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Googlegate Email Shows FTC an Extension of Google’s Lobby/Press Operation
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-05-15 11:13
Consider the new ‘smoking gun’ evidence of Google’s “undue political influence” over the FTC, concerning the FTC’s abrupt and unusual closure of the FTC-Google antitrust investigation in January of 2013.
A Buzzfeed article exposes a March 23, 2015 email from a top Google lobbyist to the FTC Chairman’s Chief of Staff that urged the FTC to issue a press release to explain the FTC’s closure of its Google antitrust investigation. Two days later, the FTC dutifully complied with a press release doing exactly what a top Google lobbyist urged the FTC do in its email.
Ironically, in furiously trying to rebut analysis that Google wields “undue political influence” with the U.S. Government, Google’s email directive to the FTC, and the FTC’s prompt compliance, provides exceptionally incriminating contemporaneous evidence that Google does in fact wield “undue political influence” with at least the FTC on Google antitrust matters.
Read the Google lobbyists urgent email request for FTC action and the FTC’s prompt and responsive press release reply side by side, and it is inescapable that the Google email resulted in the FTC press release.
Undue political influence certainly fits with the facts here.
The FTC is acting like the FTC’s and Google’s interests and reputations are the same in this instance.
Why would it be in a legitimate prosecutor’s interest, (one that found violations of law warranting changes in Google’s behavior i.e. a Consent Order prohibiting Google’s extortionate patent abuses, and also commitments to stop three other anti-competitive behaviors) to view their public relations interests as the same, as a company that is trying to publicly represent that the FTC concluded that Google had not acted anti-competitively?
Their interests would only be this closely intertwined, if there was some undue political influence in the closing of the FTC’s Google antitrust investigation of which both were aware.
If the FTC had an appropriate, arms-length, official, law enforcement-offender relationship with Google, Google would have known that sending such an email request to the FTC was highly improper to do, and FTC officials, which are bound by Federal Ethics rules to conduct themselves in a manner to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest, would have known issuing such a Google-driven press release two days after the Google email asking for it, was highly improper to do.
It appears the FTC has forgotten that it is supposed to work for the American people and not Google Inc.
The Google lobbyist email also implicates other similar improper activity.
In the email, the Google lobbyist not so subtlety reminded the FTC that it should help Google out this time, because it had helped Google out like this before in rebutting a Politico report that alleged undue political influence in the abrupt closure of the FTC-Google antitrust investigation, and that the FTC wrote a letter to the editor defending the propriety of the FTC’s closure of the Google antitrust investigation.
In addition, the Google lobbyist email implicates even more serious improper activity.
The offending email did not stop at urging the FTC to represent Google’s position in the email as the FTC’s position in public. It went much further in assuming and expecting that behind-the-scenes the FTC would lobby aggressively for advancing Google commercial interests in Europe, by urging the EC to not enforce European competition law based on European-specific facts and investigative findings. This blatant extension of Google’s lobbying operation into the highest reaches of the FTC is further evidence of Google’s undue political influence over the FTC.
There is also great irony in this revelation.
The FTC’s press release brashly challenged anyone that alleged an appearance of undue political influence in the FTC’s abrupt and unusual closure of the FTC-Google antitrust investigation -- that “not a single fact is offered to substantiate this misleading narrative.”
Well this highly incriminating Google lobbyist email to the FTC and the FTC’s exceptionally responsive press release two days later provide a ‘smoking gun’ document that provides multiple facts that corroborate and substantiate the narrative that undue political influence was involved in the abrupt and unusual closure of the FTC-Google antitrust investigation.
In sum, the Buzzfeed published email from a top Google lobbyist to the FTC’s Chief of Staff, is ‘smoking gun’ evidence of Google’s undue political influence over the FTC.
This new highly incriminating contemporaneous evidence should facilitate further investigation by the Senate Antirust Subcommittee which is already investigating allegations of Google’s “undue political influence over the FTC in getting the FTC to abruptly and unusually close the FTC-Google antitrust investigation.
The American public and American justice rely on the Federal Trade Commission to fairly adjudicate America’s competition, fair representation and consumer protection laws, and to not allow one well-connected company to subvert justice and secure ill-gotten special treatment.
Simply, the FTC should not appear to be, or be, a de facto extension of Google’s lobbying and PR operation on antitrust matters.
Part 1: FTC-Googlegate Scandal Repercussions in the U.S. & EU [3-20-15]
Part 2: The Appearance of Google-USG Conflicts of Interest Grows [3-25-15]
Part 3: Googlegate– The FTC Cover-up Evidence Piles Up [4-1-15]
Part 4: The Evidence DOJ Made Google Criminal Case Go Away [4-8-15]