By Brody Mullins and Emily Glazer
WASHINGTON -- Employees of big technology firms were a key
source of contributions for Joe Biden's presidential campaign,
newly released campaign finance records show, eclipsing donations
from employees at traditional Democratic fundraising sources such
as banks and law firms.
Employees of Google's parent, Alphabet Inc., and Microsoft
Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. were the five
largest sources of money for Mr. Biden's campaign and joint
fundraising committees among those identifying corporate employers,
according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of campaign finance
Mr. Biden's presidential campaign received at least $15.1
million from employees of those five tech firms, records show. The
companies declined to comment.
The previous Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton
and Barack Obama also received large contributions from tech
company employees, but their top sources of employee donations
extended beyond the tech sector.
Mrs. Clinton's biggest sources of funds from those identifying
corporate employers in 2016 included employees of the personal
injury law firm Morgan & Morgan and JPMorgan Chase & Co.,
along with Google, Microsoft and Apple, according to election
records compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive
Four years earlier, Mr. Obama's top sources of corporate
employee contributions included Microsoft and Google but also
Deloitte, Time Warner, now part of AT&T Inc., and the law firm
While corporations are prohibited from giving directly to
campaigns, their employees are free to give as individuals and in
the aggregate provide a window into the leanings of workers who are
politically active enough to donate across different
The top sources of money from corporate employees to the
Republican incumbent Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign were
employees of American Airlines Group Inc., Boeing Co., Bank of
America Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co.,
according to the Center for Responsive Politics's analysis.
The findings come as Republicans have asserted that the big tech
companies are biased against them, including allegations that
companies with online platforms such as Facebook and Google censor
online content to favor liberal views.
"There is a disconnect between the tech industry and many
Republicans," said Doug Heye, a former spokesman for the Republican
National Committee. "We don't like Silicon Valley -- and they don't
Facebook, Google and other tech platforms have in the past
denied that the politics of their employees affects how they run
Some Democrats believe that the companies have grown too large
and that their platforms have permitted the spread of false
political information that helped Mr. Trump.
Google, Facebook and Amazon are already targets of antitrust
investigations, and there is bipartisan support in Congress for
measures that could diminish their clout. Facebook Chief Executive
Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey and Alphabet
CEO Sundar Pichai are set to testify before a House of
Representatives panel next month.
Mr. Biden has signaled that he supports rescinding the broad
legal immunity that tech firms currently enjoy for information
carried over their networks.
As the Biden administration settles in, tech companies are
awaiting key picks for the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice
Department's antitrust division head. The appointments could
determine how aggressively the government handles existing
investigations or bringing about new ones, advisers to the
The Journal's analysis is based on the latest Federal Election
Commission data covering the 2020 election cycle for Mr. Biden's
campaign, two joint fundraising committees and individual donations
to those committees made through the online donation platform
ActBlue. The Journal examined campaign-finance data to compile a
list of companies whose employees donated the most money.
The analysis relied on a standardized version of the
self-reported employer information on each donation and should be
treated as an estimate because some of the public records are
incomplete or flawed.
Because online donation platforms that itemize even the smallest
contribution weren't as widely used in 2016 and 2012, data for
previous years include information only on donors who gave more
than $200 to a campaign.
About two-thirds of the money in presidential races is donated
to candidates from individuals, who could give up to $2,800 to a
candidate for the recent election. Those who donate $200 or more
are required to disclose the names of their employers.
While corporations are prohibited from making financial
donations to candidates for national office, many companies operate
political-action committees, or PACs, which are employee-funded
accounts that companies use to donate money to favored candidates.
Relatively little money in presidential elections comes from
corporate PACs. Labor unions spend millions of dollars each
election to support Democratic candidates.
Technology employees made donations to other political entities
that worked to elect Mr. Biden and other Democrats, including
Future Forward USA PAC, which spent millions of dollars on the 2020
Mr. Biden's campaign, according to the Journal's analysis,
received $3.7 million from employees of five of the largest Wall
Street firms: Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Bank of
America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan. In prior elections, those firms
ranked among the top sources of money for the Democratic
presidential candidate, records show.
That was less than the total contributed to Mr. Biden by
employees of Alphabet, who donated $5.3 million, making the tech
company the No. 1 source of money, the Journal analysis shows.
Google employees were the top source of donations to Mrs.
Clinton's 2016 campaign and the second-largest source of money for
Mr. Obama's 2012 race.
Employees of Amazon contributed a total of $2.8 million to Mr.
Biden's campaign. Amazon was the third-largest source of money
among companies to Mr. Biden in the election. The company hadn't
been a big source of campaign money for prior Democratic
candidates, records show.
Microsoft employees have long been a top source of money for
Democratic presidential candidates. Microsoft employees donated
$3.2 million to Mr. Biden in the election.
Facebook employees have emerged as a top source of money,
donating $1.9 million to his campaign, records show.
Other top sources of money for Mr. Biden were employees of
Lowercase Capital, Oracle Corp., Netflix Inc., Saban Capital Group
and Morgan & Morgan, the data analyzed by the Journal shows.
Lowercase Capital is a venture-capital firm that was an early
investor in Twitter, Uber Technologies Inc. and Instagram, now part
--Chad Day contributed to this article.
Write to Brody Mullins at firstname.lastname@example.org and Emily Glazer
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 20, 2021 10:14 ET (15:14 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.