Roger Stone arrives for his sentencing at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, DC on February, 20, 2020.
Marvin Joseph | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Facebook on Wednesday announced it removed a network of more than 100 accounts and pages posting misinformation on the company’s social network with ties to Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative and ally of President Donald Trump.
“Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates,” Facebook said in a statement.
The network of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” used Facebook to pose as Florida residents and post misinformation regarding local politics in Florida, land and water resource bills in Florida, material released by Wikileaks ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and Stone’s trial as well as his websites, books and media appearances.
The network was followed by more than 320,000 accounts across Facebook and Instagram. It consisted of 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Facebook Pages and four Instagram accounts. The network spent $308,000 on Facebook ads.
This group was also active on other internet services besides Facebook, the company said.
The company began looking into this network as part of an investigation into the far-right group Proud Boys’ efforts to return to Facebook after it had been banned from the service in 2018.
Stone was convicted last fall of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. The charges were brought by a grand jury as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone, 67, is currently scheduled to report to federal prison next week. His lawyers recently asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to delay his surrender date to at least early September, citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in correctional institutions.
Stone has asked for clemency from Trump, who has signaled he may be considering a pardon or commutation of sentence. In June, for instance, Trump tweeted that Stone “was a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which will go down as the greatest political crime in history. He can sleep well at night!”
Additionally, Facebook also removed a network of accounts focused on posting misinformation in Brazil with ties to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro. the network consisted of 50 Facebook accounts, pages and groups and 38 Instagram accounts. The Facebook pages were followed by 883,000 accounts, and 917,000 users followed the Instagram accounts, the company said.
–CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.
Our work-from-home ETF could have staying power beyond the pandemic, Direxion’s head of product says
Work-from-home stocks are working.
The Direxion Work From Home ETF (WFH) has been attracting investors since its June 25 launch, a testament to the rising interest in offerings based on the new normal brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
David Mazza, head of product at Direxion, told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Monday that WFH has seen “a significant increase in assets and trading volume as investors begin to embrace the fact that it’s not just about stay-at-home trades or work-from-home trades.”
The fund has climbed more than 5% since its launch. Its top 10 holdings are as follows:
“This is a long-term theme that’s beginning to play out in the market, and by that I mean societal acceptance of having greater remote work and the ability to work from anywhere,” Mazza said. “The names … in this portfolio cover four technological pillars that are driving the ability for people to work from home.”
- The first pillar is cloud technology, represented in Direxion’s fund by tech giants Microsoft and Amazon, which both have growing cloud-computing businesses, Mazza said.
- The second pillar is cybersecurity, which folds in stocks such as Fortinet and Okta.
- The third pillar is “project and document management,” Mazza said, citing holdings such as Box and Dropbox.
- The fourth and possibly most relevant pillar is remote communications, which accounts for high-profile holdings such as Zoom Video, but also lesser-known names including 8×8 and Twilio, Mazza said. He added that Twilio is helping facilitate New York City’s Covid-19 contact-tracing initiative.
“Many of these might not displace a Microsoft or displace an Amazon just because of their influence and pervasiveness across so many pillars that we use as consumers,” Mazza acknowledged. “But I think the broader point is that when we begin to think about what are the themes that are going to have legs in the new normal, to me, one of those is all the potential … to empower us to be productive, to be efficient, whether that’s working partially in an office, collaborating with people that are socially distanced from us there or collaborating where some of us are in the office, some of us are at our homes or some of us may be other places.”
Tom Lydon, the CEO of ETF Trends and ETF Database, said in the same interview that investing in stay-at-home stocks is “definitely not a fad.”
“Everybody in America and around the world is embracing technology, and stocks are benefiting from that,” he said. “Some of these stocks you maybe have never heard before, but the ETF companies like Direxion do a great job in talking about the underlying stocks and, really, why they might be different from other holdings that you have in your portfolio.”
