April 10, 2018
Hundreds of miles from Capitol Hill, look for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony to reverberate in the Missouri Senate race.
Rising public skepticism of the social media giant makes Facebook a ripe target for political attacks from both parties. In Missouri, where a battle is brewing over the influence of wealthy coastal elites, controversy swirling around the social media giant could get interesting.
Republican primary front-runner Josh Hawley is investigating the company’s data handling in his capacity as state attorney general, while his likely Democratic opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, has accepted $27,200 in contributions from Facebook employees and PACs to her campaign, this cycle alone (and another $7,500 to her own leadership PAC). Hawley’s campaign has sought to cast McCaskill as the “eager ally” of faraway elites, using her financial contributors to build their case.
Hawley announced his investigation into Facebook last week, issuing a subpoena to the company on April 2. McCaskill does not appear to have commented on the controversy yet. Asked about his opponent’s record on consumer protection matters at the press conference on April 2, Hawley reportedly took a jab at McCaskill. “Senator McCaskill has failed to do her job in a lot of areas, whether that’s protecting consumers, protecting taxpayers, protecting farmers; the list goes on,” he argued.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, Hawley zeroed in on McCaskill’s lack of public comment on Facebook. “Why has Senator McCaskill been silent on this issue? Who is she protecting?” he asked. “The personal information of Americans may have been misused dating back to the Obama campaign. We should be asking tough questions and investigating what access third parties had to some of our personal information and what they have done with it. Instead, we hear crickets from Senator McCaskill.”