- More than a dozen progressive organizations published an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday, warning him not to hire people with “close ties to Google” in his administration.
- The groups write that they “want to ensure that the Internet is not dominated by a handful of corporations and remains free and open.”
- The groups said Biden should avoid giving the role of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt after the history of the Financial Times described Schmid as a possible leader of a new technical working group at Biden’s White House.
- The letter to Biden said Schmid̵
- A source familiar with the matter told Recode that Biden’s transition team had not discussed a planned role for Schmidt.
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More than a dozen progressive groups released an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday, urging him not to appoint people with close ties to Google, including former technology CEO Eric Schmidt, to senior positions in his administration.
The 14 progressive groups – including The Revolving Door Project, a group that looks closely at executive appointments – have called for Biden to take a “firm stand against the influence of people with close ties to Google”.
The groups write that they “want to ensure that the Internet is not dominated by a handful of corporations and remains free and open.”
The Financial Times reported on November 8 that Schmidt was being discussed as a possible lead for a working group for a new technology industry in the White House, without describing its sources.
Biden has not publicly discussed a role for Schmidt, and sources in Silicon Valley close to Biden’s team told Recode on Tuesday that they were unaware of Schmid’s plans to appoint. A source familiar with the matter also said Biden’s transition team had not discussed a planned role for Schmidt.
A Schmidt spokesman declined to comment to Business Insider.
The letter, also signed by the Open Market Institute, America’s Communications Workers, the Center for Racial and Economic Action, and others, said the Schmidt meeting would alienate “the vast majority of the electorate … who want to see economic power.” of large corporations detained. “
“In reviewing the disclosure of your transition to agency review teams, we were struck and concerned by the apparent widespread influence of people with close professional ties to Google in general, and Eric Schmidt, a former Google CEO with a current share of several billion dollars in the company, “the groups said.
The groups cite an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google by the Justice Department on October 20. The case claims that Google has put competitors at a disadvantage through a network of foreclosure deals and is the biggest legal challenge for the technology giant to date.
Schmidt’s senior US government position “could have a chilling effect on US antitrust policy going forward,” they said.
The letter said Schmidt’s appointment would risk “fragmenting a democratic coalition” and “alienating the overwhelming majority of the electorate”.
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The groups also cited the news that Schmidt reportedly obtained citizenship on the European island of Cyprus through the Recode, which allowed him to travel to the European Union and possibly benefit from tax breaks. At the time, Schmid declined to comment on Recode.
In light of the news, Schmidt’s appointment would send a “dangerous message” during a “historical wealth inequality,” the groups said.
Schmidt has a net worth of about $ 15 billion and is one of the richest people on the planet.
The groups also cited a study by Demand Progress, in which more than half of people agreed that Biden should refuse to hire people associated with large technical companies who are being tried by the Justice Department.
“The American people are divided on many things, but not on what they see as fundamental issues of legal and economic justice like this,” they said.
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