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The Google Transparency Project is a Washington, DC group that’s laser-focused on letting Americans know about Google’s lobbying efforts.
To get its message out, GTP has worked with journalists at Re/Code and The Intercept, which have run stories about Google’s many visits to the White House, the prevalence of ex-Googlers in the US Digital Service, and other links.What wasn’t known, until today, is who was paying the bills for research by the “nonprofit watchdog” group. “The folks running the Google Transparency Project won’t say who is paying for it, which is odd for a group devoted to transparency,” noted Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts, one of many journalists who the group reached out to in April.
Today, Roberts has published a followup, confirming that based on a tip, he found at least one funder—Oracle.
That’s the same company that lost a major copyright trial to Google and continues to spar with the search giant in court.
“Oracle is absolutely a contributor (one of many) to the Transparency Project.
This is important information for the public to know.
It is 100 percent public records and accurate,” Oracle Senior VP Ken Glueck told Roberts.
Other funders remain unknown. One big suspect, however, can be ruled out. Microsoft, whose lobbyists and lawyers have clashed with Google on many occasions, told Roberts that it is not part of the group.
Is it a big deal? We’re better off with the information being out there. Like Roberts, I agree that “throwing light on lobbying conducted by Google (or any other big company) is a good thing.”
However, it also seems like the source of the information should be made clear, especially for a group that’s so focused on investigations against a particular company.
GTP’s research has led to a lot of news stories—many of them around the time of this year’s Oracle v.
Google trial—none of which reported that the Oracle is paying, at least in part, for the Google investigations.
The Google Transparency Project is part of a larger organization called the Campaign for Accountability, an organization that says its goal is to use “research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose how decisions made behind the doors of corporate boardrooms and government offices impact Americans’ lives.” It also works on issues like anti-LGBT discrimination and environmental protection.
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