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Google has been wooing Obama for nearly a decade, and it's paying off


President Obama

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(NaturalNews) The founders and executives of Google have a great friend in the White House, but it didn't come cheap, and it didn't happen overnight.

The same is true of Apple's executives. And the founder of Facebook.

These tech giants have cultivated a relationship with President Obama for years - at a cost of about $1.6 million spread out over two campaigns - not necessarily because they are like-minded politically (they are); buying a president is just good business, because in post-Constitutional America, it's not the Legislative branch that makes law - it's a president, through the vast bureaucracy that modern Executives control.

As reported by Daily Mail:

When President Barack Obama dined with a dozen technology business leaders in California four years ago, it was Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt who sat at the head of the table.

Obama sat on one side, between the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Facebook pioneer Mark Zuckerberg, but the place of honor was no accident.

Google executives and employees donated more than $1.6 million to Obama's two White House campaigns, and the online search giant parachuted top talent into both.


The best president money can buy

The result of all this largess has been an unusual close relationship with the Executive branch that few other American corporations have ever had. It is characterized by unprecedented access for the tech industry's lobbyists, nearly a half-dozen mentions by Obama in State of the Union addresses, and a steady stream of senior hires for the White House.

That's some access.

Besides these perks, there are also allegations that Google's extremely close relationship with the Oval Office allowed the mega-media company to avoid most of the ill-effects from a massive anti-trust lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission - though Google's billionaire managers insist the White House's relationship had nothing to do with its lenient treatment.

White House logs, however suggest another story - ironic for a company who's motto is "Don't be evil."

As further reported by the Daily Mail:

Employees of the Silicon Valley behemoth have been in the White House more than 230 times since Obama took office - approximately once per week. At least 190 of those meetings were with senior officials.

More than 60 featured Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton.


Once a week. No, nothing to see here.

The Wall Street Journal initially reported that overall, Google spent $16.8 million lobbying last year alone - or four times what Apple spent, though the latter tech giant's market capitalization is twice as big.

Google's "explanation?"

"We think it is important to have a strong voice in the debate and help policy makers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open, to build great products, and to fuel economic growth," Google spokeswoman Niki Christoff told the WSJ.

The White House blew off the frequency of visits as well.

"White House officials meet with business executives on a range of issues on a regular basis. These meetings help keep the White House apprised of outside perspectives on important policy issues. Our staff is cognizant that it is inappropriate to discuss issues relating to regulatory enforcement," Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, told the WSJ.

Really?

"No, there was no undue influence"

Google needed extra help in 2011 after the FTC found that the mega-media corporation allegedly manipulated search engine results in a way that favored its own for-profit products over those bought by advertisers.

In particular, Amazon and eBay complained, among other companies, that Google, in favoring its own products, was in violation of anti-trust laws.

The WSJ examined emails which showed that Google co-founder Larry Page met directly with FTC officials in late 2012 in order to discuss a settlement.

"About the same time, White House visitor logs show, Google chairman Eric Schmidt met with Obama senior adviser Pete Rouse," the Daily Mail reported.

A couple of months later the FTC closed its investigation and Obama was reelected.

Sources:

http://graphics.wsj.com/google-ftc-report/img/ftc-ocr-watermark.pdf

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.wsj.com

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