Google investors worry about hidden lobbying

Bribe-sign1-300x300The investors at Google are worried about how much money the company is spending making sure that US politicians do what they are told – or as the rest of the world considers it, bribery.

For example Google donated $26,000 to Democrat Jerry Brown in his last campaign for governor of California, and the company wrote a cheque for $10,000 to Republican Marco Rubio’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign.

That is the smaller detail. Since President Obama took office, Google has spent over $60 million on lobbying in Washington.

Google shareholders seem to think that it is time for Google to truly live by its openness value. They are demanding that the company fully disclose all of its lobbying.

In a quaint view of US business politics it appears that the shareholders are not so worried about the amount that Google is spending “lobbying” but just wants to know who the cheques are going to. They are also worried that Google is effectively supporting groups like the US Chamber of Trade which has Dickensian views about the environment and climate change.

Google cut all ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council because it was “lying” on climate change.

Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management filed a formal shareholder resolution to require Google to be fully transparent about its lobbying expenses and objectives.

Google opposes the latest proposal from Walden Asset Management, arguing that it would be “impractical and burdensome” to disclose more about its lobbying than it does now. While it might not be worried about the cash it gives the likes of the US Chamber of Trade, it is probably concerned about people finding out the extent of cash it is giving politicians.