Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A 'grown-up' Google hires lobbyists

A 'grown-up' Google hires lobbyists - Technology - International Herald Tribune: "For a company that takes pride in being the quintessential outsider, Google is moving quickly into the ultimate insider's game: lobbying. It has begun expanding its lobbying and legislative operations, after largely ignoring Washington for years, in a scramble to match bases long established here by competitors like Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as the deeply entrenched telecommunication companies.

In addition to hiring politically connected lobbying firms and consultants with ties to Republican leaders like the party chairman, Ken Mehlman, as well as Representative Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the speaker of the House, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, Google's advisers say the company may set up a fund-raising arm for political donations to candidates. And in a town where Republicans hold the levers of power, Google has begun stockpiling pieces of the party's machine.

To some, Google is a novice arriving late to the table. To others, the company's embedding on K Street, which serves as home to many of Washington's top lobbyists, represents a new and not necessarily welcome sign of sophistication.

Google provides another example of how Internet companies, no matter how unconventional their roots or nonconformist their corporate cultures, increasingly find themselves wrestling with the same forces in Washington that more traditional industries have long faced.

In signing on Podesta Mattoon and other consultants, Google is spreading its lobbying dollars on both sides of the political aisle, increasing its spending on outside firms this year to well beyond $500,000, officials said.

Podesta Mattoon is led by Anthony Podesta, a Democrat, and Daniel Mattoon, a Republican and longtime friend of Hastert's. The speaker's son Joshua also works at the firm, along with Maddox, a former top aide to the former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich."

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