According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, members of the House Energy and Commerce committee, who will question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, have received nearly $380,000 from the political action committee (PAC) funded by Facebook’s employees since 2007.
Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, who will question Zuckerberg tomorrow, have received contributions of $369,000 from Facebook over the same time frame.
Members of the Senate Justice Committee, who will hold a joint-hearing with the Senate Commerce committee tomorrow, received contributions of $235,000.
Moreover, of the 30 public officials who hold stock in Facebook, three belong to the two committees questioning Facebook’s CEO later this week, according to a report from Roll Call.
Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has over $80,000 invested in Facebook while Democrat Kurt Schrader, who sits on the same committee, has invested $15,000 in the Silicon Valley based social network.
Meanwhile, Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has invested no less than $30,000.
Congressman Kennedy’s office responded to Roll Call’s request for comment by stating “Congressman Kennedy’s stock holdings do not influence his work in Congress”.
Facebook announced the launch of Facebook, Inc. PAC (FBPAC) in a release posted on its website in 2011.
In the release it states “no campaign contribution will be made with the expectation that Facebook will receive something in return” and “the private political preferences of Facebook executives, directors, and employees do not influence either FBPAC’s or the Company’s political contributions”.
According to USA Today, 46 out of 55 members on the House Energy and Commerce committee have received contributions from Facebook in the last ten years.
The Chairman of the committee, Republican Greg Walden, received $27,000, while the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Republican John Thune, received $13,000.
The hearings relate to data privacy and Facebook’s relationship with UK-based data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.
According to a release published on the House Energy and Commerce committee’s website, “[the] hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online”.