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Can Zuckerberg group survive its own political differences?

By Laurie Bennett

May 11, 2013 at 11:50am

Elon Musk and David Sacks have left the PAC launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, All Things Digital reports.

Neither name now appears on the web site of FWD.us. A search on WayBack Machine shows that both were listed as contributors as recently as April 16.

Zuckerberg started the group in March, purportedly to focus on immigration reform. Its co-founders and contributors form a constellation of some of the biggest stars in the tech world.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

Musk, who makes electric cars and solar power systems, told All Things Digital his departure resulted from the group’s support of politicians whose stands on environmental issues are at odds with his own.

As ThinkProgress reported last month, FWD.us has supported a Republican group called Americans For A Conservative Direction, which has run ads lauding Sen. Lindsay Graham’s support for the Keystone XL pipeline and expanded drilling.

In retrospect, a schism would appear inevitable.

Endorsers of FWD.us may agree on the need for immigration reform, but some hold equal or greater passion for issues such as the environment. As soon as the group began backing candidates, even indirectly, it was bound to raise hackles.

While backers such as venture capitalist John Doerr and LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman are Democratic donors, others favor the GOP. Domo founder Josh James gave $50,000 last year to the main super PAC working for Mitt Romney. Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker also backed Romney’s presidential bid.

In February, Zuckerberg hosted a fundraiser for Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Still, most of the FWD.us supporters have not been big donors to political campaigns in recent years. They could be the glue that holds the group together.

The Muckety map above shows some affiliations of Musk, Sacks and co-founders. The map below shows co-founders in the inner cirle and contributors in the outer circle.

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