Facebook and political groups associated with it have reportedly donated to 46 of the 55 members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg next week.
According to a USA Today analysis, members on this year’s House Energy and Commerce Committee have received roughly $381,000 in Facebook-related contributions since 2007 with the average Republican getting $6,800 and the average Democrat getting $6,750. The report was based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) reportedly received $27,000 while Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NY) got $7,000 in Facebook-related contributions. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the Bay Area Democrat whose district is reportedly home to many Facebook executives and employees, got the most contributions, receiving $51,050 in the last decade.
Walden and Pallone announced on Wednesday that Zuckerberg will be testifying before Congress next week on “critical consumer data privacy issues.”
“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online,” Messrs. Walden and Pallone said in a Wednesday statement. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th.”
A Roll Call report also found that two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have Facebook investments. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) reportedly has at least $80,000 invested in Facebook while Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) has at least $15,000.
As Congress gets ready to investigate Facebook over various privacy issues, Fred Wertheimer, the president of the Democracy21 campaign finance reform group, told USA Today that Facebook’s donations to “committees that have jurisdiction over them” only undermine “public confidence that the members are going to make decisions in the best interests of the American people.”