To Pols Trying To Raise Money From Silicon Valley: Supporting SOPA/PIPA Probably Isn't Wise

from the well,-look-at-that dept

A brief, little report from Politico notes that various Democrats are ramping up their efforts to raise money from Silicon Valley for the 2012 election. What struck me as interesting was the first two names on the list:
As the election season is ramping up, so too are pols’ trips to Silicon Valley. That includes Vice President Joe Biden, who’s heading to San Francisco on Jan. 18 for a lunch reception. Tickets cost $2,500 per person, with $7,500 for lunch and a photo for two. Sen. Robert Menendez will also be in the area on the same day, starting with a dinner in Menlo Park, Calif., followed by a breakfast in San Francisco.
Biden, of course, has been the leading voice in the administration for worse and worse copyright enforcement efforts, and almost certainly supports SOPA/PIPA. Sen. Menendez is a PIPA co-sponsor. Given how widespread the outrage in the tech community is against these bills, it seems like an odd choice for them to try to raise money while supporting legislation that will make innovation in tech a lot harder...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2012 @ 7:58pm

    Now that they showed the geeks who is in command, they go there to say:

    "Give ma money, or else".

    If it was me I let them rot and finance the other guy whomever that is maybe Ron Paul which is surprisingly popular lately :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2012 @ 8:01pm

    Not to be cynical, but perhaps SOPA/PIPA are being used to extort money from the tech sector.

    I mean think of what would happen if the RIAA gives more money to Biden instead of Google, SOPA really will pass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Maximus_Aurelius, Jan 10th, 2012 @ 8:16pm


    "Say, boys, that's an awful nice Tech Sector you've got there... Be a real shame if anything happened to it, see? A real shame."

    Let the palm greasing commence. It's an old-fashioned shakedown.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    xenomancer (profile), Jan 10th, 2012 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Agreed

    "I suppose you boys need a little... Protection... ya, that's it, a little protection. A sweet deal like this, you might attract the wrong kinda attention if you're not careful. We could offer ya a little help, keepin' the thugs at bay... but we aren't running a charity service around here. Its a sweet deal you got setup, all these shiny gadgets and expensive lookin toys. Boy it sure would be a shame to let a nice place like this go down hill like the rest of town... heh heh, everyone needs a little bit a protection."

    I keep wondering why trench coats, gloves and tommy guns continue to have such great sales. It must be how nicely they go with the vintage hats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Jay (profile), Jan 10th, 2012 @ 8:46pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2012 @ 9:06pm

    And when SOPA/ProtectIP passes...

    which I'm sure it will as your politicians have received enough bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H campaign contributions to make sure it does, then the real fallout begins. Ad networks and payment processors relocate from the USA, the DNS wrested from US control and innovation and evolution of technology happening beyond your shores. The next stage of technological advance won't happen in the US, it's becoming to restrictive and hostile, it'll happen elsewhere and the idiotic policies of your government will keep it out to appease the anointed few.

    TL;DR: The United States is becoming a technology ghetto, and it will only get worse

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    MikeJ, Jan 10th, 2012 @ 9:18pm

    What I would love to see

    How phenomenal would it be to have this be the issue that clearly outlines how money buys results in politics?

    Imagine a large swathe of the internet industry straight up saying "We have lots of money to spend on the upcoming elections, and ALL of it will go to politicians opposed to SOPA/PIPA?" This will, of course, be fully legal due to the Citizens United ruling.

    If that were to happen, I hope incumbents this year have practiced their backstroke.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    anonymous, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:38am

    no sense, no shame. does anyone really think these people care from where and how they try to get 'campaign funds'? they dont worry that the people they're trying to get money from are the same people they're gonna be costing jobs because of what they are supporting. they still expect to get money anyway

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:44am

    Response to: anonymous on Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:38am

    Then perhaps it's time to excise the cancers at the heart of US politics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 2:37am

    Re: Agreed

    That's silly of them. The tech sector can't afford to waste money on them, they spend their money developing products.
    Stick with the legacy companies, guys; they're the ones who literally have nothing better to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Violated (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 2:38am

    Joe "Hollywood" Biden

    Looking on the bright side then Silicon Valley paying the Administration lobbying funds to leave the Internet alone seems better than the MPAA & RIAA's attempt to pay them to try and pull it apart.

