Mike Troncoso, a former top aide to Kamala Harris, is stepping down as political chief at Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation, prompting speculation that he could take a new job with his old boss in the Biden White House.
“Mike Troncoso and Kamala Harris are very close,” Recode reporter Teddy Schleifer tweeted. “No announcement about Troncoso going to the White House, but CZI tells me that he’s moving to the East Coast and planning to return to public service.”
Troncoso took over from David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s longtime political adviser, overseeing programs for the Zuckerberg philanthopy’s Justice and Opportunity Initiatives. He was a lower-profile figure than Plouffe, but oversaw high-profile political advocacy projects, Recode reported.
The foundation spent hundreds of millions of dollars pushing for changes to the criminal justice system, more affordable housing and immigration reform.
During Troncoso’s time there, the Zuckerbergs spent $10 million on an unsuccessful attempt to add billions to California’s budget. He also oversaw their work on criminal justice reform. They spent about $40 million a year on that effort which made them one of the largest philanthropic funders in that arena, Schleifer wrote.
Some people who have worked at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative alleged that its political work is overly sensitive to what could impact Facebook, Recode reported.
“Why would Zuckerberg have lobbyist David Plouffe & a top aide to Kamala, at the foundation? You could say political persons are BETTER at helping people w/ the charity or this is a way around regulations & scrutiny, this is a LOBBYING ACT.Someone playing at the HIGHEST OF LEVELS,” The Moguldom Nation CEO Jamarlin Martin tweeted.
Osi Imeokparia is the interim replacement for Troncoso. She leads the technology team on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Justice & Opportunity initiative. She has spent the last 20 years as a product leader in startup, mid-size, and large organizations. Most recently, she was the chief product officer for the Hillary For America presidential campaign. She also worked at Google as a product leader on ad tech platforms such as Google AdWords and Doubleclick. She is a graduate of Stanford University.
Facebook Inc. co-founder Mark Zuckerberg started Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with his wife, Priscilla Chan, as a way to give away his shares in the company over his lifetime.
Plouffe joined the Zuckerberg foundation to lead policy and advocacy after leading policy for Uber. Widely considered the architect of President Barack Obama’s two presidential campaign victories, Plouffe served as presidential advisor through Obama’s reelection before taking his campaign strategies to Silicon Valley.
That close connection with Obama has been lucrative for Plouffe. He serves as a board member of the Chicago-based Barack Obama Foundation.
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Troncoso was the principal legal and policy advisor to Harris when she was attorney general. He oversaw some of the office’s most sensitive and high-profile litigation, investigations and policy matters. He led it multi-divisional Mortgage Fraud Strike Force and led California’s negotiation team in national foreclosure settlement talks. Previously, Troncoso was an associate at two national law firms and led the San Francisco District Attorney’s Mortgage and Investment Fraud Unit, where he prosecuted financial crimes. He earned his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
In November, 33 groups wrote a letter asking President-elect Biden to exclude big tech executives, lobbyists, lawyers and consultants from his administration.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft represent serious threats to privacy, democracy, innovation and Americans’ economic well-being and they won’t be held accountable unless the Biden administration closes the decades-old revolving door, they noted.