Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg forms a PAC; should techies "lobby"?


The Wall Street Journal reported March 27 that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is starting a PAC, or political advocacy group, to support positions beneficial to Silicon Valley companies.  The link for the story, called “Zuckerberg gets political”, by Evylyn M. Rusli, is here

Zuckerberg looks even more baby-faced than usual in the print version of his WSJ “head shot”. 
   
The group will be a 501(c)(4), meaning that contributions cannot be tax-deducted and are considered to be lobbying-related.

Zuckerberg has courted both Democratic and Republic candidates.  He has met with President Obama and generally supported the idea that the rich (himself) should pay more to help reduce the deficit and control federal debt. He has been liberal on all the social issues.  But he also has supported “reasonable” GOP politicians like NJ Gov.  Chris Christie, who has a somewhat progressive public image based on his performance after Hurricane Sandy.

Zuckerberg has favored more favorable INS policies for foreign entrepreneurs in a position to create jobs in the United States – very much a mixed position as far as parties are concerned.  He would also want to protect Internet free speech mechanisms that shield service providers from downstream liability, such as Section 230, and he would want the government to soft-pedal on its “do not track” initiatives.

Practically every company that I worked for during “my beautiful career” had a PAC and invited employees to join, but I never did.  I considered doing so a “conflict of interest” with my blogging and writing on my own. 

People have asked me personally about running for office (I almost did in 2000 in Minnesota), and about holding fundraisers "in my home'.  I find that joining things cuts down on time and on "independence".  I'll say more about this later.  It simply costs too much to get elected.  
   
When he was 21 and had just moved to California, a presumably unarmed Zuckerberg escaped a possible gas station holdup by simply flooring and driving away.  Nothing happened.  I remembered this when I was approached on the Ohio Turnpike at a service plaza in 2010.  I “escaped” without harm and called police at the next toll plaza.  Nevertheless, it’s easy to imagine the NRA’s reaction to incidents like this.  We were both lucky, they would say.  In this economy, ordinary life gets more dangerous.
  
Recently, I’ve wondered it the clever and appealing character Nolan Ross (on ABC’s “Revenge”), played by Grabriel Mann, is somehow inspired by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, not a major character in “The Social Network”.    




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