Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, August 12, 2013
Twitter is taking the fight to revolutionize how Americans live on a daily basis offline – and with more than 140 characters.
The social networking company announced Friday that it will be setting up its own federal political action committee – Twitter#PAC – with the Federal Election Commission. It also plans to have a lobbyist arm within the new PAC,having filed paperwork to officially lobby the federal government earlier this summer.
It is largely expected that Twitter will focus its lobbying efforts on free speech and the Internet, copyright and patent law reform and government surveillance of communications.
“We expect to continue to play an active role in speaking up on issues related to Internet freedom, government access to user data, patent reform and freedom of expression,” Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
Twitter has been vocal about its desire for greater transparency from federal spy agencies, and has publicly criticized the secrecy toward the requests the government makes of tech companies when requesting help with surveillance efforts. The company, according to the Post, also believes that non-disclosure rules should be lifted.
Coincidentally, Twitter’s announcement came on the same day as the president’s news conference, where Obama dedicated a significant amount of time to privacy and national security issues, including the National Security Agency’s recent surveillance scandal.
Several Twitter executives have a long history of donating to political causes and candidates – albeit it Democratic ones. According to Roll Call, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams gave $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee in June, as well as $10,000 to a Democratic-oriented super PAC, End the Gridlock, in October 2012. The company’s CEO, Richard Costolo, also gave $2,500 to Obama’s re-election campaign, as well as the Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Party committees in September 2012.
By forming its own PAC, the 7-year-old company follows in the footsteps of Facebook and Google, both of whom already have their own federal PACs. Facebook Inc., which was started in 2011, gave out $277,000 in contributions during the 2012 campaign cycle while Google Inc., which first registered its federal PAC in 2006, doled out more than one million dollars last election cycle.