Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg raised eyebrows in the nation’s capital this week when the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, his philanthropic organization, hired the Benenson Strategy Group for research work. Joel Benenson, the group’s principal, formerly served as chief strategist for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as in key roles for President Barack Obama’s campaigns. His company profile highlights a quote from GQ that he is the “go-to guy for any politico wanting to take the public's temperature.”
A Politico article on this new move by Zuckerberg also noted that his initiative had earlier in the year hired David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign manager in 2008 and a top aide in the Obama White House, as well as Amy Dudley, who previously served as a chief communications advisor to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Vice President Joe Biden. However, presented as a counter to speculation about Zuckerberg’s intentions, Politico said that Benenson does do work for a number of nonprofit organizations. Among those listed on the research group’s site are Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, and Emily’s List.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: August 4, 2017