The Google Strikes Back: Taps Veteran Lobbyist To Counter Recent Political ScrutinyBy: Drew Bowling - February 24, 2012
Google seems to be accepting the realization that when you’re as big as they are, you draw a lot of legal scrutiny when you start tampering with people’s privacy. Perhaps in anticipation of more trouble to come, or to preclude future problems, the company has decided to tone up their political muscles in Washington by appointing former congresswoman Susan Molinari to be vice president of public policy and government relations for North and South America.
Molinari joins Google as the company endures continued legal troubles with their much-covered problems with possibly violating privacy laws of internet users. According to Politico, who spoke with a Google official, Molinari’s mission will be to “help lawmakers and regulators understand Google’s business — both the technology and its impact on the economy and our culture.”
That sounds like political lobbyist speak for, “Get more government officials on our side for when more people cry foul.”
Politico also got a comment from Former Sen. John Sununu who seemed to confirm Google’s motive.
“The Google office in Washington has not had someone with the visibility of a former member of Congress, and with her understanding of the complexities of the legislative process,” Sununu said, “Google is receiving a higher level of scrutiny. … When you’re such a large and growing company, you have to have a strong, visible, capable leader in Washington.”
Molinari will be replacing Alan Davidson, the innovator of Google’s lobbying effort in Washington, as the head of the company’s public policy department. David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development at Google, hailed Molinari’s arrival by calling her “a trailblazer” with the potential to “change lives” by improving Google’s clout in Washington.
The former representative served three terms for New York’s 13th congressional district before taking a job with CBS in 1997. Subsequently, she worked as a lobbyist for a wide variety of groups, including Microsoft Corp., Freddie Mac, Verizon Communications, and Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Most recently, Molinari worked with her own start-up lobbying firm, Susan Molinari Strategies.
The Washington Post points out that, in recent years, Google has been adding more Republicans to their lobbying fronts and that they desired a political veteran to lead their public policy team. As Google attracts more and more negative political attention, expect them to pick up more seasoned lobbyist and politicians capable of circling the wagons when the next wave of legal problems arrive. Anyone wanna take bets on when Google becomes its own political party?