Heritage President Kay C. James Signs Pledge Rejecting Big Tech Money

Heritage President Kay C. James Signs Pledge Rejecting Big Tech Money

May 4, 2021 2 min read

DENIS CHARLET / Contributor / Getty Images

WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation, which rejected six-figure donations from Facebook and Google in 2020, promised no longer to accept financial support from Big Tech companies as long as they continue to suppress conservative viewpoints. President Kay C. James announced Tuesday she was signing a pledge with other conservative leaders that calls out Big Tech’s censorship and refuses contributions from these companies.

"The Heritage Foundation will not in good conscience accept money from companies that repeatedly and blatantly attempt to silence conservative speech they don’t agree with,” James said. “Every time a new case of censorship comes to light, these companies trot out excuses and promises to do better. Enough is enough. I stand united with other conservative leaders against Big Tech’s censorship of conservative voices."

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell cited Heritage’s rejection of the Facebook and Google donations as an impetus for creating a pledge to reject Big Tech’s financial support. James is one of more than 40 conservative leaders to sign the pledge.

“We commend Heritage for turning down two six-figure contributions from Google and Facebook last year. That was a catalyst for the Media Research Center to urge all conservatives to do the same,” Bozell said. “Silicon Valley’s money is toxic and it’s poisoning our society. Big Tech—Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and others—are pouring millions upon millions of dollars into Washington trying to buy influence. Conservatives must resist.”

In her Oct. 29, 2020, letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, James cited the ongoing tech policy debate as a reason for declining the donations.

“As you know, there is a growing momentum in Washington to rein in Google and other technology companies, either through antitrust action or changes in liability protections you enjoy,” James wrote. “Heritage is in the midst of reviewing these proposals, and the last thing we need is for anyone to think that our conclusions have in any way been influenced by a relatively small donation from your company.”

Heritage has never been offered or accepted any donations from Apple, Amazon, or Twitter.

With more than a half-million members, Heritage is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute. That broad base of support guarantees that no donor or group of donors has the ability to direct the views or activities of Heritage. Total corporate support amounts to less than 2% of all Heritage contributions. 

Heritage also carefully protects its independence by refusing to engage in contract research. Additionally, Heritage takes no money from government—whether federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign—for any research activity or any other purpose.

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