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A Facebook Founder’s Pandemic Battle

Theodore Schleifer
September 9, 2021

I wrote last month about the first major lobbying effort by Facebook co-founder and Democratic mega-donor Dustin Moskovitz, waged to convince Washington to fund an effort to prevent the next pandemic. I argued that Moskovitz should pick up the phone, call the White House, and embrace his status as a full-throated Swamp Monster—recognizing the fact that he has substantially more power in the party today than he had in, say, 2015, rather than maintaining the illusion that he’s just another philanthropist with a cause. I wrote

Moskovitz’s group, the Open Philanthropy Project, had lobbied Congress to set aside a full $30 billion in pandemic preparedness spending in the same $3.5 trillion budget bill that has Heitkamp’s attention. And now we have an update: Biden’s team just disclosed that the White House is requesting a $15 billion pool of cash in the reconciliation bill. That’s a huge increase from the $5 billion that seemed slated to be apportioned, according to reports at the time, but still only half the number originally targeted by Biden and endorsed by Moskovitz. Now Moskovitz’s fate, as with anyone with ambitions in the world of politics, lies with Joe Manchin.