Google’s Growing Political Power

    June 22, 2007

We all know Google: the fun, friendly search engine company that loves its employees and puppy dogs.  The same company that has an army of lawyers at its corporate back, and, as it turns out, rapidly expanding offices in Washington, D.C.

We’ve noted before that Google has hired some lobbyists, and big-name lobbyists, at that.  Now The Mercury News has run an article stating, “Two years ago, the Google staff in Washington was one person – Alan Davidson, an expert in technology law.  Now the staff numbers a dozen, including lobbyists with close ties to both parties, and several other lawyers and lobbyists on retainer.”

Going from one person to twelve – well, that’s either a mere eleven new souls or a 1200 percent increase, depending on how you look at it.  For some perspective, Frank Davies then quoted Ralph Hellman, “a top lobbyist for a tech trade association.”

“I’ve never seen a tech company ramp up faster then they have in the last year or two – they’re using all the tools in the lobbying tool kit,” said Hellmann.  That sounds like a pretty strong endorsement – or condemnation – of Google’s actions, again, depending on how you look at it.

Google’s involvement in D.C. is indeed controversial; a new Public Policy Blog, which our own David Utter covered, is meant to help the company explain its views.  Yet some people still have their doubts, as illustrated by John Paczkowski’s sentence, “Our D.C. Lobby Office’s Motto Is ‘Don’t Be Too Evil.’”