Mark Zuckerberg’s New Political Group Spending Big On Ads Supporting Keystone XL And Oil Drilling

Written by Josh Israel, Judd Legum

Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group, which bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, has spent considerable resources on ads advocating a host of anti-environmental causes — including driling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and constructing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The umbrella group, co-founded by Facebook’s Zuckerberg, NationBuilder’s co-founder Joe Green, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and others in the tech industry, is called FWD.US. Its initial priority is the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, including enhanced border security, more visas for workers with special skills, and a pathway to citizenship for those living in the U.S. without legal status. Other long-term priorities for the group include education reform and expanded scientific research.

FWD.US is bankrolling two subsidiary organizations to purchase TV ads to advance the overarching agenda — one run by veteran Republican political operatives and one led by Democratic strategists. The GOP-lead group, called Americans For A Conservative Direction, has created an ad in support of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) which praises him for supporting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and expanded drilling elsewhere. The ad, which does not mention immigration policy, also attacks Obamacare, “wasteful stimulus spending,” and “seedy Chicago-style politics.” Politico reports the group plans a seven-figure buy with this and other ads.

Watch the ad:

The other group, called Council for American Job Growth and purportedly intended to appeal to liberals, lauds Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) for “working to open ANWR to drilling.” The ad also does not mention immigration reform but does highlight Begich’s support of a balanced budget amendment.

Watch the spot:

The group’s forceful advocacy for expanded drilling and pipeline construction is surprising given Zuckerberg’s public statements about the purpose of the group. In an introductory column, Zuckerberg said that the group would be dedicated to “building the knowledge economy,” which he contrasts to “the economy of the last century… primarily based on natural resources.” Zuckerberg adds, “there are only so many oil fields, and there is only so much wealth that can be created from them for society.”

Both ads appear to be trying to give political cover to vulnerable centrists, in hopes of ensuring their support for major immigration reform — though Graham’s support seems certain as he is a member of the Gang of Eight pushing the measure. But the proposals already enjoy broad popularity among both Republicans and the public overall.

In the past, Zuckerberg has emphasized the importance of moving from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy.

Update: Kate Hansen, communications director for FWD.US told ThinkProgress: “ is committed to showing support for elected officials who promote the policy changes needed to build the knowledge economy. Maintaining two separate entities, Americans for a Conservative Direction & the Council for American Job Growth, to support elected officials across the political spectrum – separately – means that we can more effectively communicate with targeted audiences of their constituents.”

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Photo: deneyterrio/flickr

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Oscar Stewart
Oscar Stewart2 years ago

What an idiot.

Kay Martin
Kay M.2 years ago

thank you for the article and videos, I enjoyed reading all of the over 215 comments from the care 2 members. I will bbe happy to sign your petition to get that pipeline stopped.....period. We do not need this disaster waiting to happen here in our country. I am from Louisiana and I kniow what we went thru and are still going thru with BP. Also Arkansas just had a spill of tar sands oil and boy what a cover up the Big Oil Co. made with that disaster. hardly any network coverage at all.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

This would help our gas prices, which are hurting everyone, come down.

Nils Anders Lunde

GREEDY and people should boycot FB

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey2 years ago

He should stick to computer programming...

Mia Reh
Mia Reh2 years ago

He is greedy...

Benoit W.
Benoit W.2 years ago

Forced to see Marc Zuckerberg as a climato-septique...probably his money make him more intelligent than the scientific of the GIEC.

Jane H.
Jane H.2 years ago

This goes to show that a Harvard education---or a Yale or Princeton one, at that, doesn't neceearily nurture people's souls. We need more soulful folks!!

Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle2 years ago

Are you surprised by this from him? I'm not.