Silicon Valley has been rapidly increasing its influence in the government over the past few years, as technology firms up their spending on political lobbying and increasing numbers of former Silicon Valley employees move to jobs in the government.
Examples of this shift include the massive increase in political expenditure, with an OpenSecrets.org study finding that companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon spent nearly $50 million on political lobbying in 2015, a more than four fold increase from the $12 million spent in 2006.
Their spending has well overtaken that of Wall Street, whose five largest banks spent just $19.7 million in 2015. Common causes for political lobbying include immigration rules, internet and privacy law, as well as rules about driverless cars.
Further evidence of the closeness between government and the tech industry is the rising number of employees who are moving between the two sectors. In 2015, 183 people who worked for the Obama administration were hired by Google, whilst 58 went in the opposite direction. This is compared to just 4 people who moved between the government and tech sectors in 2006.
Observers also point to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sharing a stage with Barack Obama in June this year, as well as the ever more apparent left-leaning bias in Silicon Valley.
Facebook employees were found to have donated to Hillary Clinton more than any other candidate in the current election cycle, whilst Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz donated $20 million to the Clinton campaign and left-wing organizations.
It was also revealed this week through the latest WikiLeaks data dump that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were on Hillary Clinton’s list of potential Democratic vice-presidential nominees.