Silicon Valley’s power players have learned that Washington can be a political asset — and a cultural hazard.

Google, Facebook and other tech giants have been spending furiously inside the Beltway as they seek sweeping changes to the country’s patent, privacy and immigration laws. But as these companies angle to improve their political fortunes, they’ve also backed candidates and causes that are at odds with the beliefs of the larger tech community back home — and the industry has faced plenty of criticism as a result.

When Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo tried to cozy up to conservative state legislators, for example, they found themselves on the defensive for supporting an organization that had opposed renewable-energy laws — a major issue for the environmentally conscious tech crowd. As Facebook specifically aimed to donate to a wider array of political candidates, it found itself writing checks to state attorneys general who had been fighting gay marriage, despite the company’s longtime public support for the cause. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog