Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had some advice this summer for one of his Democratic colleagues who had become one of Facebook’s most prominent critics in Congress: Back off.
The Senate minority leader in July told Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) to tone down his criticism of the company and said he shouldn’t be trying to hurt the company, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Instead, Schumer advised Warner to try to find ways collaborate with it, according to The Times.
Schumer kept Facebook’s lobbyists informed about his efforts to shield the company, The Times reported. The minority leader’s intervention came on the heels of the company’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and amid a growing anti-Facebook movement.
Representatives for Senator Warner’s office declined to comment.
Warner has helped lead the investigation in Congress into Russian-linked and other efforts to spread propaganda through the site to disrupt American elections. In the process, he’s become a vocal critic of the company and a strong advocate for regulating it. Last year, he introduced legislation that would have forced Facebook to identify the people or groups who bought political ads on its site.
Schumer has significant ties to Facebook. During the 2016 election period, he raised $38,900 from Facebook employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was more than any other senator or congressperson raised from Facebook employees during that cycle.
Additionally, Schumer’s daughter works for Facebook as a marketing manager, according to her LinkedIn page.
News about Schumer’s efforts to protect Facebook come as different wings of the Democratic Party are battling over its ties to corporations in general and to the tech sector in particular.
For example, Amazon’s announcement Tuesday that it will open major offices in New York and Virginia triggered harsh criticism by numerous left-leaning Democrats, including newly elected New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, over the financial handouts to the company approved by establishment Democratic officials such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Schumer has drawn criticism from the left for his longstanding and close ties to Wall Street. Despite that, he was he was reelected Wednesday as the Democrats’ leader in the Senate hours before The Times published its report.
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