Lydon called attention to the market’s near-obsession with the FAANG names, the longtime acronym for the stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet. Along with Microsoft, the six are heavily represented across indexes and ETFs given their massive market caps.
“The question is: What are the future FAANG stocks going to be?” Lydon said, adding that the equal-weighted S&P 500 is now down more than 12% year to date, a sign that big-cap names are responsible for the broader index staying afloat in 2020. The S&P 500, which is market cap-weighted, is down nearly 3% for the year.
“It’s been those big stocks that have kind of carried the day, but there are also other stocks that are growing that haven’t yet made it into those indexes,” Lydon said. “So, we have opportunities with these new creative ETFs that are out there.”
WFH climbed 1% on Wednesday. In mid-June, BlackRock filed for its own thematic ETF called the iShares Virtual Work and Life Multisector ETF, though it has not yet disclosed any holdings.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addresses students during a town hall at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, India, November 12, 2018.
Anushree Fadnavis | Reuters
The company revealed little about the new platform, though said it will work with its Payments and Twitter.com teams.
“We are building a subscription platform, one that can be reused by other teams in the future. This is a first for Twitter! Gryphon is a team of web engineers who are closely collaborating with the Payments team and the Twitter.com team,” Twitter said on the job posting.
The move could help diversify Twitter’s revenue beyond advertising, which accounts for more than 80% of the company’s revenue. In Q4 2019 — before the coronavirus shut down large swaths of the economy and advertisers began to draw back on spending — Twitter’s ad revenue was up 12% from the year-ago quarter. In Q1 2020, it was essentially flat from the previous year’s quarter.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The stock could also be boosted by Monday’s comments from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the U.S. government was looking at banning TikTok, a rival social media platform. It’s already been banned in India.
The banning of TikTok could provide some competitive relief to social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Facebook, Morgan Stanley’s sales team wrote Tuesday morning.
Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon
Anjali Sundaram | CNBC
Verizon Chief Executive Officer Hans Vestberg decided to stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram after seeing content show up next to ads that “were not compliant with our standard agreements,” according to an exclusive interview with CNBC.
Verizon announced it was temporarily pausing advertising with Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary last month until it felt more “comfortable” with the social media platforms. At the time, Verizon was the largest advertiser to halt its ad spending. The boycott now encompasses more than 750 companies, including such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Unilever.
Vestberg told CNBC that Verizon’s decision wasn’t about politics but rather driven by a desire to maintain “a very high standard for our brands.” Verizon spent about $23 million in 2019 U.S. advertising on Facebook and more on Instagram, according to data from Pathmatics. Verizon was the 88th largest U.S. advertiser on Facebook for 2019, Pathmatics estimated.
“Everything we do around our brand is super important,” Vestberg said. “Where we show up, etc. What happened was that certain things on Facebook that were appearing next to our content were not compliant with our standard agreements with Facebook. So we decided to pause and work with them to see how we can avoid this in the future.”
Vestberg declined to say what specifically Verizon is asking Facebook to change. He said similar discussions occurred with Google’s YouTube in 2017 and led to a satisfactory result where Verizon felt comfortable enough to restart advertising.
“This happened with YouTube, and we worked with them and we solved it,” Vestberg said. “We try to work with our partners that we’re using for advertising. But, again, for us, we’re very sensitive to our brand values and our brand standards.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week he expected the boycotting advertisers “will be back on the platform soon enough,” according to private comments reported by The Information.
–CNBC’s Meg Graham contributed to this report.
Thanks to a swelling resurgence in coronavirus cases, the vast majority of Americans are still being forced to work from home and will likely continue doing so for the foreseeable future. So, it was only a matter of time before issuers started orchestrating work-from-home plays in the form of ETFs.
Just two weeks ago, Direxion launched the world’s first work from home ETF (ticker: WFH) — comprised of companies ranging from software, cloud computing and cybersecurity to online videoconferencing and project management. The fund highlights names like Twilio, CrowdStrike and Zoom Video — all companies at the forefront of the global shift to remote productivity. But the fund also offers exposure to names like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Google parent Alphabet.
