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ICYMI- How a Silicon Valley Group Is Reaching Out to Republicans

Wall Street Journal
How a Silicon Valley Group Is Reaching Out to Republicans
Posted 12:20 pm Jan 28, 201

There’s plenty of talk right now about how Google and other tech companies are reaching out to Republicans, hoping to cover their right flank as Congress and regulators consider a host of issues related to their business.

Here’s an unreported nugget that shows just how seriously they’re taking it. Earlier this month, the Internet Association, a new-ish Silicon Valley lobbying group that counts Google, Facebook  and as members, held an event for more than 50 Republican campaign consultants at the Standard Hotel in New York.

The day-and-a-half meeting in the Meatpacking District was jointly paid-for by the tech companies and the National Republican Senatorial Committee and featured talks by Google and other Internet companies on how to use digital tools to reach voters.

“Protecting Internet freedom is something both Republicans and Democrats can rally behind, so it is only natural for Internet companies to build relationships with everyone,” said Michael Beckerman, chief executive of the Internet Association.

A person at one of the member companies said the event was intended to build relationships with Republicans — and also to try to sell them on their own digital tools.

Both sides could benefit from improved ties. The Internet Association’s members have defended the Federal Communication Commission’s “net neutrality” rules, which suffered a blow this month when a U.S. appeals court threw out the rules requiring broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic equally. Republicans have strongly opposed FCC efforts to reclassify broadband as a telecom service.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party acknowledges that it badly lagged Democrats during the past two presidential elections in reaching voters through the internet. It’s been looking to close that gap.

The Internet Association said it also planned to hold a similar session for Democratic campaign operatives in the future.

In case you missed it, here is Friday’s front page story reporting on how Google is funding a host of conservative groups, some of which oppose its policy stances on immigration, same-sex marriage and climate change.