Don’t Be Evil? Google Is Now One Of America’s Largest Lobbyists

Before the Google boys were billionaires a couple dozen times over, the company promised to Do No Evil. Oh how times change. In addition to being one of the world’s largest privacy invaders, Google is involved with a whole host of activities to advance its big corporate agenda and keep the big bucks flowing.

But don’t ask it what its up to, because even the most diligent Google searches don’t turn up much. Yet they do point to a pattern of big spending on political activities and other agenda driven groups that are unhealthy for America.

Among the published donations, for instance, you’ll see a $26,000 donation to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown $10,000 to Republican Marco Rubio’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign.

Since President Obama took office, Google has spent over $60 million lobbying in Washington alone. It also participates in many state lobbying activities as well as highly secretive ‘third party’ groups. Yet virtually nothing is known about these shadowy groups and investors don’t like that.

Google shareholders, of which there are few, want the company to live by its openness value. They are now demanding that the company fully disclose all of its lobbying.

“Our request isn’t far-fetched. Many companies do this,” says Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management, which owns Google stock.

Walden filed a formal shareholder resolution to require Google to be fully transparent about its lobbying expenses and objectives, which was shot down at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Google lists 43 trade associations that it belongs to but in typical sneaky Google fashion it says these are “representative listings.” It also does not disclose much money it gives these organizations.

The big push for Smith’s resolution comes because of a big disconnect between Google’s claim that it is committed to “protecting the environment” and the fact it funds the Chamber of Commerce, which has spent over $1 billion on lobbying since 1998 to stop the Environmental Protection Agency and virtually every measure that combats climate change.

While other companies such as Nike and Apple, are vocally against the Chamber’s anti-climate change policies and have ditched the organization, Google is still a top contributor.

To get a sense of just how evil Google has become, it says that the simple request for transparency would be “impractical and burdensome.”

Despite being a tech leader, Google is clearly behind the times as large companies like Accenture and Bristol-Myers Squibb now disclose all their direct and indirect lobbying in annual and quarterly reports.

Which begs the question: Just what, exactly, is Google hiding?

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