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has followed up with its own iShares Virtual Work and Life Multisector ETF — though has yet to disclose any holdings. The BlackRock ETF has been filed with the SEC for approval but hasn’t launched. According to the SEC filing, the fund will seek to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. and non-U.S. companies that “provide products, services and technologies that empower individuals to work remotely, and support an increasingly virtual way of life across entertainment, wellness and learning.”
It’s safe to say the work-from-home theme draws on similar demand for popular stay-at-home trends like streaming, e-commerce, gaming and sports betting — as shown by the recent launch of the Roundhill Sports Betting and iGaming ETF (ticker: BETZ) – and the outperformance of funds like the VanEck Video Gaming and eSports ETF (ticker: ESPO) and the Amplify Online Retail ETF (ticker: IBUY) — both up roughly 40% so far this year.
Todd Rosenbluth, senior director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA, said it should come as no surprise that thematic investing is gaining traction again.
“This time, there’s actually a rotation from individual stock selection and trying to pick a long-term theme and getting the benefits of diversification from ETFs,” he said last week on CNBC’s “ETF Edge.”
He pointed to Direxion’s new launch as an example — saying investors can gain exposure not only to established growth tech titans like Amazon and Alphabet, but also to more targeted companies specifically tied to the work-from-home culture.
With more asset managers flocking to opportunities created by the pandemic, Rosenbluth expects to see many more players in the work-from-home space.
He mentioned investors are also looking to products like the newly minted ETFMG Treatments, Testing and Advancements ETF (ticker: GERM), which tracks biotechnology companies engaged in testing and treating infectious diseases.
“We’re going to see more of these thematic-oriented ETFs in response to the current environment,” Rosenbluth said. “And I think all investors benefit from these choices.”
Bryon Lake, head of Americas ETF distribution at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, agreed — saying such themes speak to the overall flexibility of the ETF wrapper.
“Of course, you’re going to see a lot of the same names keep bubbling back up,” he said in the same “ETF Edge” segment — referring to mega-cap tech titans like Amazon, Apple and Netflix. “But [regardless of] whether that’s quality or whether that’s a thematic work-from-home play, what we do know is that investors like to own what they know.”
As for whether he sees this as a lasting investing trend, Lake said that remains to be seen.
“I think that ties into this whole theme of winners and losers coming out of this crisis,” he said. “And some of those work-from-home companies may benefit over the long term, just given the structural shifts that we’re seeing.”
Tech workers are opening their wallets to beat Trump even with stock prices soaring and profits near records
US President Donald Trump (r) and Apple CEO Tim Cook speak to the press during a tour of the Flextronics computer manufacturing facility where Apple’s Mac Pros are assembled in Austin, Texas, on November 20, 2019.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Their stock prices are near record levels. So are their profits. Their founders are among the wealthiest people on the planet.
But while the world’s most valuable tech companies have expanded their dominance in the 3 1/2 years of Donald Trump’s presidency, with an assist from corporate tax breaks, employees at those same companies are more adamant than ever about unseating him.
“A lot of people have been making a lot of money in Silicon Valley while watching the world fall apart,” said Misha Chellam, a former start-up founder who last year started the non-partisan Council on Technology and Society to engage tech executives on political issues. “They’ve seen their fortunes rise and seen much of the rest of the country’s fortunes fall.”
For decades, the tech industry has leaned left, particularly in the hotbeds of Silicon Valley and Seattle. Heading into this November’s contest, the partisan disparity has never been so lopsided.
Employees at the big five tech companies — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — have thus far contributed a total of almost $15 million to Democratic candidates, compared to just under $3 million to Republicans, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics‘ OpenSecrets website.
