Employees at big tech companies are putting their money where their politics are. For the 2020 primary race, that means mostly dividing their political donations among the 20-plus Democratic presidential candidates.
Kamala Harris, with $68,000 in individual donations, was the top recipient of donations for presidential candidates this quarter from employees of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter, according to data from GovPredict, a political analytics platform. The California senator was followed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — both of whom have been the most aggressive in criticizing tech company behavior and calling for their regulation. Trump also received a few thousand dollars, but Democrats were the main beneficiaries.
Political loyalties also differed by company, according to the data, which pulled from Federal Election Commission data on primary donations and only includes itemized donations (sums of less than $200 don’t require that a donator list their job).
Google employees gave the largest share of donations, $31,000, to Warren. Microsoft and Amazon employees favored Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, while Apple workers favored Sen. Cory Booker. Facebook gave the largest share of its money to Harris. Twitter, which is much smaller than these other companies but which we included because of its political importance, saw the biggest share of employee donations go to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
This data only includes campaigns that were announced prior to or during the first quarter of 2019, so Joe Biden, who announced his run in April, does not yet have available data. Biden’s campaign announced that it raised $6.3 million in donations of all kinds on its first day of fundraising, but those numbers won’t appear in FEC filings until the second quarter results.
Donations are expected to increase following Wednesday and Thursday’s debates, but this data gives an early glimpse at where tech employees might put their money. Individuals can donate up to $2,800 for the primaries. They can donate another $2,800 in the general election.
Tech employees don’t necessarily represent all individual Democratic donors in the US, who have put the largest share of their money toward Bernie Sanders, followed by John Delaney, Warren, Harris, and Gillibrand. And individual donations are just one funding source for candidates; they also get money from committees and PACs.
Still, these tech companies are some of the largest employers in the US and employees at these companies are responsible for many of the products — software and hardware alike — that Americans use every day. Their industry has also been the target of political scrutiny and potential regulation.
Typically, Silicon Valley tech employees skew much more liberal in their political donations than their employers, which, like most corporations, tend to be less partisan in their donations. Corporate money also generally tends to support incumbents, who are more likely to win and secure the company’s ties in Washington.
Here’s the data again all on one page:
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