Facebook announced it has hired a former Bush administration staffer to head its Washington, D.C. office, deepening the company's ties to the political establishment.
Kaplan was an executive vice president at Energy Future Holdings, a Texas utility, where he headed up the public policy team. At Facebook, he will be vice president of public policy,overseeing Facebook¹s strategy and interactions with the government.
Before his stint at the utility, Kaplan was deputy chief of staff for policy under President George W. Bush, taking over for Karl Rove in 2006. Prior to that, he was deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget.
Though he started his career in the 1990s as a conservative Democrat, by 2001 he had been an advisor to the Bush campaign and a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Kaplan is a graduate of Harvard University, though he would have attended about a decade before Zuckerberg did. He has a law degree from Harvard as well.
Kaplan isn't the only political operative Facebook has hired. Myriah Jordan, who served as general counsel to Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), will be the company's policy manager, focused on relations with Congress.
Jordan served in the Bush White House under the chief of staff and was also Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. In that post she worked with federal agencies, military departments, and congressional offices on issues, audits and investigations relating to the Iraqi reconstruction program.
The hires continue a trend of hiring the politically-connected. Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, worked as chief of staff for U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers during the Clinton Administration.
The company also has two Republicans and two Democrats as registered lobbyists and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on influencing Washington for three years running. According to opensecrets.org the company spent $207,000 in 2009, $351,000 in 2010, and hit the $230,000 in the first quarter of 2011.