Late Saturday night, the New York Times reported that Thiel is now donating $1.25 million to the Trump campaign in the final leg of the race.
This isn't out of character for Thiel, a billionaire who has recently spent a nontrivial amount of money towards political ends, bankrolling several lawsuits against Gawker Media over a personal vendetta, including one that ultimately led to the demise of Gawker.com. He also endorsed Trump at the Republican National Convention in July.
More from Recode:
But Thiel's financial support of Trump sticks out when compared to how the technology industry and other Silicon Valley elite are spending money this election cycle. One tracker, Crowdpac, says the technology industry has donated almost $8 million to the Clinton campaign, versus $300,000 to Trump's.
According to Federal Election Commission records, staffers from Google have donated more than $335,000 to the Clinton campaign in the past three months alone — more than from any other employer. Employees from Apple, Microsoft and IBM also account for significant Clinton campaign contributions.
Among well-known tech donors:
- Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna committed $20 million last month to boost Clinton and other Democratic campaigns. (Update: Moskovitz notes via Twitter that he's made a second announcement for even more money.)
- Reid Hoffman, the founder of Linkedin, pledged $5 million to veterans' causes if Donald Trump releases his tax returns, on top of the more than $40,000 Hoffman has donated to Democratic campaign efforts this year.
- Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, an outspoken Clinton supporter, has also contributed over $200,000 to Democratic electoral campaigns this year.
- Marc Benioff of Salesforce, who backs Clinton, has previously put more than $100,000 towards Democratic election funds, too.
- Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has spent more than $10,000 to support the Democratic ticket this year.
- Reed Hastings of Netflix has donated more than $40,000 to Democratic election efforts this year, as well.
- Elon Musk has also contributed to Democratic campaign funds.
- John Doerr of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has donated more than $600,000 to Clinton-related super PACs, and Brook Byers of the same firm has donated more than $100,000 to Democrat campaign funds, according to the money-in-politics tracking website opensecrets.org.
Earlier this summer Clinton released a list of prominent business leaders who support her bid for the White House, which reads as a list of VIPs from some of the most important technology companies in the world.
In that context, Thiel's support of Trump is fittingly contrarian.
It also seems too late to help much, and somewhat strange. Neither Thiel nor a rep has responded to Recode's request for comment and explanation.