As Google’s lobbying clout grows, so do its ties to right-wing political groups
A while back, in a post titled “The Web Ain’t Sherwood Forest–Except Maybe for the Mercatus Center, Koch Industries, A.L.E.C. and Google.” I criticized a newly released study by piracydata.org, a libertarian-sponsored website that used “splashy, but false, new data” designed to suggest that piracy is Hollywood’s fault. Turns out the site and the study was garbage, but in my piece I noted that Google’s fingerprints (and agenda) were all over the clunky propaganda effort.
It’s too bad that piracydata.org isn’t more transparent about its sugar daddy. Like many of the astro-turf anti-copyright entities this one’s tentacles can be traced back to Google, the supposedly aggrieved party whose persecution by anti-piracy advocates that inspired the site’s creation in the first place.
I also included the fact Google acknowledges its cozy relationship with the libertarian mission on its public policy page:
Our U.S. Public Policy and Government Affairs team provides support to a number of independent third-party organizations whose federally-focused work intersects in some way with technology and Internet policy. While this list is continually evolving, some examples of these organizations are: … Mercatus Center…
Yesterday Truth-Out.org published a great expose by Nick Surgey that sheds even more light on Google’s ties to right-wing political interests–interests that extend far beyond controlling the debate around copyright and content theft. The article, “The Googlization of the Far Right: Why Is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC? sheds more light on the fact that the Silicon Valley tech giant is underwriting a political agenda that in many ways parallels that of the notorious Koch brothers.
Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.
In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google.
Again, this information is not new, but it is important and deserving of ongoing scrutiny. Google’s lobbying budget in 2012 was 18.2 million dollars and the company now ranks number 8 in lobbyist spending among Washington’s influence peddlers. While Google (and Silicon Valley) have generally been associated with more “progressive” causes over the years, as Surgey points out , Google’s funding of ALEC is troubling:
There are many good reasons for brand conscious corporations to stay away from ALEC. For example, its legacy of Stand Your Ground gun laws and bills to make harder for Americans to vote, its work to repeal renewable energy laws and the ability of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, and its efforts to privatize almost everything, are just a few of its extreme measures.
As each day passes and Google’s political influence grows, their corporate mantra “don’t be evil” seems increasingly mendacious and absurd. Perhaps the powers that be at Google should pick up some new bedtime reading. Grimm’s Fairy Tales might be a good choice. Why not begin by reading “Snow White” and note what happens to an evil queen who looks into the mirror and refuses to believe the truth?