Pipeline protestors target Zuckerberg | May 8, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - May 8, 2013

Pipeline protestors target Zuckerberg

by Dave Boyce

It wasn't blatant civil disobedience, but private property did get walked on. About 40 protestors asserted themselves on May 1, and Facebook and the Menlo Park police cooperated, allowing them to stand in the lush grass on a hot day at the entrance to the company's Menlo Park headquarters at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway.

Framed by Facebook's iconic logo, the protestors, who said they were with groups opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, complained to passing Bayfront Expressway traffic about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's alleged ties to ads supporting the pipeline.

Those ties are a little complicated. Mr. Zuckerberg recently led the formation of a lobbying group — called FWD.us — that's pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. That group has subsidiaries that are paying for ads for politicians that back the Keystone XL pipeline and more oil drilling. The idea is to support politicians who could be key votes for comprehensive immigration reform.

The Keystone XL pipeline project would bring oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, down to the Gulf Coast for refining.

Role of FWD.us

The FWD.us subsidiaries, representing the conservative and liberal positions are, respectively, Americans for a Conservative Direction and the Council for American Job Growth. The ads they funded, one for Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and one for Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, do not mention immigration reform.

The ad from Americans for a Conservative Direction in support of Sen. Graham addresses his opposition to the Obama administration's handling of three issues: health care legislation, stimulus spending and energy independence, including the president's initial opposition to the Keystone pipeline.

The ad for Sen. Begich was paid for by the Council for American Job Growth and expresses support for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the construction of a natural gas pipeline, protection for the U.S. fishing industry and a federal mandate for a balanced budget.

FWD.us spokeswoman Kate Hansen said via email that both groups, although funded by FWD.us, are independent entities.

And the absence of any mention of immigration reform in either ad? "That's incorrect about the ads not featuring immigration," Ms. Hansen replied. "In fact, Americans for a Conservative Direction ran an ad featuring Sen. Marco Rubio that ran across six states."


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