Raising fresh questions and new critiques about his close ties to corporate elites amid a hotly contested Democratic primary, Bloomberg reports Monday morning that the campaign of South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg received private and direct hiring advice from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg—advice the presidential candidate apparently took.
According to Bloomberg:
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg sent multiple emails to Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg's campaign manager, with names of individuals that he might consider hiring, campaign spokesman Chris Meagher confirmed. Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg's wife, also sent multiple emails to Schmuhl with staff recommendations. Ultimately, two of the people recommended were hired.
Jennifer Jacobs, senior White House reporter for the news outlet, described the scoop by her colleagues as "a rare example of direct political involvement from one most powerful tech executives."
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Already under fire from progressives as a "sharp tool" who often appears to be operating on behalf of corporate interests when it comes to attacking Medicare for All, utilizing fossil fuel industry talking points when addressing the climate crisis, and taking in big money from the financial and tech sectors—the news about accepting behind-the-scenes directions from Zuckerberg, himself under intense political scrutiny for the way in which Facebook's outsized influence is damaging democracy, was not well-received.
“The staff recommendations from Zuckerberg are the first evidence of the Facebook CEO actively assisting a presidential campaign.“@PeteButtigieg has fallen in with the wrong crowd.https://t.co/ikRHc3Jm20— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) October 21, 2019
Zuckerberg Has Quietly Advised Buttigieg on Campaign Hey @PeteButtigieg A lot of us have boycotted @facebook Because they 100% worked undermine our democracy. Spreading false news&conspiracy theories. Why are you hiring folks he recommends? https://t.co/I5k2rrnzmW— Diane Lees (@dtheavenger) October 21, 2019
"I will be very interested to see how Buttigieg answers the many questions he will no doubt be getting about this story," said podcast host Len Edgerly in response to Bloomberg's reporting. "It will be a good test of his candor, courage, and clarity."