Pando

Why Chris Hughes isn't part of FWD.us

By Erin Griffith , written on September 26, 2013

From The News Desk

Tech political action group FWD.us counts many of Silicon Valley's heavyweights among its backers. Joe Green, who runs the organization, recruited his Harvard dorm-mate Mark Zuckerberg to put his money, a reported $20 million, behind the cause. Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, John Doerr, Marissa Mayer, and Fred Wilson are all on board.

Conspicuously missing from the list of supporters is another of Green's dorm-mates: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

Hughes left Facebook for a political career. He's often credited for playing a large part in the success of Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Since then, he's purchased The New Republic and remains involved in a number of political advocacy groups.

At PandoMonthly in New York City this evening, Hughes said he's not involved with FWD.us, because he has a different theory of change.

"They've taken a stance on all kinds of things, from [the Keystone XL pipeline] to other issues, which are not reflective of my own," he said. "Where I differ with those other people is not that we don't have enough money in politics or outside advocacy groups. Rather, we have one party that has become beholden to the extremes."

Earlier this year, Hamish McKenzie outlined the distaste a number of Green's early supporters, such as Elon Musk, as well as members of in the New York tech scene, had privately expressed with FWD.us's pragmatic tactics:

Influential stakeholders in Silicon Valley didn’t just balk at the cynical play book. It was worse: They were embarrassed at the clumsy execution.
"I've been really supportive through advocacy with the issues and candidates over the years," Hughes said, "but I'm doing it independently."

[Photo by Timothy Briner for Pandodaily]