Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: disclose dark money donations from Big Tech

Posted July 13, 2022, 3:50 PM

Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Digital rights group Fight for the Future sent the following letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Press inquiries: press@fightforthefuture.org

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader
United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Schumer,

As you are aware, the decision of whether two bipartisan, filibuster-proof antitrust bills will reach a floor vote in the Senate rests solely on your shoulders. As you are also aware, recent reports indicate that you have been in close contact with top tech executives as they work to squash these bills. It is in this context that we write today to urge you to disclose publicly any contributions Big Tech companies, their executives, or affiliated advocacy organizations have donated this Congress to Majority Forward, a 501(c)4 dark-money group for which you personally and regularly solicit financial contributions that is affiliated with the Senate Majority PAC. Your prompt disclosure of these contributions would help mitigate an ongoing appearance of conflict of interest and help reassure a public that is questioning your hesitation in cracking down on Big Tech despite broad, bipartisan public support for doing so.

Faced with the prospect of being held accountable for harming competitors and consumers, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook have unleashed a historic spending blitz against regulation. It’s no secret that Big Tech companies and their allies are banking on the “clock running out” on S.2992 and S.2710 in the run-up to the August recess and the midterm elections. In this context, a recent report by the Washington Post noted that you personally will “decide whether the legislation will make it to the Senate floor for a vote.” The same report notes that Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy have been in contact with your office in recent days. It should come as no surprise that your close contact with Big Tech executives at this moment—while you are refusing to commit to a floor vote for the bills they oppose—has intensified scrutiny of your leadership.

Furthermore, a recent article in The Hill noted that your Senate campaign is the leading recipient of Apple employee donations this year, and that you also “received $170,000 from Google employees and its PAC” in the same cycle. The article notes that a majority of these “funds came from the tech firms’ executives and lobbyists.” As Majority Forward’s finances remain secret, speculation will persist as to what support it has received from Big Tech interests during this critical moment for Big Tech accountability.

At a time when the American people are increasingly losing faith in their government, the ongoing appearance that Big Tech is driving your agenda undermines not only confidence in your leadership but also in government more broadly. As such, disclosing what contributions Majority Forward has taken from Big Tech this Congress would meaningfully help restore integrity and support for the democratic process.