Twitter files: James Baker exemplifies revolving door between government, liberal groups and Big Tech
James Baker, Twitter's former deputy general counsel who Elon Musk fired from the company on Tuesday following revelations regarding his role in handling the Hunter Biden laptop story, exemplifies the revolving door between government, liberal groups, and big tech.
Musk axed Baker from his position after journalist Matt Taibbi published internal communications showing exchanges from October 2020 between high-level Twitter employees on how to approach the New York Post's publication of materials on Hunter Biden's laptop.
Baker, included in discussions about how the laptop falls under Twitter's 'hacked materials' policy, said they needed more facts to 'assess whether the materials were hacked' but added that 'it's reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted.'
Before his Twitter position, Baker served as FBI general counsel and was a primary figure in its investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. However, following his resignation from the FBI in 2018, Baker joined a left-leaning group before moving to the social media titan.
Shortly after leaving the FBI, Baker became a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., left-leaning think tank, and wrote articles for its affiliated Lawfare blog. Baker was also a director at the R Street Institute, a right-leaning organization that has received funding from liberal-aligned foundations such as George Soros' Foundation to Promote Open Society and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar's Democracy Fund.
Baker, who did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment, is not alone in positioning himself among the upper echelons of big tech following stints with the government or liberal entities.
Facebook Policy Communications Director Andy Stone announced in 2020 that the social media giant would suppress the New York Post's laptop story revealing private emails between Hunter Biden and an adviser to Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.
'While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners,' Stone wrote on Twitter in October 2020. 'In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.'
Before Facebook, Stone worked for the Nancy Pelosi-aligned House Majority PAC, as a press secretary for Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer, and as a press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Meanwhile, other individuals who held high-ranking positions with Facebook - now called Meta - also have ties to Democratic politicians. Sheryl Sandberg served as Meta's chief operating officer before stepping down in August. She previously served as the Treasury Department's chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. In 2016, Sandberg appeared in the hacked emails of John Podesta, a close Clinton ally who founded the Center for American Progress and now acts as a senior energy adviser to President Biden. She's maxed out donations to several Democratic politicians, including Pelosi.
Another high-profile tech leader with Democratic ties is Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO and executive chairman of its parent company Alphabet. Schmidt has chaired an advisory committee for the Department of Defense and the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. In March, Politico reported that Schmidt's fingerprints 'are all over Biden's science office.'
Schmidt aided in the launch of data firm Civis Analytics, which has positioned itself as a Democratic powerhouse in recent years. The firm was 'born' from President Obama's campaign after Schmidt helped as a recruiter and trainer and later teamed up with Dan Wagner, the chief analytics officer for Obama's 2012 campaign, to help launch the company.
The tech titan provided seed money for the firm and helped gather millions of dollars in funding. Civis has since been on the payroll of several major Democratic committees, including presidential contenders.
Schmidt also had links to Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign. Like Sandberg, Schmidt appeared in the hacked Podesta emails, including ones regarding 'discreet conversations' of forming 'working relationships' between Clinton allies and companies such as Facebook and Apple, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
One memo repeatedly referenced the work of Schmidt's 'group' and 'team.' The document did not name the group, but Schmidt had provided funding to a tech startup called The Groundwork, which ultimately received over $600,000 in payments from Clinton's campaign. Schmidt also appeared at Hillary's 2016 election night party wearing a 'staff' badge.
However, it's not just high-level tech personnel linked to liberal politicians. More than 99 percent of Twitter employee donations went to Democrats during the 2022 elections, while more than 80 percent of Meta employee contributions benefited Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Fox Digital's Paul Best and Audrey Conklin contributed reporting.
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