10 Things in Politics: Kamala Harris' Big Tech problem

·6 min read

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Here's what we're talking about:

Vice President Kamala Harris giving a thumbs up with the Facebook "like" symbol as her hand, and the logos of facebook, apple, amazon, and google on a blue background
Vice President Kamala Harris giving a thumbs up with the Facebook "like" symbol as her hand, and the logos of facebook, apple, amazon, and google on a blue background

Jim Watson/Getty; Marianne Ayala/Insider

1. INSIDER DEEP DIVE: As California's top cop, Kamala Harris let tech companies run rampant. Insider's Mattathias Schwartz examined that history amid speculation over whether President Joe Biden will seek reelection in 2024.

Here's just a snapshot of Harris' record:

"They view Facebook as a good actor": That's what a Facebook lobbyist wrote of a 2012 meeting with a top Harris staffer just a week after Harris, then California's attorney general, announced the creation of a new privacy unit.

  • Experts say one line in the previously unreported email raises eyebrows: Will Castleberry, the Facebook lobbyist, wrote that Harris' office said the social network would "not unknowingly be the subject of an investigation." Bruce Green, who leads the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham Law School, said it would be "misleading or irresponsible" to make such a commitment.

Harris was far from the only Democrat who cultivated allies in Silicon Valley: Sen. Cory Booker, a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, who would also run for president in 2020, once touted a $100 million partnership with Mark Zuckerberg to remake Newark's public schools. President Barack Obama praised social networks for their role in fomenting the Arab Spring and held Oval Office chats with Google's CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt.

  • But Harris is the first vice president whose career owes so much to Big Tech. Facebook and its executives donated $20,100 to Harris' reelection fund from 2012 to 2014. Top Apple and Google officials were also key parts of her early fundraising network. Her years of connections help explain why according to the Revolving Door Project, more than a quarter of her campaign donors were employed by tech — a higher percentage than any other major candidate. And her aides and family have only deepened her network's ties to companies like Uber, Google, and Facebook.

Read more about Kamala Harris' deep ties to the tech industry and how could affect our digital future.

2. White House considering mandatory testing for international travelers: Biden is expected to announce later this week that everyone entering the US will need to be tested for the coronavirus one day before boarding flights, "regardless of their vaccination status or country of departure," The Washington Post reports. Officials are also said to be debating a weeklong "self-quarantine" requirement for all travelers entering the country. The isolation requirement would be enforceable by fines and penalties. More on the Biden administration's developing response to the Omicron variant.

woman holding hand over eyes as she cries following oxford high school shooting
woman holding hand over eyes as she cries following oxford high school shooting

Students, parents, teachers, and community members at a vigil at the Lake Point Community Church following a shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday.Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

3. At least three people were killed in a Michigan school shooting: "A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy's patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said," the Associated Press reports. "Eight other people were wounded, some critically." Here's what else we know.

4. These are the Florida Democrats running to oust Gov. Ron DeSantis: Three Democrats running to defeat DeSantis, a GOP rising star and possible 2024 presidential contender, urged their party to fight back more against attacks that their party's policies amounted to socialism, slammed DeSantis for his management of the coronavirus pandemic, and discussed how they would run the state. More from their interviews.

  • Note for the curious: Insider offered DeSantis a chance to be interviewed. His office declined that request.

5. GOP leadership unable to stop an escalating feud between lawmakers: A direct appeal from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy proved unsuccessful in quelling a public spat between GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Nancy Mace, CNN reports. Greene emerged from the meeting and told reporters she and former President Donald Trump would support a primary challenger of Mace. Mace retorted "bless her heart," adding a profanity. Greene repeatedly called Mace "trash" after Mace condemned another congresswoman, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, for her Islamaphobic comments about Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. The spat underlines increasing tensions between House Republicans that are on the verge of threatening their midterm chances.

  • Here's just a snapshot of their exchange:

Nancy Mace tweet
Nancy Mace tweet

Nancy Mace/Twitter

6. Accuser says Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein picked her up at summer camp when she was 14: "Jane" said Epstein and Maxwell presented themselves as wealthy benefactors shortly after her family lost their home. She testified that Maxwell and Epstein pulled her into sexually abusive orgies as part of what she described as years of abuse. Three other accusers are expected to testify in Maxwell's trial.

7. CNN suspends anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely: The punishment comes after newly released transcripts appeared to show Cuomo used media sources to help his brother, Andrew Cuomo, amid the politician's sexual-harassment scandal. A CNN representative said that the network was previously unaware of the new documents and that the documents "raise serious questions." Cuomo is now suspended, "pending further evaluation." More on the fallout.

8. Mark Meadows is said to be cooperating with the Capitol riot inquiry: Meadows, Trump's final chief of staff, previously struck a defiant tone about lawmakers' request for documents and testimony related to the January 6 insurrection. His change in tone comes as the longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon faces prison time over his refusal to cooperate with the congressional investigation. More on the Meadows' change of heart.

9. Dr. Oz is running in a closely watched US Senate race: Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity heart surgeon best known as the host of "The Dr. Oz Show," said he would run for the GOP nomination in the US Senate race in Pennsylvania. Oz has lived in New Jersey for the past two decades and registered to vote in Pennsylvania, from his in-laws' address in Montgomery County, only last year, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. Oz didn't even mention Pennsylvania in his Washington Examiner column announcing his campaign.

Abbreviated digital thumbnail image of two baseballs on an unbalanced gold scale over a dark blue background
Abbreviated digital thumbnail image of two baseballs on an unbalanced gold scale over a dark blue background

Mark Weiss/Getty; Krittiraj Adchasai/iStock; Taylor Tyson/Insider

10. Major League Baseball secretly used 2 types of baseballs last season: Meredith Wills, an astrophysicist, has collected and taken apart MLB game balls for years, looking for changes. Wills found MLB secretly used two different balls, one lighter than the other, during games in 2021. The league acknowledged to Insider that it used different balls, blaming the situation on the coronavirus pandemic and supply shortages. The full story, however, gets stranger. Read more about how small changes in the ball can make a big difference.

  • Key quote: "Everything in this game is based on your statistics," said Adam Ottavino, a free agent who last pitched with the Boston Red Sox. "There's a million of them. If the variables are being changed out from underneath you and in an unfair way, that sheds doubt on every statistic that you have."

Today's trivia question: On this day in 1824, the US presidential election went to the House for just the second time in history. Which Cabinet post did Rep. Henry Clay accept from President John Quincy Adams, the eventual winner, that led to allegations of a "corrupt bargain"? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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