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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Lawmakers will get the chance to grill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week about the company’s data practices, its role in elections, and whatever else is on their mind.

The big picture: Members of the three committees questioning Zuckerberg will all recognize that it’s the rare chance to take their Facebook criticisms straight to its founder and get the media attention that comes along with that.

  • The three GOP committee chairmen — Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. John Thune and Rep. Greg Walden — have all have been willing to take on large tech companies in recent months. Walden indicated the industry would find itself regulated if it didn’t step up, Grassley called a top internet lobbyist to a hearing on guns, and Thune joined Walden in questioning Apple about its battery slowdowns.
  • Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham are both critical of the companies in the context of national security. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has asked social platforms to investigate the role of bots in the social media campaign to release the House Intelligence Committee Republican memo about the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.
  • Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is on the Judiciary and Commerce Committees and is a lead sponsor of legislation that would regulate online political ads, the main piece of draft legislation to come out of the Russian election meddling controversy. Facebook backed the bill Friday.
  • Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are longtime thorns in the side of tech companies when it comes to privacy — and nobody expects them to let up now. They’ve already seized on revelations that tens of millions more users' data might have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the center of the Facebook scandal.
  • GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Sen. Ted Cruz share the concerns of conservatives who think large web platforms could stifle right-leaning views — and both can be aggressive politicians.
  • Republican Sen. John Kennedy — one of the most quotable people on Capitol Hill — has said for some time he wants to hear directly from Zuckerberg and other tech CEOs, so watch for him to take his shot.

Some of Silicon Valley’s traditional defenders will be worth watching to see how they balance support and criticism. They include Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, who said last year that something must be done about “bad actors that have used the best of what we have invented to divide us”; and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who represents the web giants but also closely questioned them about Russia last year.

The other coast: Zuckerberg has been preparing to face lawmakers with mock hearings and help from consultants and a major law firm, per the New York Times. Reuters also reported Sunday night that he'll meet with some lawmakers on the committees holding the hearings ahead of the public grilling.

Our thought bubble: The most striking moments of a congressional hearing come when a lawmaker surprises the witness with unexpected — or unexpectedly aggressive — questions. A tough hit against Zuckerberg by a lawmaker who's not on this list would have a good chance of grabbing headlines.

What's next: Zuckerberg will testify at a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee Tuesday at 2:15 pm Eastern, and at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday at 10 am Eastern.

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.

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