That means Democrats have received 84% of employee donations, an increase from 68% in 2016 and 79% in the 2018 mid-term elections, when the Democrats won the House back from Republicans. Campaign finance laws restrict the amount an individual can contribute in an election to $2,800, or $5,600 between the primary and general election.
The gap could narrow as the general election nears. A good chunk of tech spending to date went towards a competitive Democratic presidential primary, while Trump effectively ran unopposed. But since Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee, the imbalance has actually expanded. Between the two candidates, Biden has collected more than 92% of the donated money from the top tech companies, according to OpenSecrets.
Tech workers aren’t just eyeing the White House. They’re also sinking money into tight Senate races, aiming to help Democrats pick up the four seats necessary to reclaim a majority. Amy McGrath, who’s running to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, is getting a big boost from tech money, along with Jaime Harrison, the Democrat taking on Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, and Mark Kelly, who’s running against Martha McSally in Arizona.
Travel ban and trade war
Trump’s tumultuous relationship with the tech industry dates back to his anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric and efforts to impose a Muslim travel ban shortly after he took office in 2017. That year, Trump also refused to call out white nationalism after the violent Charlottesville rally and pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. His inconsistent and often incoherent trade war with China has won him few fans in tech, which benefits from healthy trade relations with the world’s second-biggest economy.
That was all before the calendar turned to 2020, a year that started just after Trump’s impeachment in the House and brought with it wide criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence.
But Trump’s presidency has also coincided with record business success for Big Tech.
Apple, Microsoft and Amazon (despite Trump’s vendetta against CEO Jeff Bezos) have soared past $1 trillion in market cap, with Alphabet closing just above that mark on Thursday, and Facebook in fifth place at over $600 billion. No other public U.S. company is close in value. Shares have gained between 79% (Alphabet) and 257% (Amazon) in value since Trump’s inauguration.
Tech executives lauded the Trump administration in 2018 for lowering the tax on repatriated cash, allowing them to bring hundreds of billions of dollars back from overseas, paving the way for heftier buybacks. He also reduced the corporate tax rate, giving a boost to earnings.
Regulations haven’t posed much of a problem either. Threats of regulating Big Tech have circulated since last July, when the Department of Justice said it was opening a broad antitrust review. But the loudest voices demanding that tech giants be broken up have been on the left from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Not even an economic crisis has impeded tech’s growth. The travel and hospitality industries have been decimated by Covid-19, but the Nasdaq, powered by programmers working from home, is trading at an all-time high. While Apple, Amazon and Google are expected to take an earnings hit this year related to Covid-19, analysts expect them to all be back at record profits in 2021.
‘I’m just exasperated’
Silicon Valley veterans are quick to recall a tech industry that was historically liberal on social issues but conservative on fiscal matters, in favor of small government and fearful of higher taxes and more regulation. You don’t have to go far to find people who voted for Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush.
But Trump made it hard in 2016 for many mainstream Republicans to suck it up and support their party’s candidate. Clinton won by a wider margin in Seattle and across most of the Bay Area than did Obama four years earlier, and employees at the five most valuable tech companies contributed 60 times more to Clinton than to Trump.
They’ve now had almost four years to see their concerns play out.
Jonathan Brown, a mobile apps developer at Adobe who started working there in 1995, is doing great financially. The software maker’s stock price is up 34% this year and has quadrupled since Trump took office, pushing its market value past $200 billion.
But like many of his colleagues, Brown is unhappy with where the country is headed.
“I’m just exasperated at the fact that Adobe stock hits all-time highs at the same time that the economy has been hit so hard,” said Brown, who’s based in Seattle. “I feel responsible to leverage some of my wealth to move politics in the right direction.”
Brown contributed $500 to Jamaal Bowman, who just recently won his Democratic primary in New York over incumbent Congressman Eliot Engel, and $500 to Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was first elected to congress in 2018. Brown says he’s no fan of Biden, and actually contributed to Sen. Warren in the presidential primary.
