Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz donates $20 million to stop Donald Trump

Worth $10 billion, Moskovitz makes his debut as a mega-donor

David Usborne
New York
Friday 09 September 2016 15:02 BST

America has a new star political donor and the beneficiaries are Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, not Donald Trump.

Dustin Moskovitz, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a co-founder of Facebook, has confirmed he wrote cheques worth no less than $20m for a variety of entities fighting to give the Democrats control of Congress once again and backing Ms Clinton for the White House.

Once a a room-mate of Mr Zuckerberg in their early Harvard days, Mr Moskovitz’s only other foray into the donor circus was to give four-figure sums to Sean Eldridge, the husband of another Facebook co-founder, who ran unsuccessfully for a House seat in New York four years ago.

In a post on the Medium website, Mr Moskowitz, 32, who left Facebook in 2008, admitted to some hesitation but also made clear he had been motivated in part by disdain for the Republican presidential choice.

“We hope these efforts make it a little more likely that Secretary Clinton is able to pursue the agenda she’s outlined, and serve as a signal to the Republican Party that by running this kind of campaign – one built on fear and hostility – and supporting this kind of candidate, they compel people to act in response,” he and his wife, Cari Tuna, wrote.

The money they are unleashing – and more cheques might be written before this election season is over – will be split between various groups, including $5m for the League of Conservation Voters. Mr Moskovitz, believed to be worth about $10bn, becomes the second big Democratic donor to emphasise the environment alongside Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager also in California.

Mr Steyer has emerged in recent years as the Democrats’ answer to big-time Republican donors, not least industrialists brothers, David and Charles Koch. In 2016 so far he has given $30m to Democrat groups.

Ms Clinton is in part relying on fear among Democrat donors of a Trump presidency – the latest national polls put the two candidates essentially neck and neck – to raise funds and so far she has the easy advantage. Latest filings from the campaigns show that she raised a record-setting $143m in August alone compared to $90m harvested by Mr Trump. Ms Clinton spent much of the second half of August on a fund-raising spree through some of America’s wealthiest post codes on both coasts.

“Cari and I have dedicated our lives to figuring out how to do the most good we can with the resources we’ve been given. Until now, those efforts have not included making endorsements or contributions in presidential elections,” Mr Moskovitz wrote. “The Republican Party, and Donald Trump in particular, is running on a zero-sum vision, stressing a false contest between their constituency and the rest of the world.”

Tim Kaine, the number two on the Democratic ticket, is also doing his bit, managing to rake in $500,000 from supporters at a single event in New York on Thursday night. He had more fundraising gatherings planned for Friday in both Virginia, his home state, and Alabama.

Mr Moskovitz revealed that another $5m of his would go to the union-led For Our Future super PAC and that the remainder of his donation would go variously to a fundraising committee for Hillary Clinton; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; a political arm of MoveOn.Org; Color of Change PAC; and “several nonpartisan voter registration and GOTV (get out the vote) efforts”.

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