Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to be questioned next week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a group of 55, 46 of whom have received donations from Facebook and political groups associated with the company.
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics confirmed that members on the 2018 House Energy and Commerce Committee have received approximately $381,000 in Facebook-related contributions since 2007 with the average Republican receiving $6,800 and the average Democrat getting $6,750, Breitbart reported.
Chairman of the committee Greg Walden, R-Or., reportedly received $27,000 in Facebook-related contributions, while ranking member Frank Pallone, D-N.Y., got $7,000. The highest amount of contributions — $51,050 during the last decade — was received by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Ca., the San Francisco Bay Area Democrat whose district is reportedly home to numerous Facebook executives and employees.
On Wednesday, Walden and Pallone announced that Zuckerberg will testify before Congress next week regarding “critical consumer data privacy issues.”
“This 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,” Walden and Pallone said in a statement. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th.”
According to Roll Call, two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have investments in Facebook. Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Ma., reportedly has investments in the company of at least $80,000, while Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Or., has at least $15,000 invested.
In 2017, Facebook reportedly spent more than $11 million lobbying Congress last year and is purportedly seeking to hire at least 11 additional lobbyists.
As Congress prepares to investigate Facebook regarding privacy policies, Fred Wertheimer, president of the Democracy21 campaign finance reform group, said that the company’s donations to “committees that have jurisdiction over them” only undermine “public confidence that the members are going to make decisions in the best interests of the American people.”