FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I take the No Big Tech Money pledge?
The No Big Tech Money pledge is an important signifier to voters, to potential donors, and to the media, and the public that a candidate is willing to stand with people, not Big Tech money. It is a public acknowledgment that Big Tech companies are engaging in anti-competitive practices that are corrupting the marketplace and our democracy. Refusing Big Tech contributions symbolically frees a candidate to take bolder stances for antitrust action, unbound from ties of powerful monopolies.
What does it mean to take the No Big Tech Money pledge?
Taking the No Big Tech Money pledge means that a candidate’s campaign will adopt a policy not to accept any contributions over $200 from the corporate Political Action Committees (PACs), named executives, or lobbyists of any “covered platform” as defined by The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992) (1). Currently, the companies that meet this criteria are Alphabet (Google), Apple, Amazon, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft. The pledge is forward-looking, which means it applies from the moment a candidate takes the pledge onward but does not apply retroactively to past contributions. The commitment begins the moment a candidate takes the pledge.
- "Any website, online or mobile application, operating system, digital assistant, or online service that (A) enables a user to generate or interact with content on the platform; (B) facilitates e-commerce among consumers or third-party businesses; or (C) enables user searches that display a large volume of information and also that (A) has at least 50 million monthly active users (or 100,000 business users); B) has an annual market capitalization or U.S. net sales exceeding $550 billion; and C) serves as a “critical trading partner” for its business users"
How does a candidate sign the pledge?
In order to sign the No Big Tech Money Pledge, a candidate or their campaign staff should ensure that they understand what they are signing, then provide verification that they have signed and filled out the web form. This verification can come in the form of a photo or scan of a signed pledge, a photo or video of a candidate signing, or a virtual commitment (webpage, blog post, stylized graphic, etc.), either sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted online on a campaign account. A candidate or their campaign staff should then fill out the online web form to alert NoBigTechMoney.org that they have signed, provide verification, and provide contact information in case any further questions should arise.
Candidates can use pledge-signing moments as an opportunity to highlight their commitment, by publicly sharing a photo of signing the pledge, releasing a short campaign video explaining their reasoning, or even sending out a fundraising appeal based on the pledge.
What type of contributions does the pledge apply to?
The No Big Tech Money pledge applies specifically to contributions of more than $200 from corporate PACs, named executives, and lobbyists from Apple, Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), or Microsoft. The No Big Tech Money pledge intentionally does not apply to the large majority of employees in the tech industry, as contributions from rank-and-file workers do not send the same political signal as contributions from company executives and lobbyists.
What does the pledge mean by “executives”?
The No Big Tech Money pledge focuses on refusing contributions from the Named Executive Officers of companies at Apple, Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Microsoft. This is a category of top executive officer legally defined by the Security and Exchange Committee in 17 CFR 229.402, and typically covers a company’s CEO, CFO, and next three high earners at an executive level. These executives are listed annually in a company’s 10-K filing or annual proxy statement (DEF 14a). More detail can be found here in the relevant section of the Code of Federal Regulations.
What does the pledge mean by “lobbyists”?
The No Big Tech Money pledge includes rejecting contributions from the federal and state registered lobbyists of Big Tech companies. This includes “in-house” registered lobbyists who work directly for Apple, Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Microsoft, and outside registered lobbyists registered to lobby for one or more Big Tech clients while employed by external lobbying firms.
Which companies does the pledge apply to?
The No Big Tech Money Pledge applies to any “covered platform” as defined by The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992). Currently, the companies that meet this criteria are Alphabet (Google), Apple, Amazon, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft.
Candidates signing the pledge should avoid contributions in line with the above definitions and are welcome to reach out to NoBigTechMoney.org with any questions (email@example.com). Staff is available to check any contribution/company in question against the guidelines of the pledge to ensure a candidate remains in good standing.
What should a pledge signer do if they receive a prohibited contribution?
If a candidate who has taken the No Big Tech Money pledge receives a prohibited contribution, the campaign should act within a reasonable timeframe to address the contribution. The preferred action is for the campaign to return the money. Alternatively, contributing an equivalent amount to an organization working to stop the Big Tech monopolies and protect our marketplace, families, and democracy (an organization that is not a No Big Tech Money coalition member) will be considered sufficient action to stay in good standing with the No Big Tech Money pledge.
What is the process for resolving a potential violation of the pledge?
NoBigTechMoney.org is not able to actively monitor all contributions to ensure compliance with the pledge. However, if a candidate signs the pledge, they are expected to abide by it fully and to notify the coalition if they have any questions about specific contributions.
If the No Big Tech Money coalition is notified that a pledge signer may have violated the terms of the pledge, it will investigate and confirm whether an identified contribution violated the pledge. If a violation has occurred, the coalition will notify the candidate and give them one week to return the contribution(s) in question, as noted above. If the candidate returns the contribution, they will remain on the pledge. If not, they will be removed from the list of pledge signers.
What if a pledge signer runs for reelection? Or runs for a different office?
It is the position of the No Big Tech Money coalition that when candidates take the No Big Tech Money pledge, they are taking it as a serious commitment for life to stand up to the Big Tech lobby and align with people, not corporate monopolies. For this reason, a pledge signer is considered to remain a pledge signer indefinitely, though they are welcome and encouraged to re-sign the No Big Tech Money pledge during any future election or reelection campaigns.
If a candidate runs for office and signs the pledge, they are a pledge signer throughout their campaign, and if elected are expected to remain faithful to the pledge in all future fundraising.
A No Big Tech Money pledge signer is considered to remain a pledge signer in any run for an office different than the one they currently hold unless they notify the No Big Tech Money coalition otherwise. Candidates are welcome and encouraged to reaffirm their signing of the No Big Tech Money pledge when entering a new race for a different office than the one they currently hold. However, the coalition will assume they remain committed to the pledge unless updated by a signer or given reason to believe otherwise.
If a candidate runs for office but is unsuccessful, they remain a pledge signer in future elections unless the coalition is notified otherwise. That said, we encourage candidates to re-sign the No Big Tech Money pledge, whether they are seeking the same office as in prior runs, or a new, different office. A candidate will always be listed on the No Big Tech Money website with the most recent office they have run for as a signer.
What if I’m running in ______ state? Or ______? Are there any exceptions to the pledge?
There are no exceptions — if a candidate takes the pledge, they are expected to live up to it. The pledge is intentionally designed to not impact the large majority of contributions from tech workers, because the large majority of tech workers are not the problem the pledge was designed to address. The No Big Tech Money coalition strongly supports a competitive marketplace where small businesses can prosper, families control their data, and children have healthy online experiences. The coalition strongly opposes the outsized, overwhelming influence of Big tech companies on our politics, and we hope that all politicians will join us in committing to stand with people, not the corrupting influence of Big Tech Money.