While eschewing corporate PAC contributions, familial wealth underpins her campaigns.
Rep. Sara Jacobs recently asserted to a reporter that she doesn't "take any corporate PAC [political action committee] money." However, this stance appears juxtaposed with her family's substantial financial backing in her political endeavors.
Jacobs’ grandfather, Irwin Jacobs, founder and former chairman of telecom behemoth Qualcomm, together with his wife Joan, have been notable in their support. They channeled $1.5 million into an external super PAC, championing Sara Jacobs' Democratic primary campaign for California’s 53rd Congressional District. This family-backed push seemed to bear fruit, with the Associated Press revealing that Jacobs progressed to the runoff, garnering around 30% of the votes in her 2020 primary election.
This significant contribution from the Jacobs lineage serves as a reflection of the broader tech industry trend: using personal fortunes as a tool to amplify political influence, either personally or through successors.
The Jacobs duo is no stranger to the world of political donations. With a staggering net worth of $1.2 billion, they've dedicated approximately $12 million to Democratic causes and related groups throughout their lifetime, as disclosed in federal records. Their influence extends beyond monetary means, having hosted political figures of the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during Southern California fundraising jaunts.
The couple pioneered a new super PAC—Forward California. Their $1.5 million patronage was channeled into marketing campaigns: some light-heartedly casting former President Donald Trump as a Cheeto, while others painted Sara Jacobs as the face of a "new generation of leadership."
Skepticism about the origin of campaign funds looms large. Critics are quick to point out the blurry line between campaign coffers and Super PAC contributions, especially when the collective tally soars to $3 million.
“The idea that a PAC funded by millions of dollars from the Jacobs family is actually independent from Sara Jacobs is laughable,” remarked a strategist from the camp of her former chief competitor, San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez, in a statement to Vox.
Interestingly, this isn't the Jacobs family's inaugural attempt to champion Sara's congressional dreams. In 2018, she made a bid for a different Californian congressional seat. Her grandparents extended a $2.5 million lifeline to Women Vote!, a super PAC in alliance with EMILY's List. The latter reciprocated by directing $2.4 million towards Sara's electoral bid. Regrettably for the Jacobs, this generous backing didn't culminate in an electoral win then.