Money in politics doesn’t just affect legislators–moneyed interests can and do exert their fiscal leverage all the way up to the highest office in the land. Buzzfeed reports that one of the most up-and-coming fundraising powers lies within the Silicon Valley technology industry:
As new media begins to gain political clout along with financial
power, one potential loser is the entertainment world, long a fundraising hub for Democrats. And the two California power bases have dramatically different interests, a narrative that has has been developing with increasing clarity in recent years. Last winter’s Capitol Hill showdown over two anti-piracy bills, known as SOPA and PIPA, showed the growing strength of the online platform (ie, Silicon Valley) vis-a-vis the content (Hollywood).
A look inside the political donations across all parties in California also shows an ascendant Silicon Valley. Of the top ten CA state political donors, half the list was tech-related — Hollywood only claimed two spots (the top two, to be fair.)
Between this and the fact that Google, Inc. has been one of President Obama’s top five contributors in both the 2008 and 2012 election cycles (and also a staunch opponent of SOPA and PIPA), it is no surprise that the President took a position opposing the anti-piracy legislation introduced in late 2011. The New York Times reports that:
“This is the first real test of the political strength of the Web, and regardless of how things go, they are no longer a pushover,” said [Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School] … He added, “The Web taking a stand against one of the most powerful lobbyers and seeming to get somewhere is definitely a first.”
And they didn’t stop at “getting somewhere.” SOPA and PIPA are now essentially “dead in the water.” And the cost? A paltry $27 million in campaign contributions across the tech industry, eclipsing the $9.5 million donated to the Obama campaign from Hollywood–the other large moneyed interest most in favor of the passage of SOPA and PIPA.
As hollywood once said, “Show me the money!”