Now that former Facebook president Sean Parker has his billions from Silicon Valley, he's tackling DC next, funneling cash to politicians that specialize in "compromise." And in Parker's mind, those who compromise happen to be Republicans.
After historically donating to Democratic candidates, Parker's contributions have shifted to the right for the 2014 election cycle. According to Politico, Parker recently gave $350,000 to a super PAC supporting conservative Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran—money that ultimately help Cochran survive a Tea Party primary challenge. He has also traveled to Washington to meet with Republicans, particularly those with "moderate conservative" economic views.
Politico says Parker is supporting "middle-of-the-road candidates" that are interested in "deal-making." But those candidates are remarkably right-wing.
In addition to supporting the Mississippi Conservatives super PAC, Parker cut checks to the campaigns of Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, who faced primary challengers on the right. He donated to both the campaigns and leadership PACs of Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam and Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi.
Parker also gave a six-figure sum to an outside group supporting South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's reelection campaign, according to a Parker adviser, who declined to identify the group.
He's not just donating to Republican candidates and allied super PACs. Parker has also been the chief financier of an automobile rights initiative in San Francisco, which is backed by the Republican Party.
The ballot measure, which will be voted on in November, seeks to "restore balance to San Francisco's transportation policies." However, the initiative is premised on the belief that bicycling and other green forms of transit are unfairly prioritized by the city. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
The measure calls for a ban on paid street parking nights and Sundays, more money for parking garages, a ban on new meters in neighborhoods without residents' and merchants' say-so, and equal enforcement of traffic laws for bicyclists and drivers.
Howard Chabner, a spokesman for the campaign, said, "There is a feeling that for the last several years the city has had ... a campaign against cars and in favor of bicycles."
Parker's embrace of the GOP and its causes is politics as usual in Silicon Valley. Tech moguls often start out backing Democrats, but slowly begin giving to Republicans. FWD.us, Mark Zuckerberg's lobbying group (which Parker is also a member of), doles out support to conservative lawmakers in exchange for their support on immigration reform. Even Google, which is famously supportive of Barack Obama, finances many Republican politicians.
There's nothing disruptive about old school political favor trading.