Report finds hundreds of meetings between White House and Google

Report finds hundreds of meetings between White House and Google
© Getty Images

Google and its affiliates have had at least 427 meetings at the White House during President Obama’s tenure, according data from the Campaign for Accountability and The Intercept. 

The data, gleaned from White House meeting logs, showed that in all, 169 Google employees have met in the White House with 182 government officials. Not surprisingly, Google’s head of public policy, Johanna Shelton, had the most White House meetings of any Google employee, with 128. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The report highlights the access enjoyed by Google, which has a expansive lobbying operation in Washington and consistently ranks among the highest spenders. In just the first quarter of this year, Google spent $3.8 million to lobby the government. 

The meetings data spans from the first month of Obama’s presidency in 2009 to October 2015. Aside from Google staff and lobbyists, the data also takes into account White House meetings with companies Tomorrow Ventures and Civis Analytics. 

Tomorrow Ventures is the investment vehicle of Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, and he is the sole investor in Civis Analytics. 

The numbers also show 55 times in which Google employees took jobs in the federal government, and 197 times when government employees went to work for Google. 

Google responded to similar reports last year from The Wall Street Journal about the company’s visits during an antitrust probe led by the Federal Trade Commission.

In a post last March, Google wrote, “Of course we’ve had many meetings at the White House over the years.” The company said the meetings were on a range of topics, including self driving cars, advertising, internet censorship, trade, cybersecurity, civic innovation, help with HealthCare.gov and other issues. 

It said Microsoft had made 270 visits in that same time and Comcast made 150. 

Friday’s report comes as many in the cable industry are blasting the Federal Communications Commission over a new plan to open up the set-top box market, which is currently dominated by the cable and satellite industry. The change could benefit Google and other tech companies and many have branded it the “Google proposal.” 

Obama just recently endorsed it.