    I don't believe this is the point of his visit when simply this is a whitewash and damage control. Joe Biden's love of Hollywood's lobby funds has alienated the Internet and Tech community and VP Biden knows they can prove a serious enemy if he messes things up. So he is simply there to see how he can keep them basically happy with the odd tossed bone while his copyright rampage continues.

    We can of course hope he sees beyond the copyright's side propaganda and false statistics but all VP Biden has done to date is to accept their large lobby checks while quoting their anti-piracy manifesto word for word. It is also doubtful he would abandon such a consistent long-term source of campaign funds.

    Well at least on his dinner date he may actually learn something and if Silicon Valley do good they will use the time to put on a presentation as to why he is helping things none.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 4:09am

    Hello, this is Right Hand. Right Hand, meet Left Hand.

    Or so I'd like to believe...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Not Jason Again,, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 5:06am

    Money Well Spent,

    Gosh, though my bank account only has 19 dollars in it. I feel that it would be well worth going to the bank and getting a high interest loan for this lunch. Just so I could scream "WTF are you doing...Seriously you slimebag sub-human life form, wake the F@%k up and quit trying to ruin this country." Hmmm, what day is this lunch again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    MAJikMARCer (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 5:20am

    Empty tables

    How awesome would it be if these luncheons and dinners had NO ONE show up? That would send a pretty clear message.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    gorehound (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 5:57am

    If I was in the Silicon Valley Tech Business I would not go to this event and I would put up in-house flyers asking the employees to also boycott the event.
    SOPA/PIPA is going to cost this Government a World of poop.Once people realize what has been done to them ( it will all be wikileaked) then there will be no peace.I hate my Government and no longer care about anyone who is in it.They have screwed with my life and they do not deserve my support.
    We need Anti-Money takers and Anti-SOPA/PIPA types to Vote in to Office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    The Logician (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:27am


    A possible remedy, gorehound, if our votes still carried any meaning. Unfortunately, however, they do not. The entire election process has long been rigged and the popular vote rendered toothless. It serves now only to give us the illusion of participation and influence, when in reality it gives us neither. I am not certain that anything short of force can separate the corporation from the state at this point, although I hope that will not be the case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: Empty tables

    What you are talking about is poor attendance.

    A clear message would be, the tech sector types showing up saying, "well you got my $2,500, I only came to tell you the other guy is getting $25,000,000" ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Agreed

    "Nice economy you got there, Senator. Seen better days, but it's starting to come along again. Sure would be a shame if an entire sector up and left it, wouldn't it?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:58am

    It's not an odd choice at all. Clearly they had to plan this fundraising luncheon while they were supporting SOPA because once they get it passed there won't be anyone to fund-raise from in Silicon Valley since they'll have all moved overseas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Agreed

    Rather they are saving their money for their lawyers. Ya know, the next patent attack that comes their way!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Pixelation, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Response from Feinstein on PROTECT IP

    Dear :

    I received your letter expressing opposition to the "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act," commonly known as the "PROTECT IP Act." I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.

    The "PROTECT IP Act" (S. 968) gives both copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to take action against websites that are "dedicated to infringing activities." These are websites that have "no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating" copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying.

    The bill does not violate First Amendment rights to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech.

    America's copyright industry is an important economic engine, and I believe copyright owners should be able to prevent their works from being illegally duplicated and stolen. The protection of intellectual property is particularly vital to California's thriving film, music, and high-technology industries.

    I understand you have concerns about the "PROTECT IP Act." While I voted in favor of this bill when it was before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have also been working with California high-technology businesses to improve the bill and to address the concerns of high-tech businesses, public interest groups and others. I recognize the bill needs further changes to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) or through amendments on the Senate floor.

