Facebook's Updated PAC Filing Indicates Political Plans

By Jennifer Moire Comment

The filing of updated paperwork with the Federal Election Commission revealed some interesting details into how Facebook plans to wield its influence in Washington, D.C., specifically regarding the company’s plans to run its political action committee.

The standard-of-organization document seems routine on the surface. Facebook filed an update Wednesday to reflect the company headquarters’ move to Menlo Park, Calif., from Palo Alto, Calif., which we reported Dec. 19.

However, the form also indicates how the company’s expanding political capital — and the money that “FB PAC” raises — will be managed. The FEC filing was reported by Talking Points Memo.

The form names FB PAC’s treasurer as Joel Kaplan, a former aide to President George W. Bush and head of Facebook’s Washington office. He authorizes all expenditures or is responsible for appointing someone to oversee the PAC’s expenditures.

And that’s exactly what the documentation shows: Corey Owens has been named as the “custodian of records” for FB PAC, responsible for managing the records of the PAC’s financial activities.

In a statement to TPM, Facebook said, “FB PAC will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals…while giving people the power to share and make the world more open.”

2011 has been a busy year for Facebook on the political front. The company added former top aides to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and expanded its team on the privacy front, not to mention Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s meetings with Obama to discuss job-growth strategies and the president’s town hall at Facebook HQ.

Facebook has spent record amounts on lobbying this year — $910,000, to be exact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and TPM. That still falls well short of what Facebook’s Silicon Valley neighbors in the tech community, such as Google, have spent, though.

What will be interesting to see in 2012 is how Facebook spends its political capital in Washington and beyond.

Readers: What do you think Facebook will do with its growing influence in politics?