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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Two tech executives quit Mark Zuckerberg's political group

    Two tech executives quit Mark Zuckerberg's political group

    By Jessica Guynn
    May 10, 2013, 7:08 p.m.

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Two prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have quit Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's political advocacy group after protests from environmentalists and liberal groups, a person familiar with the situation said late Friday.

    Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of electric car maker Tesla Motors, chief executive of SpaceX and chairman of solar-energy company Solar City; and David Sacks, CEO and founder of Yammer, both have withdrawn from

    Zuckerberg launched last month to focus on bringing about comprehensive immigration reform. It has employed some controversial tactics including running three television ads to support senators in their home states, including praising one for supporting the Keystone XL pipeline. The ads quickly drew the ire of environmentalists and liberal groups, some of which pledged to pull ads from Facebook for two weeks.

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    "We recognize that not everyone will always agree with or be pleased by our strategy -- and we're grateful for the continued support of our dedicated founders and major contributors," spokeswoman Hansen said in a statement. " remains totally committed to supporting a bipartisan policy agenda that will boost the knowledge economy, including comprehensive immigration reform." has drawn fire from some in the technology industry who did not care for its tactics. It has an impressive roster of backers, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and has raised about $40 million, according to a person with direct knowledge of the group who was not authorized to speak publicly.

    The group, which has technology executives of different political stripes, aims to appear credible to conservatives and be truly bipartisan, this person said. He said does not anticipate any further defections.

    "In Silicon Valley, people are willing to be pragmatic," the person said.

    Musk and Sacks were uncomfortable with the publicity the ads had generated, he said.

    Neither Musk nor Sacks could be reached for comment.

    In a statement to technology blog All Things D, Musk said: "I agreed to support because there is a genuine need to reform immigration. However, this should not be done at the expense of other important causes."

    Zuckberg is the face and main backer of, but the organization is run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Joe Green, his college roommate. co-founder Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist at Accel Partners and an early investor in Facebook, said "passing major reform will require some different and innovative tactics."

    Reuters was the first to report on the defections.,4171845.story

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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Amnesty Group Splinters over Keystone, Drilling

    by Mike Flynn 12 May 2013, 9:34 AM PDT

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's political advocacy group,, has lost two high-profile Silicon Valley backers. Zuckerberg's group is one of the more prominent backers of the Gang of 8 amnesty legislation, but has drawn fierce criticism from the left for also supporting the Keystone pipeline and expanded oil drilling in Alaska. The intent of this support was to protect potential supporters of amnesty from conservative back-lash. It was too cute by half.

    After a public outcry from environmentalists, Elon Musk, whose electric car firm Tesla has received millions in federal support and David Sacks, founder of Yammer, publicly withdrew from Zuckerberg's organization. Zuckerberg's organization has hired a rolodex of DC insiders and sought to raise $50 million to pursue amnesty and other goals. The withdrawal of two highly-respected Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is a blow to that goal.

    The controversy erupted when Zuckerberg's group ran ads praising SC Sen. Lindsey Graham for supporting construction of the Keystone pipeline. A member of the Gang of 8 which authored the amnesty bill, Graham is potentially vulnerable to a conservative challenge in next year's primary. The ad was clearly meant to give Graham conservative cover to push for amnesty.

    Another ad applauded AK Sen. Mark Begich for supporting an expansion of oil drilling in Alaska. Begich, a Democrat, is up for reelection next year and is one of the more vulnerable Democrats seeking reelection. His vote for amnesty could jeopardize his reelection, so Zuckerberg's group sought to build up his conservative credentials on an important issue to Alaskan voters.

    The controversy has introduced Zuckerberg to the tangled web of DC interest politics. On paper, the ploy no doubt looked like a clever bank-shot to support amnesty. In reality, though, it touched the environmental movement's third rail. Groups on the left may share many common purposes, but tactical moves can't go against strategic goals. That jeopardizes a steady stream of fundraising.

    The withdrawal of Musk and Sacks will likely embolden environmentalists to call on Bill Gates, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, Google's Eric Schmidt, and other prominent backers of Zuckerberg to "unfriend" his organization. DC is a tough town.
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