The New York Times, “I’ve been talking for years about how Big Tech has too much power over our economy and our democracy.” She added, “I’m going to keep making the case for my plan to break up Big Tech and put power back in the hands of the American people — whether it’s at SXSW, a town hall in Iowa or a billboard in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 3: The Google logo adorns the outside of their NYC office Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

At one of his own fundraisers over the weekend, Biden chided online retailers saying the cause of brick and mortar job losses is a result of automation and online retailing, saying these issues threatened the middle class and that 189,000 jobs were lost due to retail outlets closing as customers moved to online shopping.

“No offense to Amazon,” Biden added.

Warren, who has pledged not to hold private fundraisers, which puts her at a financial disadvantage, may receive high dollar contributions from wealthy individuals anyway, one major San Francisco donor told Politico.

However, The San Francisco Chronicle notes that while most of the Democratic candidates say they will not accept money from corporate political action committees, they have no issues about accepting checks from individuals associated with them.

For example, The Chronicle reported from FEC records, the Warren camp received $30,000 from donors at Alphabet, the parent company of Google and almost $22,000 in donations from Apple, Yelp and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a company owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

Donations came in from Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, totaling over $68,000 in contributions to Harris. Booker received $18,000 from Alphabet and Buttigieg picked up $25,000 from Alphabet and Amazon.

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