The Wall Street Journal has published a new report highlighting the reach that Google has in the United States government. According to the report, Google employees have visited the White House 230 times since President Obama took office. That comes out to an average of roughly once a week. For comparison’s sake, Comcast employees have met at the White House just 20 times since Obama’s inauguration.
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The high-profile meetings began when the FTC initiated an investigation of Google over its allegedly unfair and anticompetitive search practices. Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials at the time to discuss a settlement, while Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met with a senior adviser to President Obama regarding the investigation.
Justin Cole, an FTC spokesperson ensured the Wall Street Journal, however, that it was an independent law enforcement agency and that Google’s relations with the White House had no bearing on the outcome of the investigation. Google not punished by the government for its actions and volunteered to make changes to its business practices in light of the probe.
Regarding the company’s prolific visit history in Washington, Google spokeswoman Niki Christoff had the following to say:
“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.”
The full Wall Street Journal report breaks down Google’s White House visits as the FTC probe progressed, as well as its other Washington D.C. efforts. It can be read here.