AP/Sean Parker (John Shearer)

Tech billionaire Sean Parker plans to start donating to the GOP

Having disproportionate influence over one major political party isn't nearly as cool as having it over both


Elias Isquith
April 21, 2014 8:25PM (UTC)

Sean Parker's is one of the chief forces behind Napster and Facebook. He's made a ton of money (net worth in the billions), he's gone to war with the little "Goebbels" who work for the Gawker empire, and he's had his name immortalized further still in the popular consciousness of his day by being the subject of Justin Timberlake's only successful movie role. In a world of great iniquity and scarcity, where billions of people struggle to get by, much less achieve their wildest dreams, Parker's truly got it all.

But now he wants more.

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According to a new report from Politico, Parker is following in the footsteps of his fellow young Silicon Valley mogul, Mark Zuckerberg, and making a move to use his billions to be a bigger player in American politics. And because Parker already donates to Democratic candidates, that leaves him with one clear option to see his influence grow — start buddying up with way more Republicans.

To this end, "Parker made a trip to [D.C.] in December for the purpose of meeting quietly with Republican officeholders and strategists around town," Politico reports. While Parker's political goals remain fuzzy — a acquaintance says Parker's "main agenda is sort of making democracy more modern, less corrupt" — Politico says he's looking to fund Republicans who are "credible deal-makers in a bitterly divided Congress."

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The overwhelmingly Democratic tilt of Parker’s donations is expected to change this year, according to his political associates. He aims to support Republican deal-makers where they face challenges within their own party, aiding lawmakers in strongly conservative areas who nevertheless reach for compromise.

Longtime Republican strategist Charlie Black, who is friends with Parker, said the emerging political donor cares fundamentally about “making government work.”

“What he’s decided is, he wants to support people in both parties who are willing to reach across the aisle and to try to help lessen the influence of the partisan extremes in each party,” Black said.

Parker’s GOP giving may run as high as the million-dollar mark, according to one Republican familiar with his plans.


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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