Former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman poses outside a subway station on June 17, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Jeenah Moon | Getty Images
He’s mostly focused on backing liberal Democrats in their primary elections and hasn’t yet decided what he’ll do during the general elections.
“This is the first year that I’ve really paid that much attention to political campaign giving,” Brown said, adding that he’s previously been more inclined to donate to nonprofits.
Adobe has always been a heavily pro-Democratic company, based on donations in past elections, but with four months still to go until the 2020 contest, employees have already contributed more to candidates than in any previous cycle, according to OpenSecrets.
But even some tech companies that were farther to the right on the political spectrum have swung dramatically toward the Democrats. Employees at Oracle, whose founder Larry Ellison and CEO Safra Catz are Trump supporters, have sent 67% of their cash to Democrats, up from 49% in 2016. The shift at Cisco is even more stark, with Democrats receiving 80% up from 36% four years ago.
An executive at one San Francisco financial technology company, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, said the overwhelming emotion among his peers is fear.
His company and the industry as a whole count on immigration for talent and sensible trade policies for conducting business. Within his circle of tech workers, the executive said, people are concerned that the U.S. is losing its appeal and becoming a frightening place.
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) speaks during a news conference on healthcare April 30, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
The executive has donated to Biden as well as Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who’s fighting to keep his seat. He also sent money to the Lincoln Project, a political action committee formed by anti-Trump Republicans to run a series of hard-hitting ads.
Margaret O’Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington, said that the tech industry is more politicized than ever. Even before 2020, employees at Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Salesforce had protested contracts their companies had with the government. There was also the role that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter played in enabling the spread of misinformation and foreign meddling in our Democratic process.
Employees have shown a willingness to jeopardize their jobs to demand transparency and accountability from their bosses. When it comes to political leaders, they’re voting with their wallets.
“This is a different historical moment,” O’Mara said. “It’s become harder to stay on the sidelines.”
Even top tech execs are getting more vocal.
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, who succeeded lifelong and vocal Republican John Chambers at the helm in 2015, joined the parade of tech executives in tweeting #BlackLivesMatter after the killing of George Floyd in late May by a police officer in Minneapolis set off a wave of nationwide protests.
Three days after Trump tweeted, “when the looting starts the shooting starts,” Robbins told his followers that Cisco was committing $5 million to groups including Equal Justice Initiative, Black Lives Matter and its own fund for fighting racism.
“Look, I think what’s happened here is that the issues that exist have just been highlighted, and I think the entire community of business leaders and society have said, ‘That’s it,'” Robbins told CNBC in a mid-June interview. without criticizing Trump directly.
Facebook’s billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said last month in a letter to scientists who fund their philanthropic organization that they were “deeply shaken and disgusted” by Trump’s rhetoric. Zuckerberg was under pressure from donors for allowing hate speech to flourish on Facebook, an issue that’s become a major concern over the last couple weeks, with many global brands boycotting advertising on the site.
Jotaka Eaddy, founder and CEO of political consulting firm Full Circle Strategies, said CEOs are being forced into the action.
“You can’t say Black Lives Matter and I care about Black lives but then continue to allow the perpetuation of hate and violence on your platform,” said Eaddy, who splits her time between Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area. “They contradict each other.”
— CNBC’s Jordan Novet contributed to this report.
Netflix’s Reed Hastings.
Ernesto S. Ruscio | Getty Images
With four months to go until the 2020 elections, employees at tech companies are ramping up their political donations, and sending the vast majority of that money to Democrats.
The tech industry has long leaned left, but President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration and trade, coupled with his responses to the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests against police violence, have created an even wider partisan imbalance than in the past.
Tech employees not only strongly favor Joe Biden, the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee for president, but they’re also funneling money to Democratic candidates in competitive congressional races, particularly in the Senate, where the Republican majority is now at risk. One reason for the big disparity between the donations is that tech workers were donating to the many candidates in the Democratic presidential primaries, while Trump ran virtually uncontested.
