Napster Co-founder Sean Parker Boosts Support for Republicans

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 05:40 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and the first president of Facebook, broke with his traditional support of Democratic causes by giving more than $500,000 to Republican interests, reports Politico.

According to the magazine, Parker "sharply ramped up" his donations to Republicans in the latest fundraising quarter, which included a $350,000 contribution to a super PAC that backed Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran over his Republican challenger Chris McDaniel.

His single contribution to a Democrat was made to the centrist campaign of Senate candidate Michelle Nunn of Georgia.

Parker also has started Brigade Media, which is trying to combat a lack of political engagement on all levels of government, Politico reported in June.

While many CEOs in Silicon Valley support campaign finance, immigration reform, and other causes more closely aligned with the Democratic Party, one issue which is causing concern is the Obama administration's stance on net neutrality.

Time magazine reported in May that more than 100 CEOs sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission raising objections to their proposed net neutrality rules and the potential impact it would have on Internet freedom.

According to Opensecrets.org, political giving by individuals in communications and technology has spiked in the last two decades, from $17.5 million in the 1990 campaign cycle to $139.5 million during the 2008 cycle. However, the average contribution to House races has declined in recent years.

Attending a 2013 fundraiser for California congressional candidate and patent lawyer Ro Khanna, Parker said the interests of Silicon Valley historically had "not been properly represented on the federal level" and that he and other industry leaders were "coming into a realization of our own [political] power."

FEC records show that in 2013 Parker donated $5,200 to possible 2016 Republican presidential hopeful and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Parker also played a role in the North Carolina GOP primary, which involved an "establishment candidate" and a challenger backed by outside interest groups.

Rep. Renee Ellmers was the target of groups backing her opponent Frank Roche because of her support of immigration reform. One of the keys to her victory, according to The Daily Beast, was a $250,000 donation by Americans for a Conservative Direction, which is affiliated with FWD.us, a 501(c)(4) co-founded by Parker.

Parker also made headlines recently when The Los Angeles Times reported that he purchased talk-show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres' home for $55 million.


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