President Obama has long had a cozy relationship with Google, and now his campaign can say the same, as people associated with the tech company have proven to be a major source of cash for his re-election.
Google — not the company as such, but employees and affiliated entities — is the number three source of campaign donations ($357,00) for Obama, as CNET found through a review of Center for Responsive Politics data.
The show of support reinforces the ties between Obama and this company. The president violated his anti-lobbying pledge by allowing a Google vice president to weigh in, repeatedly and blatantly, on White House deliberations about regulations pertaining to internet privacy that he wanted written in a way that would benefit his company.
“Maybe a millionaire who spends his days leaning on policymakers to benefit his company isn’t a lobbyist if he calls himself an ‘Internet evangelist,’” The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney quipped in reporting on the lobbying.
Obama also installed Google CEO Eric Schmidt onto his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), per CNET, which also noted that Google’s director of global public policy left his job with the internet giant to work in the Obama White House as deputy chief technology officer.
Google employees haven’t just helped shape government policies that pertain to their company; they also help the president with messaging issues: It was a former Google employee Doug Edwards who helpfully asked Obama, at the height of his push for higher taxes on millionaires, “Would you please raise my taxes?”
The relationship between Google staff and Obama is no doubt motivated by some ideological agreement, but the company is keenly aware that it must influence government.
In fact, Google spent $5 million on lobbying in the first quarter of this year. It is also taking pains to cultivate the affection of political reporters, as Carney noted in a recent item from the Republican National Convention.