Among the 17 U.S. tech companies valued at $100 billion or more, employees at Netflix are the most liberal based on fundraising data, with 98% of their donations going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets website. Qualcomm is the most conservative, with a 50-50 split that very narrowly favors Republicans.
Below is a ranking of those companies, from most liberal to most conservative.
(Campaign finance laws restrict individual donations to $2,800 per election, or $5,600 between the primary and general election.)
Democrats – $340,485 (98%), Republicans – $7,124 (2%)
This is nothing new for Netflix. Employees at the video-streaming company sent 98% of their donations to Democrats in 2016 and 99.6% in the 2018 midterm elections. The biggest individual recipients of Netflix employee funds for this cycle were Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primary. Then comes Biden, followed by Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated to Buttigieg and Biden, according to records from OpenSecrets and the Federal Election Commission.
By far the biggest recipient of Netflix employee money has been the Senate Majority PAC, a political action committee that’s “solely dedicated to building a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate,” according to its website.
Democrats – $154,466 (93%), Republicans – $11,673 (7%)
Biden is the second-leading individual recipient from Nvidia workers, behind Sanders, but above Warren and Buttigieg. Employees have also sent money to DNC Services Corp., a Democratic PAC. Nvidia employee donations heavily favored Democrats in 2016 as well, with those candidates receiving 97% of money from employees, but as recently as 2014, the split between the parties was almost even.
Democrats – $401,937 (93%), Republicans – $28,137 (7%)
Like Netflix employees, those at Adobe always lean heavily left. In 2016, Democrats received almost 99% of employee money. Also like at Netflix, Adobe employees favored, in order, Sanders, Warren, Biden and Buttigieg. The leading overall recipient of Adobe employee money is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official campaign group of House Democrats.
Democrats – $1,496,234 (90%), Republicans – $163,804 (10%)
From employees of IBM, Biden has raised less than Sanders or Warren. He has also raised only twice as much as Trump, a narrower margin than at most other large tech companies. Like at Adobe, the DCCC has received more IBM employee money than any single candidate.
In 2016, IBM workers sent 88% of political donation money to Democrats, a number that jumped to 92% for the 2018 midterm elections.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, speaks as Marc Benioff, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Salesforce.com listens during a keynote at the 2019 DreamForce conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Nov. 19, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Democrats – $457,119 (89%), Republicans – $59,181 (11%)
Salesforce employees have strongly preferred Democrats since 2010, sending at least 88% of their money to candidates from that party in each cycle over the past decade. Biden is the third-biggest recipient among presidential candidates at Salesforce, behind Sanders and Warren. Among organizations, workers at the cloud software company have sent the most money to a group called Tech for Campaigns, which connects political campaigns with developers to try to “flip state legislatures all across the country blue.”
CEO Marc Benioff hasn’t contributed much this year, but in this cycle he’s been an equal opportunist. Last year, he contributed to Republican Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader, and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, while also writing checks to Democrats Jay Inslee, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker for their presidential primary campaigns. He also contributed to Democrat Mark Kelly, who is trying to unseat Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona.
Democrats – $5,437,048 (88%), Republicans – $766,920 (12%)
Google employees may not be the most partisan but they do provide, by far, the most capital among tech companies. Sanders, alone, received more than $1 million from Google workers, followed by Warren and Biden. A PAC called Future Forward USA has received $750,000.
Democrat Amy McGrath, who is running for the Senate in Kentucky against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has received more from Google employees than any other Senate candidate. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif., who flipped the seat two years ago and is now trying to hang onto it, is also pulling in Google money.
Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Muller | Munich Security Conference
Democrats – $3,969,072 (85%), Republicans – $690,953 (15%)
Microsoft has seen one of the most dramatic swings in the tech industry. Four years ago, employees at the software giant sent only 53% of their donations to Democrats, increasing that number to 76% in 2018. Biden is second to Sanders among individual recipients. DNC Services and the Senate Majority PAC are tops among organizations.
