The Googlization of the Far Right: Why is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC? PR Watch Submitted by Nick Surgey on November 27, 2013 “In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google. “Google has a distinctively progressive image, but in March 2012 it hired former Republican member of the House of Representatives, Susan Molinari as its Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations. According to the New York Times, Molinari is being “paid handsomely to broaden the tech giant’s support beyond Silicon Valley Democrats and to lavish money and attention on selected Republicans. The voluntary disclosures indicate that the following groups are either new grantees of Google since September 2012, or have been listed as having received a “substantial” Google grant for the first time. Google has a history of supporting Cruz. Via its Political Action Committee — Google Inc. Net PAC — the PAC provided the “Ted Cruz for Senate” campaign with a $10,000 contribution in 2012. Additionally, despite being five years out from the freshman Senator’s next election, Google’s PAC has already made a $2,500 contribution to the Cruz reelection campaign for 2018,Detailed information on each of these groups can be found at CMD’s SourceWatch website:
- American Conservative Union
- Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the anti-government group run by Republican operative Grover Norquist, was another new recipient of funding from Google in 2013. ATR is best known for its “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” and for its fundamentalist attacks on any Republican who might dare to vote for any increase in taxes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, ATR received 85% of its funding in 2012 ($26.4 million) from the ultra-partisan Karl Rove-run Crossroads GPS, another dark money group.
- CATO Institute
- Federalist Society Google also recently sponsored a gala fundraiser in Washington DC for the Federalist Society, a network of right-wing judges and lawyers that includes Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas was the guest of honor at that event, for which Google was listed as a top-tier “gold” sponsor. Google names the Federalist Society on its list of groups receiving its most substantial grants in 2013.
- George Mason University Law School Law and Economics Center
- Heritage Action received $500,000 from the Koch-funded and Koch-operative staffed Freedom Partners in 2012. It is not yet known how much Heritage Action received in 2013 from sources other than Google. Heritage Action held a nine-city “Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour” in August 2013, providing a platform for Texas Senator Ted Cruz to address crowds of cheering tea party supporters.
- Mercatus Center
- National Taxpayers Union, headed by former eleven-year American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Executive Director Duane Parde, has a similar anti-tax, anti-government agenda, and it also received funding from Google in 2013.
- R Street Institute
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which is part of SPN, also received money from Google in 2013. As Progress Now’s state affiliate and CMD have documented, the legislative agenda promoted by TPPF includes opposing renewable energy, blocking access to affordable healthcare, and opposing state minimum wage laws.
- ALEC Google does not list ALEC as being a recipient of one of its largest grants, instead it separately names ALEC as an organization to which it has become a member. (2013)
- Competitive Enterprise Institute In 2013 Google provided a reported $50,000 sponsorship check to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), another group trying to thwart efforts to address climate change, but it has previously funded “Google Policy Fellows” at CEI for several years, and has listed the organization as one that it has supported financially on its “transparency” pages for at least three years.
“Bloomberg reported in May 2013 that in France alone Google is in the midst of a dispute over more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes that have been alleged. An August 2013 report by U.S. PIRG — “Offshore Shell Games” — found that Google is now holding more than $33 billion dollars offshore, avoiding taxes on these earnings in the United States.
Since Google does not release details of all its grantees and the dollar amounts, it is hard to judge this, although they do disclose providing funding to some progressive groups including the American Constitution Society, People for the American Way and the NAACP.”