White House, Google violate lobbying pledge

Timothy P. Carney: White House, Google violate lobbying pledge

By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
June 25, 2010

(Ap File Photo) (AP file photo)

Maybe a $150 billion company with 21,000 employees and 20 percent profit margins doesn’t count as big business or a special interest if it talks about “changing the world from the bottom up, not from the top down,” as President Obama put it.

Maybe a millionaire who spends his days leaning on policymakers to benefit his company isn’t a lobbyist if he calls himself an “Internet evangelist.”

Or maybe Google’s cozy relationship with the White House — exposed more clearly by e-mails recently made public through the Freedom of Information Act — is just one more instance of the administration’s actions contradicting Obama’s reformer rhetoric about battling the special interests and freeing Washington from lobbyist influence.

Consumer Watchdog, a liberal nonprofit, used FOIA to obtain e-mails between White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin and his former colleagues at Google. McLaughlin was Google’s head of global public policy and government affairs, up until he joined the White House.

Despite the job title, McLaughlin wasn’t a registered lobbyist. Still, ethics rules created by an Obama executive order prohibit McLaughlin from “participat[ing] in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to” Google. But the e-mails show McLaughlin has been involved with formulating policy that directly affects Google, regularly trading e-mails with Google’s “evangelist,” and lobbyist.

The topic of net neutrality — where the Obama administration and Google share a pro-regulation position that would profit Google — appears repeatedly in McLaughlin-Google e-mails.

When one news report suggested the White House was backing away from the pro-Google regulations, Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf wrote a worried note to McLaughlin, asking, “Has there been so much flack from the Hill that you guys feel a need to back away?”

McLaughlin reassured his former colleague, “Don’t be silly. No one’s backed away from anything.”

Later, when McLaughlin took heat in the media for publicly comparing AT&T — Google’s rival in the net neutrality debate — to the communist Chinese government, Google lobbyist Alan Davidson sent McLaughlin a heads up that a reporter had called Google about it. Davidson assured McLaughlin that he would get the Open Internet Coalition — a pro-net-neutrality lobby headed by Google — to “have your back.”

“Thanks,” McLaughlin wrote back. Davidson followed up the next day, taking credit for killing the story.

McLaughlin knew he was barred from dealing with Google, the e-mails show. When Cerf passed him an e-mail about Google Earth and an issue regarding a border dispute in Cambodia, McLaughlin responded, “in my current position, I’m recused from anything having to do with Google.”

When I asked the White House about McLaughlin’s e-mails, Rick Weiss, a spokesman at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, responded that McLaughlin’s “e-mails to Vint did not run afoul of the pledge since Vint is a federal advisory committee member with whom Andrew is allowed to communicate on matters of relevance to that committee.”

But Cerf was using a Google.com e-mail address and writing about regulations Google was aggressively backing.

And only when I followed up with a question about the e-mails with lobbyist Davidson did Weiss admit “they did violate the President’s Ethics Pledge,” and note that McLaughlin had been reprimanded.

But what else is McLaughlin working on that directly affects his former colleagues with whom he is in regular contact? It’s hard to imagine many tech issues that don’t directly affect Google, and so it’s hard to imagine very many issues McLaughlin could work on that don’t clash with Obama’s ethics rules.

McLaughlin’s role is only one strand in the web of Google-Obama connections.

Google trailed only Goldman Sachs and Microsoft as a source of funds for Obama in 2008, providing $803,000 — 40 times what Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain raised from the company. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt was a fundraiser and adviser for Obama’s campaign.

Obama speaks a lot about battling the special interests. But, evidently, his friends don’t count.

 

Timothy P. Carney is The Washington Examiner’s lobbying editor. His K Street column appears on Wednesdays.

Obama and the War Against the Jews

Obama and the War Against the Jews

Posted By David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin On June 25, 2010 @ 12:25 am In FrontPage | 31 Comments

In a letter to President Obama this week, 87 Senators urged [1] the president to support Israel’s right to self-defense against the threats of terrorism from Hamas and Hezbollah and a nuclear-bound Iran that has repeatedly pledged to wipe Israel off the map. In another time, such counsel would be redundant. For most of Israel’s 60-year existence, the Jewish state has been able to count on the stalwart support of its American ally against the many enemies arrayed against it. As Arab states launched wars with exterminationist intent, and as the international community undermined Israel through the agency of the United Nations, America alone stood in Israel’s corner.

Under President Obama, however, such support for an embattled friend is no longer automatic. As Iran races virtually unimpeded toward a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration scolds Israel for daring to build new houses in its capital of Jerusalem. While Hamas, aided by Turkish jihadists, arms for a new war against Israel, the White House demands that Israel exercise a suicidal restraint. As Israel becomes ever more isolated, the Obama administration continues to reach out to its enemies in the Arab and Muslim world. In their new pamphlet, David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin trace the deterioration of the U.S.-Israeli relationship under President Obama, now at its lowest point in three decades. And they show that by emboldening Israel’s enemies, the administration is sowing the seeds of a new conflict, one will that could make it complicit in a new and devastating war against Israel. As a result of President Obama’s wrongheaded policies, Israel’s security – and America’s – is increasingly imperiled.

