New York Times: Senior Google Lobbyist Is Stepping Down From Her Role. “Susan Molinari, who leads Google’s federal lobbying and policy effort and is a former Republican congresswoman from New York, is stepping down from her role at the company. The change, during a turbulent time for Google, is the latest indication of a shake-up at the company’s large Washington operation.” I’m covering this here because it’s important; Google spends tons of money on lobbying — more than $18 million in 2017! — which according to the Washington Post is more than any other company.
The Daily Beast: Reps. Greg Walden and Kevin McCarthy Get Tons of Money From Big Pharma. “As voters prepare to go to the polls, they can use a new database, ‘Pharma Cash to Congress,’ tracking up to 10 years of pharmaceutical company contributions to any or all members of Congress, illuminating drugmakers’ efforts to influence legislation.”
The Art Newspaper: Andrea Fraser aims to hold US museum boards to account. “In March, a group of protesters led by photographer Nan Goldin threw pill bottles and staged a die-in at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Sackler Wing. Their objective? Convincing members of the Sackler family, who have donated money and art to the museum as well as many other art institutions, to help combat the opioid crisis that its company, Purdue Pharma, helped stoke with the development of the painkiller OxyContin. At a time of intense political polarisation and extreme economic inequality in the US, people are starting to pay closer attention to the money behind their museums—where board members’ wealth comes from and where else they spend it.”
Open Secrets: Foreign interests have spent over $530 million influencing US policy, public opinion since 2017. “Foreign lobbyists and agents acting on behalf of foreign interests have reported hundreds of millions of dollars in payments since January 2017, an analysis of OpenSecrets’ exclusive new Foreign Lobby Watch data reveals. Today we’re making available, for the first time, a searchable database of foreign interests spending on lobbying and influence in the United States.”
Motherboard: Telecom Lobbyists Have Stalled 70 State-Level Bills That Would Protect Consumer Privacy. “On July 27, Washington, DC’s Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment proposed a set of rules restricting the city’s internet service providers from selling customer data and browsing history without their consent. The proposal seems basic, commonsense and broadly supported by the public. And, if recent history is any judge, it’s doomed to failure.”
Business Insider: Facebook, Amazon, and Google just spent record amounts of cash on lobbying Washington, DC. “Amid increased scrutiny from major politicians and activists, tech giants Facebook, Amazon, and Google each set records during the second quarter of 2018 for dollars spent on lobbying in Washington, DC, disclosures showed. Facebook, a company that has faced backlash over privacy concerns, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and fake news on its platform, spent $3.67 million on lobbying in the quarter. That’s the largest single-quarter sum the company has ever spent, Politico reported.”
Bloomberg Quint: Google Aims at Privacy Law After Facebook Lobbying Failed. “While Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were publicly apologizing this month for failing to protect users’ information, Google’s lobbyists were drafting measures to de-fang an Illinois law recognized as the most rigorous consumer privacy statute in the country. Their ambition: to strip language from a decade-old policy that regulates the use of fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition technology, and insert a loophole for companies embracing the use of biometrics.”