Thursday, December 08, 2016 by Don Wrightman
Over the last 8 years, the Obama administration’s revolving door with Google has been far from subtle. A new report from a government watchdog shows that the Silicon Valley giant had hopes of extending that relationship into a Hillary Clinton presidency. Non-profit watchdog, Campaign for Accountability, said that when Clinton headed the State Department, the revolving door was already growing in scope. There were 57 people who shared affiliations with Clinton and Google or related entities at the State Department, Clinton Foundation, or her presidential campaign.
Names with shared affiliation include Clinton campaign Chief Technology officer Stephanie Hannon, Chief Product Officer Osi Imeokparia, Deputy CTO Derek Parham and Director of Digital Advertising Jason Rosenbaum. All of whom worked for Google prior to joining Hillary’s campaign.
Executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Eric Schmidt, developed custom election monitoring software for Obama’s 2012 campaign. He helped Clinton in a similar fashion by funding Civis Analytics and The Groundwork. The 2 data analytics and poll tracking firms worked on Clinton’s campaign. The companies collected almost $1.5 million in payment for their campaign services. Hillary would have been significantly indebted to Google and Schmidt had she won the election.
Schmidt’s Civis Analytics team was credited with helping produce Obama’s 5 million vote margin of victory in 2012. Schmidt has had extensive access to the white house since the victory. Personal emails hacked from John Podesta show that Schmidt personally met with Clinton’s Campaign Manager and Clinton’s State Department aide Cheryl Mills, prior to the announcement of the campaign. Three months after that meeting, The Groundwork set up shop near Clinton’s headquarters. After Podesta met with Schmidt, he wrote “He’s ready to fund, advise, recruit talent etc. Clearly wants to be head outside advisor.” Podesta then suggested a meeting between Schmidt and Clinton Campaign Strategist Robby Mook.
Google made heavy donations to Clinton over Donald Trump, as did most of the tech industry. At least 6 high-ranking executives and other employees contributed more than $1.3 million to Clinton campaign efforts. Microsoft was also involved to the tune of $700 thousand, and Apple was in on Hillary for an additional $500 thousand.
A Clinton win would have seen Google capitalize on the close working relationship. State department Officials had met with Schmidt to brainstorm how new technologies could be used to address diplomatic, development, and security concerns. Those efforts included Clinton’s Internet Freedom agenda. “Beyond leaving its mark with Hillary Clinton, Google has proved highly adept during the past eight years at securing favorable decisions from federal agencies like the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Campaign for Accountability said.