To read the pamphlet, click here [2].

To order the pamphlet, click here [3].

Lack of Obama Birth Certificate Questioned during US House Debate

Lack of Obama Birth Certificate Questioned during US House Debate

June 25th, 2010

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) couldn’t help but mention the lack of a most famous birth certificate during debate on the House Floor. Listen carefully so you don’t miss it during this video.

In extended remarks about how every American baby is born owing US Government Debt, he let this slip: “Little baby with ink on their foot, stamped right there on the birth certificate – there’s one in this country we haven’t seen,’” he said. “But the footprints on those we have seen. Those little babies owe Uncle Sam $44,000.”

Congress Mocking the Obama Birth Certificate
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Obama’s amnesty for illegal aliens will bring us deadly and costly diseases

Obama’s amnesty for illegal aliens will bring us deadly and costly diseases

June 25th, 2010

By Kevin “Coach” Collins

A Child with Whooping Cough

The thought is disturbing but must be faced: Barack Obama’s administration is rapidly coming apart.

Each day he’s being exposed as an incompetent fraud and it’s driving him to be increasingly reckless and dangerous. He’s quickly morphing into something resembling a wounded animal.

Now we’re hearing rumors Obama is about to use an executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens so they can vote Marxist/Democrat in November. This will preserve Obama’s power, and stress the healthcare system enough to stampede Americans into his single payer scheme.

As serious as this attack on our liberties will be, amnesty will also bring death and infirmity to our midst. Illegal aliens bring deadly diseases.

In California, a state soaked with illegals, there’s a Whooping cough epidemic. The number of cases of this contagious disease, which is deadly to babies, is moving toward a 60 year high. Is there any doubt this disease has been brought to us by illegal aliens?

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Rashad Hussain declares Obama “Educator-in-Chief on Islam”

Rashad Hussain declares Obama “Educator-in-Chief on Islam”

June 25th, 2010

Powerline Blog

We have written a lot about Rashad Hussain, America’s special envoy to the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Saudi-based body formed in 1969 to “protect” Jerusalem from the Israelis. Hussain is a piece of work. See the posts collected here.

Notwithstanding his flaws, Hussain has made a great contribution to understanding Barack Obama. This week in a speech a the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, Hussain announced a new title for Obama. According to Hussain, Obama is America’s “Educator-in-Chief on Islam.” He may be in over his head as the president of the United States, but he’s not bad at promoting Islam. Obama embodies the the melding of the left with Islamist forces at home and abroad. Stephen Schwartz reports:

The occasion was another “post-Cairo” conference, following on the event that welcomed Islamist ideologue Tariq Ramadan to Washington in April. Hussain also declared that Obama is “Educator-in-Chief” on the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which has produced diplomatic and political events around the capital for some years. Hussain affirmed with satisfaction that presidential iftar dinners, where the fast is broken after sundown, and which had formerly been limited to diplomats from Muslim countries, now welcomed American Muslims from throughout society.

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Obama Administration Launches Boycott of Arizona

Obama Administration Launches Boycott of Arizona

June 25th, 2010

Fox News

Two federal agencies have joined the “boycott Arizona” trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state’s immigration law, a Democratic Arizona congresswoman said, calling the development “very troubling.”

Any cancellations by the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol may have been more out of a desire to steer clear of controversy than outright protest of the law. But Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who has written to dozens of cities and groups in a campaign to persuade them to end their boycotts, said it was disturbing to learn that the federal government would withdraw from the state over the issue.

“It is very troubling when the federal government becomes involved in a boycott against our state,” Giffords said in a written statement. “Although I personally disagree with the immigration law, it came about because of growing frustration over the federal government’s unwillingness to secure the border. The federal government’s participation in this boycott only adds to that frustration.”

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Dems Stonewall Obama Bribery Investigation

Dems Stonewall Obama Bribery Investigation

June 25th, 2010

By Michael Riley, Denver Post

Obama and Sestak

House Republicans failed in a push Wednesday to force the release of White House documents related to potential job offers made to two Democratic Senate primary challengers, Andrew Romanoff in Colorado and Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.

The Resolution of Inquiry failed on a party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee, 15-12, leaving Republicans with a diminishing set of options as they try to force a wider investigation into White House efforts to entice Democratic challengers out of two key Senate races.

In the debate before the vote, Democrats insisted administration officials have already addressed the issues sufficiently and pointed to more pressing problems of concern to voters, including the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Republicans insisted there are still unanswered questions in both cases.

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