Q: Does tech support both parties equally?
A. No. Its favor swings. From 1998 to 2006, computer and Internet PACs gave twice as much to GOP candidates as Democrats. That switched from 2008 to 2010. And now, the GOP wins again: For the 2012 elections, as of early fall, 53% of tech PAC donations went to the GOP.[/b]
What caused the change?
Republicans control the House of Representatives, and money follows power. It also follows relationships. Over the past decade, tech companies frequently hired staffers they met through their own local legislators—usually Democrats. But: "Republicans have made a more concerted outreach effort," says Rey Ramsey, chief executive of TechNet, a trade association for top tech CEOs. "They’re visiting more companies, doing more meet-and-greet events. And they’re spending time addressing the issues we care about."
What will happen after this election?
Hard to say. "Some companies took it personally that the Obama administration was so quick to throw them over the side of the boat" with SOPA, says Matt Tanielian (a Democrat) of the Franklin Square Group. "But next month, it could be another issue that cuts against the Republicans
Hired: May 2011
Former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush
Hired: February 2012
Former Republican congresswoman from New York
Hired: July 2012
Former president and CEO of the Republican National Committee
Photos Courtesy Of Eric Draper, White House/AP Images (Kaplan); Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images (Molinari)
A version of this article appeared in the November 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.