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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Seven House Republicans pledge to take no donations from major tech companies.

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A group of seven House Republicans said on Wednesday that they would no longer take donations from major tech companies or their top executives, a sign of the growing distance between some conservatives and big business.

The lawmakers said in a letter that the companies limited the reach of conservative voices, citing bans on the chat app Parler after it was used by participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and abused their market power.

“These monopolies have shown that personal liberty can be threatened by corporate tyranny just as much as by government tyranny,” they said in the letter. All but one of the lawmakers are members of the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the antitrust questions confronting the tech companies.

The pledge was led by Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. Mr. Buck said last month that he would not accept money from the tech giants’ political action committees.

For years, lawmakers on the right have attacked Google, Twitter and Facebook, accusing the companies of unfairly removing content posted by conservatives. The lawmakers have also accused Amazon and Apple of stifling competition. In recent weeks, some conservatives have turned on other major businesses — traditionally their allies in efforts to deregulate the economy — that have opposed their positions on voting rights and other issues.

Five of the lawmakers received donations from the corporate political action committees of Google, Facebook and Amazon in the last election cycle. Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Gregory Steube of Florida and Andy Biggs of Arizona, who signed the pledge, all received a combined $3,500 in donations. Representative Ralph Norman of South Carolina (not Oklahoma, as previously reported here) received $1,000 from Amazon’s political committee.

But it is also possible that some of the lawmakers who signed the pledge will not have to turn any donations down in the near future. Amazon and Google froze donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying the election results after the Jan. 6 attack. Facebook paused all of its political donations.

Mr. Steube and Mr. Norman, as well as Representatives Dan Bishop of North Carolina and Burgess Owens of Utah, all objected to the results of the presidential election.

Mr. Bishop and Mr. Owens both signed the pledge even though they did not receive money from the firms’ political committees last election cycle.



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