Google taps Senate GOP aide to lead lobbying efforts

Google taps Senate GOP aide to lead lobbying efforts
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Google has tapped Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain MORE’s (R-Ohio) top aide to lead its U.S. lobbying efforts as the company faces mounting investigations into its market power.

Mark Isakowitz, who has served as Portman’s chief of staff for the past five years, will be Google’s vice president in charge of government affairs and public policy.

“Mark brings more than 30 years of experience in Washington, serious policy knowledge, and an impressive record of bridging divides and achieving results,” Karan Bhatia, who leads Google’s global government affairs office, said in a statement Friday. "He will help Google work with lawmakers to support policies that encourage growth and responsible innovation."

Isakowitz will replace former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.), who announced last year that she would be stepping down from the top lobbying role in D.C.

Google is coming under increased scrutiny from regulators across the country and around the world. Earlier this month, a coalition of 50 attorneys general announced an antitrust investigation into the company’s search and advertising practices, adding to similar efforts from House lawmakers and federal competition enforcers.

The hiring of a top GOP staffer comes at a time when Google faces unsubstantiated accusations from Republicans that it and other Silicon Valley giants are censoring conservatives.

Last year, Portman’s office was the driving force behind the sex trafficking bill sometimes referred to as FOSTA-SESTA that panicked many in Silicon Valley. The measure, which was passed and signed into law in 2018, carves out exceptions to internet platforms’ legal liability protections over content posted by their users.

"While I will miss working with Senator Portman and his team, I am very excited to join a company that is constantly innovating, creating opportunity, and helping the American economy grow,” Isakowitz said in a statement. “I look forward to working with policymakers and others to help promote responsible innovation and the internet economy."