    On May 26, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the "PROTECT IP Act" for consideration by the full Senate. Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the Senate proceed to a vote on this legislation. As you may be aware, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced similar legislation, the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (H.R. 3261), in the House of Representatives.

    Once again, thank you for sharing your views. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.

    Wishing you a happy 2012.

    Sincerely yours,

    Dianne Feinstein
    United States Senator

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    I really want to disagree with this.

    Like it or not the American way of life has encouraged the growth of some of the greatest advances in all fields. It has consistently shown itself to be a breeding ground for progress (not necessarily innovation, but always progress).

    Unfortunately all that is being eroded by the recent trend in stifling American freedoms. I suspect you are correct, and a lot of upcoming American engineers and entrepreneurs will begin doing what is best for themselves (rather then their nation) by taking their skills and ideas to less hostile regions. As more and more start-ups leave the US we will indeed see the once great nation gradually dragged into the gutter.

    Even if these particular bills do not pass, the general trend continues.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Re: Money Well Spent,

    Your views would be ignored while your money was absorbed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re: Response from Feinstein on PROTECT IP

    I clicked there (see this) to "report Senator Lieberman as an idiot" and sent him a polite message (basically saying that you don't fix problems by censoring the Internet). I just got the response! I'm so excited.

    January 10, 2012
    Mr. Jeffrey Nonken
    (address redacted*)

    Dear Mr. Nonken:
    Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate the opportunity to know your opinions on the pressing issues facing our nation. Regrettably, due to the huge volume of mail that I receive, I am only able to research and address comments sent to me from Connecticut residents. If you are not from Connecticut, you may want to consider sending a message to the Senators from your state of residence. You can do so by visiting for a link to the websites of each member of the United State Senate. If you are currently residing out of state, but are still a Connecticut resident or have a connection to Connecticut, please be certain to use your Connecticut address or indicate your Connecticut connection in the first paragraph of your email.
    I value having the benefit of your thoughtful concerns, since I do receive detailed weekly reports from my staff providing a sampling of comments from across the country on timely issues before Congress.
    Thank you again for sharing your views and concerns with me. I hope you will continue to visit my website at for updated news about my work on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.


    Joseph I. Lieberman UNITED STATES SENATOR

    Couldn't even be pissed to send a form letter about SOPA. He had to send me a form letter saying he couldn't afford to send me a form letter.

    *Though I'm sure you can find me with minimal research. I'm not exactly hiding.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    They should send 1 representative to these things, and look them in the eye and be honest.
    If you pass this crap legislation, we are done with you.
    We will make sure you have no access to anything we develop, you claim IP is important to the countries future and your trying to destroy the people making real IP.
    You declared war on us, our answer is to cut you off.

    Enjoy your websites made by Geocities rejects, if you can get a license to use a server that is. We are taking our ball and going home, enjoy all of tech you use everyday going dark.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Scott (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Marsha Blackburn Responds

    I just she thinks if she can throw enough Ad hominem attacks in there people will be fooled

    “Critics of SOPA can’t deny the undisputed fact that piracy hurts America,” she said in an emailed statement. “The same radical left-wing special interests groups that advocated for Obama’s so-called net neutrality regulations are trying to hijack conservative principles and mislead the public about SOPA.

    “The fact is SOPA only applies to dedicated foreign rogue sites that are harming American consumers and creators,” she added.

    She is everything that is wrong in DC within just one comment. Oh, and will someone inform them on "RED STATE" that they are radical left wing? I dont think anyone's told them yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    bongo houzi (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Response to: anonymous on Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:38am

    impossible, it;s innoperable

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

    What kind of lunch costs THAT much?

    At $7500, eating that lunch had better be about as good as ten thousand chocolate-coated orgasms while being zero calorie and zero fat or who's gonna buy???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Response from Feinstein on PROTECT IP

    Perhaps you should respond something along the lines of:

    Given your position on this legislation, I will direct my financial contributions, vote and volunteering efforts towards helping whomever opposes you in the next election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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