Facebook idealist crushed by Sandberg's realpolitik hireTed Ullyot, the neoconservative lawyer who served as Alberto Gonzales's former chief of staff, is not Facebook's first general counsel, as had been reported. Facebook cleared the way for Ullyot by sending former top lawyer Rudy Gadre packing in July. Gadre left "to spend more time with his family." Gadre is spending more time with his family by working for a Seattle startup called Evri. Here's one theory: Facebook's politically minded COO, Sheryl Sandberg, may have had Ullyot lined up for the job, but waited to finalize the hire until the Justice Department released its report on Gonzales's firings of U.S. attorneys general for political reasons. Notably, Ullyot's name does not appear in the report. A tipster tells us his "high-level insider" friend at Facebook isn't happy about the swap anyway, given Ullyot's controversial political background. Naturally, he blames Sheryl Sandberg:
The problem is that Mark [Zuckerberg, Facebook founder,] hired Sheryl Sandberg. She has political aspirations as does the head of PR she hired, Elliot Schrage. It's pitiful really: I'm shocked. It used to be full of young, idealistic cool people.
What's so shocking? Given Sandberg's penchant for sharp-elbows politics, honed in the Clinton White House, hiring a conservative lawyer with a close ties to the outgoing Republican administration constitutes a wise ideological hedge, lest Facebook be perceived as too Democratic-leaning. We think our tipster's friend nailed it: It's pitiful that he's shocked.