Political Contributions by Facebook Employees

This marks the fourth in GovPredict’s analysis of the giving patterns of employees of major American corporations. After the interest shown in our first three pieces, all of which looked at major tech companies (Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple, respectively), we continue with our analysis of tech companies, and focus today on Facebook.

We first identified all the variants of employer name that Facebook employees have used on campaign filings when making contributions. In a process called deduplication, we found 56 different variants, including the historical “The Facebook,” “FB,” “Face Book Inc.,” and “Facebook (note – this is a personal co).” We also included contributions by individuals who listed themselves as working for Oculus and for Instagram. 1,230 unique Facebook employees have made contributions.

We then looked at all of the unique committees that Facebook employees had contributed to, and classified them as Democratic, Republican, or neither. The FEC supplied party tags for many, but not all, federal committees. The rest were categorized by hand. Contributions to nonpartisan city council races or to judgeships when a judge did not espouse an obviously conservative or liberal ideology were classified as “neither.”

Our analysis spanned from 2004 to 2018. When data for a particular source were considered from a year beginning other than 2004 because of accessibility, it is explicitly mentioned.

Contributions to federal committees were collected from the FEC bulk download; contributions to state committees were collected from each of the states’ election commission websites; contributions to local committees were collected from various municipal election websites; contributions to 527 organizations were collected from the IRS website.

Findings

Largest contributions

Here are the largest single contributions made by Facebook employees:

  • Mark Zuckerberg contributed $1,000,000 to “FWD.US…in support of California Proposition 57” in the ’16 cycle. Proposition 57 enhanced parole opportunities for non-violent offenders in California.
  • Sheryl Sandberg made a $416,000 contribution to the Hillary Victory Fund ’16 cycle.
  • Kevin Systrom made a $100,000 contribution to the Hillary Victory Fund in the ’16 cycle.
  • Chris Cox made a $100,000 contribution to Progress San Francisco, an independent committee dedicated to electing moderates to the San Francisco Democratic Party’s governing committee.
  • David Fischer and Sheryl Sandberg both contributed $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in the ’12 cycle.

Party preferences

  • Since 2008, 99.5% of contributions by Facebook employees to local committees have gone to Democrats and 0.5% to Republicans ($200,327 for D and $1,100 for R).
  • Since 2008, 67% of Facebook employee contributions to state committees have gone to Democrats, and 33% to Republicans ($222,789 versus $107,514, respectively). Of note, Facebook employee Joel Kaplan is responsible for more than 28% of all Facebook employees’ contributions to Republican state candidates.
  • Since 2014, 100% of Facebook employee contributions to partisan 527 organizations have gone to Democrats
  • Since 2008, 88% of Facebook employee contributions to federal committees have gone to Democrats, and 12% to Republicans ($3,439,469 vs. $471,882, respectively).

In total, 87% of Facebook employee contributions have gone to Democrats, and 13% to Republicans.

Top candidates and committees

Here are the candidates that have been the largest recipients of employee contributions:

Candidates:

Candidate Total receipts
Hillary Clinton  $1,147,198
Barack Obama*  $285,564
Cory Booker  $78,600
Chris Christie  $50,400
Kamala Harris**  $47,086
Chuck Schumer  $40,600
Ro Khanna  $39,900
Bernie Sanders  $39,248

*Includes contributions to the 2008 and the 2012 campaigns.

** Includes contributions to Senate and CA Attorney General campaigns.

Donald Trump has received $5,171 in total from Facebook employees. To put this amount in context, California State Senator Scott Wiener, Oregon State Senator Bill Hansell, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and the San Francisco Democratic Party all received more in campaign contributions than Donald Trump did from Facebook employees.

Committees

Here are the committees that have been the largest recipients of employee contributions:

Committee Total Receipts
Democratic National Committee $307,004
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $54,791
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $11,575
Progress San Francisco $156,250
Women Vote! $55,000
National Republican Senatorial Committee $43,600
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $28,425

Progress San Francisco is dedicated to electing moderate candidates to the San Francisco Democratic Party’s governing committee. Women Vote! is dedicating to mobilizing women to vote for pro-choice female candidates.

Other observations

Presidential races

Here are recent presidential candidates and how much they received from Facebook employees:

Presidential Candidate Total Receipts
Hillary Clinton $1,147,198
Barack Obama $285,564
Bernie Sanders $39,248
Mitt Romney $36,050
 Marco Rubio $18,255
Donald Trump $5,171
Ron Paul $4,701
 Martin O’Malley  $2,700
 Jill Stein  $2,250

Regional differences

As in our recent Amazon and Apple analyses, there is a pronounced regional difference in propensity to give to Republicans or Democrats. Among Facebook employees living outside of California, 56% contributed to Democrats and 44% to Republicans. Among California residents, including those working at the headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, the percentage given to Democrats exceeds 94%, compared to 6% who contributed to Democrats.

 

Emil Pitkin

Emil is CEO of GovPredict. He earned his BA in Mathematics from Harvard and his PhD in Statistics from the Wharton School, where he is the winner of the award for top professor. He is an alumnus of elite Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator and has played Carnegie Hall.