No Google Employee Made Itemized Donation to Trump in Second Quarter

Individuals at Twitter, Facebook also did not contribute to Trump; Combined $250,000 to top five Dems

The Google logo on the outside of their NYC office Google Building 8510 / Getty Images
July 24, 2019

Individuals who work for Google, Twitter, and Facebook did not make a single itemized contribution to President Donald Trump's reelection campaign during the second quarter, even as they pushed $250,000 into the coffers of the top five 2020 Democratic contenders, a review of campaign finance data shows.

Of the current top candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg was the favorite of those who work at the three tech giants, pulling in a combined $85,132.01 in itemized contributions—individuals' donations totaling $200 or more that discloses information such as an employer. Buttigieg, a Harvard graduate, has connections to many leaders in Silicon Valley who also attended the university.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) was the second biggest beneficiary from employees at Google, Twitter, and Facebook, pulling in $69,507.75. Earlier this year, the senator lambasted big tech's power and proposed breaking up America's largest tech companies. Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) received $45,772.82, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) collected $30,069.08, and former vice president Joe Biden saw $17,150 flow into his campaign from individuals at the three companies.

Google employees' contributions eclipsed the political donations of those associated with Twitter and Facebook throughout the second quarter, which spans from April 1 to June 30. All told, $247,631.66 was given from those who work at Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Of that amount, employees at Google-related companies accounted for 77 percent ($196,000) of the total contributions. Individuals at Facebook gave $38,831.22 while Twitter employees added $12,025, according to the data.

Trump's campaign did not receive a single itemized donation from any person at the three companies, despite their having more than 100,000 employees in combination. Trump has long spoken about alleged bias against himself and Republicans from big tech companies.

During the 2016 election cycle, Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Alphabet, Google's parent company, was working directly with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, an internal memo in the hacked Podesta emails showed. The Schmidt-backed company was never named within the document, but the tech mogul gave seed-funding to a tech startup called The Groundwork, which was ultimately paid $700,000 by Clinton's campaign. The memo also spoke of "discreet" conversations the Clinton campaign began with a number of big tech companies months before its launch. Schmidt later appeared at Clinton's "victory" party wearing a staff badge.

Republicans accused Google of political bias during the cycle for allegedly altering search results to favor Clinton. Schmidt said the company remained politically neutral.

Schmidt stepped away from Google's parent company in June but still remains an adviser to its leadership. Another company involving the former Alphabet executive, Civis Analytics, was "born" out of President Obama's reelection campaign, after Schmidt approached others about starting a firm at the conclusion of the 2012 elections. It is now helping the Biden campaign. Civis has been paid millions by Democratic committees in recent years, including tens of thousands from the presidential campaigns of Warren and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.)

Charles Fain Lehman contributed to this report.