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High-Tech Donations Tilt Toward Democrats

In addition, three top Google executives — Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products, Vinton Cerf, executive vice president, and Laura DeBonis, business manager — gave the maximum of $30,400 to the Democratic National Committee this year.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt and other company executives participated in an NRSC fundraiser this summer, a company official said. But the contributions for that event have not yet been reported to the FEC.

Like Gates, Schmidt has been bipartisan in his giving. He contributed in June to Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ohio Senate candidate Rob Portman (R).

A Google spokeswoman said the company does not comment on its political giving.

The topsy-turvy season has put some groups in uncomfortable positions. For example both CTIA and the U.S. Telecom Association gave to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in July, less than a month before she was upset in her primary by tea-party-backed candidate Joe Miller. Murkowski has launched a write-in campaign and has solicited help from K Street.

One Republican Senate candidate, Carly Fiorina, is not getting much help from her former employer, Silicon Valley giant Hewlett Packard.

HP’s PAC, which gave $5,000 to incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in 2009, has made no contributions to Fiorina, who was forced to resign as CEO of Hewlett Packard in 2005. Only a handful of HP employees have made individual contributions to the GOP candidate, who is locked in a tight race with Boxer.

While some high-tech executives will be watching the polls to determine where their dollars go, another Silicon Valley giant, Intel Corp., has opted not to use elections as a gauge for support.

The company has instituted a policy of splitting its PAC contributions evenly between the two party’s candidates regardless of the outcome in November.

“We don’t focus on who’s in power,” said Peter Cleveland, Intel’s vice president for global public policy. Cleveland is a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who received $2,500 from Intel’s PAC in June.

Cleveland, who implemented the policy when he was hired 20 months ago, said in making contributions, the company evaluates lawmakers’ voting records and positions on relevant issues.

Through the end of July, about 57 percent of Intel’s contributions went to Democrats, a number that will even out by the end of the cycle, Cleveland said.

But the company does not ignore those in a position to make decisions. In July, Intel made a $5,000 contribution to House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who would be in line to become Speaker if Republicans win control of the House.

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