WASHINGTON — With the Internet’s No. 1 search engine under fire for playing political favorites with content, a search of Google’s political contributions as recorded by the Federal Elections Commission shows a staggering $463,500 went to Democrats in the last three election cycles with a paltry $5,000 going to Republicans.
Of approximately 200 individual Google employee political contributions to political candidates in 2004, 2002 and 2000, all but six went to Democrats, Democratic Party organizations and Democrat-supporting organizations such as MoveOn.org. One $250 contribution went to Ralph Nader, one went to President Bush’s campaign and three went to Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch’s campaigns.
Google Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt was by far the biggest benefactor, giving $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2000, $25,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2004, as well as maximum $2,000 contributions to 2004 Democratic presidential candidates Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, Gov. Howard Dean and Rep. Richard Gephardt.
Schmidt also gave $11,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2000, according to records of the FEC, as well as tens of thousands more to a variety of other Democratic candidates including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Besides his cash contributions to Kerry in 2004, Schmidt formally endorsed the Democratic candidate for president after he got the party’s nomination.
Google Products Manager Laura A. Debonis was another big giver to the Democratic cause, offering up $25,000 to the DNC in 2004 and another $10,000 to the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee, though she lives in San Francisco.
David Drummond, a Google executive, also gave $23,000 to the DNC in 2004.
But the most striking thing about the list of Google political activists is the one-sided nature of the giving. From programmers to engineers to scientists to business development staff to general managers, there is near unanimity in support of Democrats and Democrat organizations.
Later, Google explained neither ad should have run.
The group RightMarch.com said after placing the ad taking on Pelosi, the Democratic House minority leader, Google informed the group it “does not permit ad text that advocates against an individual, group or organization” and said the ad had been pulled.
“The internet public relies on Google’s objectivity to produce unbiased results from its search engine, including its AdWords,” claimed Larry Ward, CEO of Interactive Political Media, Inc., the top Internet political advertising agency in Washington. “As the leader and most recognized brand on the Internet, Google has an obligation to its users and investors to provide unbiased content, especially when that content is political in nature.”
Ward said, “It is a sad day for the Internet when we must label search engines like Google as a left wing or right wing.”
Mike Mayzel, a spokesman for Google, said both the anti-Pelosi ad and the anti-DeLay ad are gone.
“Both ads were taken down,” he told WND. “Any assertion to the contrary is false. As soon as an ad is reviewed and found to be in violation of our policies, we take it down as soon as possible. Any suggestion we would leave some ads up longer than others for reasons of political bias is false.”
Google reported earnings of $1.256 billion for the first quarter of 2005 – up 93 per cent over the equivalent quarter for last year.
A survey of other high-tech companies’ political contributions shows Google is exceptional in its lop-sided contributions to Democrats. Microsoft was the biggest tech donor to political causes and campaigns in 2004 with some $3.1 million political action committee money disbursed – more than half going to Republicans.
Overall, 53 percent of high-tech industry contributions went to Democrats in 2004, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a liberal group that tracks campaign spending and contributions.
Google has in the past declined to discuss employee campaign contributions. Emails to several company executives went unanswered.