In an effort to improve its relations (a.k.a. ingratiate itself) with federal regulators, Facebook has hired two former George W. Bush insiders in its growing Washington, D.C., office.
The move follows similar hires the social media company has made in the past year, as well as moves made by some of the nation's largest banks, to improve lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill in the more heavily regulated, post-financial-crisis climate.
Joel Kaplan, a former deputy chief of staff under Bush and, more recently, an EVP at the Texas-based utility and private equity-owned Energy Future Holdings, will head Facebook's D.C. office; he'll also lead the social media company's public policy work. Meanwhile, Myriah Jordan, who also once worked in the Office of the Chief of Staff under Bush and who'd recently been serving as general counsel to Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, was hired to head up Facebook's congressional relations efforts.
The two were just the latest Republican talent additions that Facebook has made in the past 12 months. Previously, the firm hired Cathie Martin, a former Bush aide who served as a communications expert for former Vice President Dick Cheney. (Recently, Martin announced that she'll be taking a leave of absence from Facebook.). In addition, Facebook had also hired Marne Levine, a former chief of staff to the National Economic Council. Levine now serves as a vice president of global public policy for the firm.
Similar personnel moves were made in the banking industry in the past year, as UBS, Citi and Goldman Sachs, among others, have all tapped government insiders in order to improve their lobbying efforts in D.C.
All of Facebook's recent politico hirings underscore not only its attempts to improve its leverage in Washington, but also just how carefully Zuckerberg and Company are treading as they prepare to enter their next phase of operation: as a public company. Then, as one of the largest publicly-traded firms in the country (by enterprise value), Facebook will be put under the microscope of shareholders and regulators who, by law, will have access to their (nearly) every move.
And Zuckerberg and the rest of his Facebook management friends know very well that once their firm does go public, they'll have a lot more to lo$e.
(Politico: Facebook Picks Up Former Bush Aides)
(Related: UBS Puts Ex-Washington Politicos on Payroll, Citi Nabs Obama's Ex-Budget Director, Goldman Hires "All-Star Lobbying Team" to Fight For Its Right to Prop Trade)