“Mr. Zuckerberg has also met President Barack Obama several times, including hosting a town hall for the Democratic president at Facebook’s headquarters in 2011. The CEO contributed $10,000 to Facebook’s political action committee in the last election cycle and previously made a $100 million donation to Newark, N.J., public schools.“
Mark Zuckerberg is adding a new title to his roster: political organizer.
The 28-year-old Facebook Inc. FB -0.79% chief executive is in the process of co-organizing a political advocacy group made up of top technology leaders that would push federal legislative reform on issues ranging from immigration to education, said people familiar with the development.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is co-organizing a political advocacy group that aims to raise around $50 million and push federal legislative reform on issues ranging from immigration to education. WSJ’s Evelyn Rusli reports.
Mr. Zuckerberg is working on launching the group along with close friend Joe Green, who was one of the CEO’s Harvard University roommates, these people said. The group is expected to be formally announced in the next few weeks, they added.
The group, which so far doesn’t have a name, is aiming to raise roughly $50 million and has already secured commitments in the tens of millions of dollars from Mr. Zuckerberg and more than a dozen other tech executives includingLinkedIn Corp. LNKD +3.75% founder Reid Hoffman, said these people.
The group plans to register as a 501(c)(4), a distinction reserved for social welfare groups that are not organized for profit, said a person familiar with the discussions.
Mr. Zuckerberg has told confidantes that the new group will initially be focused on comprehensive immigration reform and making the pathway to U.S. citizenship less complicated for all immigrants, said people familiar with the CEO’s thinking. The group also plans to focus on issues including education reform and funding for scientific research.
The new group has also enlisted several consultants well versed in Beltway politics. Rob Jesmer, the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is especially active on a day-to-day basis, said one person with knowledge of the matter.
Joe Lockhart, Facebook’s former vice president of global communications and a former press secretary under president Bill Clinton’s administration, and Jon Lerner, a Republican strategist are also involved, another person familiar with the matter said.
The San Francisco Chronicle and Politico earlier reported on the potential formation of the group.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s involvement is another step into the political arena for the billionaire CEO.
In February, Mr. Zuckerberg hosted a fundraiser at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican. Mr. Zuckerberg has also met President Barack Obama several times, including hosting a town hall for the Democratic president at Facebook’s headquarters in 2011. The CEO contributed $10,000 to Facebook’s political action committee in the last election cycle and previously made a $100 million donation to Newark, N.J., public schools.
Some Facebook co-founders and executives have also expressed an interest in politics.
The social network’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, a former chief of staff of the Treasury Department, has hosted events in Silicon Valley for President Obama and former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
After Facebook Inc.’s calamitous IPO, investors are now looking less at the Internet and more at real estate to put their money in, MarketWatch’s David Weidner reports.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who is now publisher of The New Republic, previously assisted in President Obama’s election efforts and has emerged as a high-profile backer of gay rights.
Many Silicon Valley executives including Mr. Zuckerberg and Google Inc. GOOG +2.45% Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt have become more active in local and federal politics of late. Immigration has been a particularly popular issue among the digerati, with tech executives lobbying lawmakers to ease restrictions on visas to entrepreneurs and professionals. Many have endorsed the Startup Act 2.0 bill, which proposes creating a new visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs who manage to raise $100,000 and hire American workers.
(Source: Wall Street Journal)
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