In September, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, contributed $125,000 to the Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund, a big backer off the DCCC and a group that helps fund House Speaker Pelosi’s PAC. McGrath has also received a good chunk of cash from Microsoft employees.
Democrats – $1,243,825 (84%), Republicans – $228,653 (16%)
Apple is trending less to the left than in 2016, when 91% of money from the iPhone maker’s employees went to Democrats. In this cycle, Biden has raised less than Sanders, Warren or Buttigieg. Even the Republican National Committee has attracted more Apple money than Biden.
One of Trump’s leading financial supporters in tech comes from Apple. Doug Vetter, a vice president and associate general counsel at the company, contributed $150,000 earlier this year to the Trump Victory PAC and over $100,000 to the Republican National Committee.
Democrats – $145,483 (84%) Republicans – $27,529 (16%)
PayPal employees sent 71% of donations to Democrats in 2016. The top recipients this cycle were Sanders, Biden and Warren, followed by presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Democrats – $798,586 (80%), Republicans – $204,400 (20%)
What a difference four years makes. For the 2016 campaign, only 36% of employee money from the networking company went toward Democrats, a number that jumped to 73% in 2018. The order among Democratic primary candidates goes Sanders, Biden and Warren. The next-biggest recipient of Cisco employee cash is Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who represents the company’s home district in Congress.
Democrats – $2,677,112 (77%), Republicans – $783,349 (13%)
Trump’s threats against the company and personal attacks on CEO Jeff Bezos (whom he sometimes calls Jeff Bozo) probably don’t help his cause among Amazon employees. When Trump first ran four years ago, Amazon employees directed slightly less — 75% — of their money to Democrats.
Sanders and Warren were the top two presidential recipients among Amazon workers, even though those two candidates were the biggest advocates for breaking up Big Tech.
The biggest checks from Amazon have come from Steven Kessel, a senior executive who left the company last year after two decades. Kessel contributed about $175,000 to the DNC between September and October 2019, just before his departure.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey are sworn-in for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence operations’ use of social media platforms, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Democrats – $1,634,153 (77%), Republicans – $480,133 (23%)
Biden is behind only Sanders when it comes to Facebook employee money, though among organizations, the Republican National Committee has received more funds than any other.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s billionaire chief operating chief, who previously worked for then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, committed $150,000 to Women Vote!, a PAC focused on getting women to support pro-choice female Democratic candidates. Naomi Gleit, the company’s vice president of product and social impact, has contributed $50,000 to the Pelosi Victory Fund, which goes toward helping the DCCC and reelecting Pelosi.
Democrats – $790,769 (68%), Republicans – $372,667 (32%)
Intel is another example of a legacy technology company that’s moving more Democratic among its employee base. Typically, employees from the chipmaker have donated 35% to 45% to Republicans.
In this cycle, employees at Intel have directed their heftiest checks to Sanders, Warren and Biden, with the DCCC and Democratic National Senatorial Campaign Committee tops among organizations. Kelly in Arizona has been one of the leading recipients in Senate races.
Democrats – $326,616 (68%), Republicans – $154,058 (32%)
Broadcom’s employee data is hard to make sense of from one election to the next, in part because the company is so acquisitive that the staff makeup changes frequently. In 2016, Democrats received 84% of money from Broadcom employees, a number that sank to 48% in 2018.
As with many tech companies, the order of donation sizes goes Sanders, Warren and then Biden. However, in Senate races, McConnell is the leading recipient.
Safra Catz, chief executive officer of Oracle, arrives at Trump Tower in New York, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.
Albin Lohr-Jones | Pool via Bloomberg | Getty Images
Democrats – $785,882 (67%), Republicans – $380,240 (33%)
Oracle employees showed the biggest swing to the left among big tech companies.
Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder and chairman, is a Trump supporter, and CEO Safra Catz was on his presidential transition team in 2016. Four years ago, just over half of employee money went to Republicans, and just under half in 2018.
But employees are now favoring Democrats in a big way. Sanders, Warren and Biden are the leading recipients of money from Oracle employees, and McGrath leads among Senate candidates.
Democrats – $123,543 (60%), Republicans – $82,571 (40%)
The Dallas-based semiconductor company is in a state that’s starting to look more purple, and employee donations are following the same trajectory. Democrats received only 24% of employee money in 2012. That rose to 38% in 2014, 46% in 2016 and 54% in 2018.
Sanders has been the favored candidate by Texas Instruments employees in this cycle, followed by Buttigieg and then Biden.
Democrats – $289,336 (50%), Republicans – $284,119 (50%)
Qualcomm has gone the other direction from most tech companies, from 85% of money going to Democrats four years ago, to just over half in this cycle. This is partly because co-founder Franklin Antonio has been writing much bigger checks to Republican groups ahead of the 2020 contest, focusing on PACs dedicated to getting Republicans elected and maintaining control of the Senate.
After Sanders and Biden, the next leading individual recipients are Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Take a look at some of the biggest movers in the premarket:
McDonald’s (MCD) – McDonald’s halted further reopenings of dine-in service at its restaurants, postponing them by three weeks due to a rise in Covid-19 cases. Restaurants, where dine-in service had already resumed, will be allowed to continue offering it if their local jurisdictions allow it.
Tesla (TSLA) – Wedbush Securities increased its price target on the stock to $1,250 from $1,000, saying its “bull case” could see the stock rise as high as $2,000. Wedbush’s rating on the stock remains “neutral.”
JetBlue (JBLU) – The airline reached a deal with its pilots union that will avoid involuntary furloughs until May 1, 2021, according to a memo sent to its pilots and seen by Reuters. The memo did not give any further details.
Facebook (FB) – CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees at a video town hall meeting last week that he was reluctant to bow to the ongoing ad boycott, saying that advertisers would return “soon enough.” Facebook told CNBC that it is making real progress in keeping hate speech off its platforms, and that it does not benefit from this kind of content.
American Airlines (AAL) – The airline said it was overstaffed by about 8,000 flight attendants, and may seek to cut the workforce through voluntary leaves and early retirements.
PG&E (PCG) – PG&E has exited bankruptcy protection, following the utility’s implementation of a financial restructuring plan approved by a judge and California state regulators.
Boeing (BA) – Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have completed a series of recertification test flights for the grounded 737 Max jet. The FAA will now conduct a data review, and still must approve a pilot training program and other details before the jet can return to service.
Nio (NIO) – The China-based electric vehicle maker delivered 3,740 vehicles during June, a monthly record, and exceeded prior guidance with second-quarter deliveries of 10,331 vehicles.
Lemonade (LMND) – Lemonade priced its initial public offering at $29 per share, above the already-raised range of $26 to $28 per share. The online insurance company will begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.
HollyFrontier (HFC) – CVR Refining and HollyFrontier have both cut their workforces in recent weeks, according to sources who spoke to Reuters. Refining profit margins have dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic, and refining companies have been slashing operating expenses.
Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) – The health products company raised its revenue outlook for the quarter that ended in June, on strong demand in the Americas and Europe. Nu Skin is scheduled to report earnings on August 5.
DocuSign (DOCU) – RBC Capital increased its price target on the stock to $210 from $170, while maintaining an “outperform” rating. RBC sees the electronic signature technology company taking a disproportionate share of the workflow digitization market.
Novartis (NVS) – Novartis will pay more than $729 million to settle U.S. charges that the drugmaker paid illegal kickbacks to doctors and patients to help drug sales. Novartis accepted responsibility for many of the allegations, and said it is now a different company with a strong culture and commitment to ethics.