Tech companies have been opening their wallets for immigration reform, largely in hopes of an increase in H-1B visas for specialized foreign workers.
In the months prior to the June Senate vote, the Gang of Eight, a group of senators responsible for successfully pushing through the bill, which would more than double the number of H-1B visas, received a series of donations from companies that include Google, Microsoft and Facebook, reported POLITICO.
According to OpenSecrets, Facebook executive officers have donated more than $200,000 to their PAC in the first six months of 2013, with Mark Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan, COO Cheryl Sandberg, and others donating the annual maximum of $5,000. Within that same period, the PAC donated $110,000 to members of Congress, including the maximum of $5,000 to members of Gang of Eight and to leadership PACs of Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
Microsoft, which also donated to Bennet and Rubio, set a company quarterly spending record on its Washington lobby efforts, hitting just under $3 million. According to POLITICO's analysis of lobby disclosures, lobby efforts by IBM for the recent quarter came in at $1.9 million, with Oracle's efforts at $1.6 million and Cisco's at $900,000.
With the immigration reform bill having passed the Senate, the tech lobby dollars are likely to start shifting to leadership in the House. In fact, OpenSecrets reports that Facebook PAC has already donated the maximum to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker Johhn Boehner (R-Ohio), and House Majority Leader Eric Canter (R-Va.).