Jon Kyl’s new side hustle: Working for Trump while he already works for Facebook

Why Facebook should end its partnership with the White House’s SCOTUS Sherpa

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Former Sen. and lobbyist Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is a busy man. Last month, Facebook hired Kyl and his law firm, Covington and Burling, to lead the social media company’s conservative bias review. Facebook created the review as a response to debunked claims from the right that the platform was censoring conservative content. Though the right has no data to back up these claims, and Facebook almost certainly has data to prove the opposite, the social media giant caved to conservative demands.

Then, yesterday, the White House announced that Kyl would also act as the “sherpa” for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Via CNN:

A GOP official said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had suggested Kyl for the task. The White House had asked for McConnell's advice on the matter, the official said.

The recommendation continued to underscore McConnell's significant behind-the-scenes role in the process -- one bolstered by months of close coordination with the White House, and with White House counsel Don McGahn specifically, on filling circuit and district judge slots. As CNN previously reported, McConnell has consulted with Trump and his team daily on strategy and Senate math for the possible picks.

Kyl’s new side hustle is yet another reminder that Facebook’s decision to cave to the right is all political theater. Facebook wants that sweet 2020 digital ad campaign money from the Trump campaign -- not to mention from the GOP’s many allied groups. Given the context, it seems clear the social media company didn’t hire Kyl and his firm because its leaders genuinely believe he’ll help the company fix a problem, but rather because he’s a connected GOP operator and they hope that his involvement will tamper the barrage of whining from the right.

Given that the GOP plans to scapegoat tech companies as a way of rallying its base, Facebook should scrap both the conservative bias review and Jon Kyl’s lobbying role with the company.