Report: Mark Zuckerberg Leads Formation Of Issues-Advocacy Organization

By David Cohen 

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly ramping up his political activities, leading the formation of an issues-advocacy organization, and backing it with significant cash.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Politics Blog reported that Zuckerberg contributed as much as $20 million to the cause, convincing other Silicon Valley power brokers to pledge $2 million to $5 million apiece, and Politico reported that the first issue the group plans to tackle is immigration reform.

According to the Politics Blog, the independent expenditure group was organized by Zuckerberg’s Harvard University roommate, Joe Green, and it will enlist the services of two Republican heavy hitters: Jon Lerner, who founded Red Sea and was behind Grover Norquist and his Club for Growth; and Rob Jesmer, a former strategist with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

According to the Politics Blog, Zuckerberg was part of an effort by TechNet to urge President Barack Obama to adopt a “more open and flexible” immigration system, and he was joined by Hewlett-Packard CEO (and former GOP gubernatorial candidate) Meg Whitman, venture capitalist John Doerr, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

The Politics Blog pointed out that despite the Republican firepower enlisted by the group, Doerr, Schmidt, and Mayer are generous Democratic donors who have hosted Democratic presidents or presidential candidates in their homes.

Zuckerberg hosted a fundraiser for Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., in February, and he donated $100 million to the school system in Newark, N.J., in 2010.

Readers: Are you surprised at Zuckerberg’s continued push into the realm of politics?