Despite his populist anti-free market rhetoric and record, the President has a love affair and relationship with a corporate giant. The company is Google and the incestuous relationship pays dividends to both parties but leaves taxpayers out as the third wheel.
Money magazine in an article entitled “Obama & Google (A Love Story)” described the love affair as “[F]rom his denunciations of Wall Street greed to his critiques of the auto manufacturers, Obama and his team have done little to disguise their mistrust of big business — except when it comes to one very large, very influential technology company.”
The relationship between the corporate giant and the president started before Obama’s ascension to the presidency.
Google has long supported President Obama. In his book, “The Audacity of Hope” President Obama embraces the relationship pointing out that Google managers and employees were among his largest supporters, donating nearly one million dollars to his campaign.
And the Obama administration has been good for Google as well. A 2008 Politico story detailed the relationship between the newly elected president and the company. “‘ From the staff attorney all the way up the line, everybody now knows that Google is close to Obama,’” Politico reported. “And that could subtly affect the policy playing field in Google’s favor.” Subtly was an understatement. Google executive Andrew McLaughlin was appointed to a White House position with a hand in Internet policy issues. In addition, Google has been awarded massive government contracts and the President has pushed Google-sought polices like Net Neutrality.
Seeing their investment paying massive dividends, Google appears to have stepped up once again giving the President’s re-election team a competitive advantage in raising money and online support.
Google has crafted a new ad program that will be a boon to political campaigns. And even while the program is in Beta testing, the Obama re-elect campaign has been given special access to the program by Google.
The new ad program would charge clients for every email address (or other piece of user data) they collect. The program is attractive to campaigns eager for that information, so when a staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee saw what appeared to be an Obama ad built on this technology on the RealClearPolitics website last month, she emailed a Google sales rep to ask about creating a similar ad campaign for Republicans.
The saleswoman, Sirene Abou-Chakra, replied by suggesting that Obama had a special deal.
“This is a pre-alpha product that is being released to a select few clients,” she wrote in an email, referring to the first stage of a product’s roll-out. “I’d be happy to get you into the beta if you’re interested.” A similar email went out to at least one other Republican digital media firm, a Republican source said.
“It certainly raises some red flags that the Obama campaign appears to have been given special access to a new online advertising product,” said NRSC communications director Brian Walsh in response to an inquiry from POLITICO.
Congress needs to delve into the “special relationship” between the corporate giant and the president. Failure to act will only cost taxpayers more money in the long run.