In recent months, companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo have dialed back their most egregious political donations, pulling support from climate change-denying groups like ALEC and the Chamber of Commerce. But tech firms continue funneling money into right-wing campaigns, and the Silicon Valley liberals who financed them are pissed.
Politico reports that the anger stems from the tech industry's political naiveté. "When it comes to politics, Silicon Valley is a teenager that grew up too fast and doesn't understand the intricacies of the political system" the publication quoted Stanford's Vivek Wadhwa as saying.
"As some of these tech companies got large enough that they started opening D.C. offices, they brought in D.C. teams, which makes a lot of sense. And in a lot of ways, those D.C. teams did business as usual," said Julie Samuels, the executive director of Engine, which represents startup companies.
"But that way of typically operating on Capitol Hill doesn't always jibe with the ways these tech companies operate in the Bay Area or New York, wherever they're based," she continued. "So I actually think, in a lot of these cases, the companies' headquarters may not have realized everything that was going on in D.C."
Some of Silicon Valley's early forays into politics were compromised from the get go. FWD.us, Mark Zuckerberg's famously conflicted lobbying group, has "ground to a halt" and fired its president, according to National Journal. But that hasn't stopped the flow of corporate bucks into candidate's pockets.
"When you talk about companies like Facebook and Google, they are built on a more idealistic platform than a lot of major institutional companies historically have been," Samuels said. "It's part of their DNA that they engage on some of these social issues, that they engage their users. Politically, that puts them in a really tough spot. We don't hold other companies to the same standards."