A recent report claims that Facebook lobbyists have worked for 29 current members of Congress, including Democratic party leaders. Four of Facebook’s lobbyists have worked for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The Guardian reports that as Facebook faces intense scrutiny over policies relating to political advertising, privacy, and the spread of fake news across its platform, dozens of the firm’s lobbyists are linked to members of Congress which could give them direct influence over the individuals legislating on the social media platform.
Facebook has employed 68 federal lobbyists, 12 are an in-house employee and 56 comes from K Street firms. This costs Facebook around $12.3 million a year. Sludge reportedly combed through the Center for Responsive Politics and Legistorm databased and discovered that out of these lobbyists, only three have never worked for the federal government. The Facebook lobbyists have reportedly worked for 29 current Congress members consisting of 18 representatives and 11 senators.
Alex Kotch of Sludge writes in The Guardian:
Four of the lobbyists have worked in the office of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Two have worked in the office of Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Other Facebook lobbyists have worked for the majority leader Steny Hoyer , Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer , Senator Mark Warner, who is vice chair of the chamber’s Democratic caucus, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of Senate Democrats’ steering committee and a 2020 presidential candidate.
In contrast to the Democrats’ close relationship with the Facebook lobbyists, no current Facebook lobbyist has worked for members of the Republican House and Senate leadership, but several have worked for high ranking GOP Senate committee chairmen. Kotch discusses the issues this could cause, stating:
These “revolving door” connections likely give the lobbyists better access to their former bosses, experts say. Such connections have been shown to be effective in influencing how members of Congress vote. A 2011 study on financial industry lobbying from two International Monetary Fund economists found that “if a lobbyist had worked for a legislator in the past, the legislator was very likely to vote in favor of lax regulation”.
Read the full article in the Guardian here.