On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg went through his second day of questioning in front of Rep. Frank Pallone for a data breach and selling personal information to Cambridge Analytica in order to influence political campaigns, however we cannot forget how this happened in the first place. The fact that many of the politicians that were questioning Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday about his role in the data breach are the same people in Washington that have taken money from Zuckerberg and the rest of Facebook brings up serious questions of our political leaders’ ethical standards.

Representative Frank Pallone, my Democratic primary opponent, has accepted $7,000 from Facebook since 2012, according to the FEC. Do companies like Facebook donate to Congressional leaders simply to be nice or do they donate to gain influence in Congress? What are the odds that the perpetrator in this hearing is the same hand that feeds the government, which is supposed to protect people’s information?On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg went through his second day of questioning in front of Rep. Frank Pallone for a data breach and selling personal information to Cambridge Analytica in order to influence political campaigns, however we cannot forget how this happened in the first place. The fact that many of the politicians that were questioning Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday about his role in the data breach are the same people in Washington that have taken money from Zuckerberg and the rest of Facebook brings up serious questions of our political leaders’ ethical standards. Representative Frank Pallone, my Democratic primary opponent, has accepted $7,000 from Facebook since 2012, according to the FEC. Do companies like Facebook donate to Congressional leaders simply to be nice or do they donate to gain influence in Congress? What are the odds that the perpetrator in this hearing is the same hand that feeds the government, which is supposed to protect people’s information?

The fact that Congressmen like my opponent is questioning Zuckerberg over his & Facebook’s knowledge of selling off personal information is the equivalent of Marco Rubio questioning the NRA over their influence in school shootings. Corporations send checks to our elected officials to dilute our democracy to the point where their CEO gets summoned to Congress for a play date instead of an supposed hearing. In a display of bipartisan thought and practice, I echo NJ-06 Republican candidate Rich Pezzullo's demand for Rep. Pallone to return the $7,000 to Facebook that he has taken since 2010.

Elected officials cannot preach about protecting our democracy if they continue to take blank checks from so many entities that they have no ethical standards at the end of the day. Instead of protecting his constituents' private information, Rep. Pallone has managed to allow their information to reach prying hands. While days will pass with no comment from his office, people's personal information will continue to be shared every day with prying hands.

Being an elected official for 30 years with no primary challengers is how situations like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook come to be. After 30 years, how much more can  constituents take? Being in office this long leads you to work for the corporations and lobbyists than the constituents. If one hits that stage, it is time to step down. And Rep. Pallone is at that stage.

 

Javahn Walker
6th Congressional District
Candidate