Big Tech Employees Donate Overwhelmingly to 2020 Democrats

Big Tech employees at companies like Facebook and Amazon have donated overwhelmingly to Democrats in 2020, revealing a double-digit increase from the 2016 presidential election cycle.

Employees at Silicon Valley's "Big Five" tech companies—Amazon, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft—have given $15 million to Democratic candidates this year. Drawing from data available in the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets website, that number compares to the $3 million these employees contributed to Republicans.

Big Tech—and hundreds of other Fortune 500 companies—have each saved billions of dollars annually since the GOP-majority Congress passed President Donald Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Despite the corporate tax break windfall, Big Tech employee donations to Democrats increased by 16 percent since 2016, when rampant accusations of "conservative bias" first sprang up against Silicon Valley. Big Tech donations this year have particularly helped Democratic candidates in tight U.S. senate races, including South Carolina's Jaime Harrison, who is taking on Lindsey Graham, as well as Kentucky's Amy McGrath, who will face GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

Some tech company employees were far more partisan in their donations this year, with 98 percent of Netflix employees and 77 percent of Amazon workers donating to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.

In 2016, 68 percent of donations from workers at the largest U.S. tech companies went to members of the Democratic Party. That number increased to 79 percent during the 2018 midterm elections and now 84 percent this year.

"A lot of people have been making a lot of money in Silicon Valley while watching the world fall apart," Misha Chellam, head of the non-partisan Council on Technology and Society, said in an interview with CNBC Saturday. "They've seen their fortunes rise and seen much of the rest of the country's fortunes fall."

Trump and his top Republican surrogates have long accused Big Tech of trying to undermine his campaign and to censor conservative speech. Even before Trump's 2016 win over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, GOP Senator John Thune demanded Facebook respond to employee allegations of political bias against conservatives—something Facebook and several workers outright rejected at the time. Over the past year, Republicans have upped the ante and threatened to break up Big Tech firms like Google and Amazon through federal antitrust measures.

"Big Tech is censoring conservatives. They intend to steal this election from the voters and from Donald Trump and we should not let them," Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz told Fox News last week.

In May, Trump tweeted, "Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY."

Facebook content moderators publicly expressed solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters in the wake of George Floyd's May 25 death, even labeling Trump's "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" remarks as "hate speech." In 2016, Facebook workers drew controversy for crossing out "Black Lives Matter" and writing "All Lives Matter" on a wall inside the company's Menlo Park, California, offices.

big tech employees democrats donations
Big Tech employees at companies like Facebook and Amazon have donated overwhelmingly to Democrats in 2020, a double-digit increase from the 2016 presidential election cycle. JOSH EDELSON / Contributor/Getty Images

During a Senate Judiciary hearing last week, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz alleged Google is proactively "censoring" conservative and pro-Trump comments online. Cruz has recently been joined by a wide array of pro-Trump backers including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Donald Trump Jr. in accusing Twitter, Facebook and google of trying to "censor, shadow-band and silence" any speech which doesn't support liberal politics.

Last Sunday, Cruz said Google is threatening to demonetize right-wing publications over "objectionable" comment sections. Cruz painted a picture of hypocrisy and double standards, by imploring committee members to view the innumerable "profane, racist and otherwise offensive" comments made on the YouTube channels of mainstream or left-leaning news outlets.

Big Tech companies have recently rebuked the repeated accusations of "anti-conservative bias," with Twitter even flagging several tweets from the president which the company said violated their terms of service. The move prompted several high-profile Republicans including Cruz this week to say they are leaving the social media outlet altogether and moving to an unbiased platform called, "Parler."